Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Miss Her

The Muse.

I've gone through the two beta readers' comments on Freedom No Matter, and made a long ton of changes based on their suggestions. I also gave them more work (that I hope they'll be able to fit into their schedules) asking if changes fit, and what did you mean by... and well, of course you're right, that was just [fill in your own inappropriate adjective].

I want to point out once again how much help these people give. In addition to taking the time just to read the work, they also mark errors, make suggestions, and tell me where they think the plot went astray. It's a lot of work, and I can't say how much I appreciate it. I'm sure every person writing is just as beholden to her or his beta readers; I just hope everyone remembers to say thanks, loud and clear! Even better: do an equally good job when asked to return the favor.

My readers have pointed out significant problems with my work. That's good. What's not so good is that it now falls to me to figure out how to correct them. In a day or two, I'll begin hitting Delete until I've found the focus that I slipped by earlier.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was waiting for my reader to finish before thinking I understood at least some of the issues at work (Focus, focus, focus!). The verdict is in: the second half is better than the first. The inflection point, Chapter 17, corresponds to my beginning to use a new tool. I hasten to add that the tool isn't as important as the provider wants us to think, but for me, it made it a lot easier to do what I haven't really ever done before: create an outline of the story before writing it.

I can hear the heads butting the desks and tables now. Of course the focus will be better when you know what you're writing. And on and on. Or perhaps the cry is: pantsers will rise again. Maybe.

The tool that made it easier for me to adapt is Aeon Timeline. I found that being able to outline in a chronological context made that part of the job both easier and more useful. I think, with my limited experience, it works better for more complicated story lines, or rather, it has more utility for those scenarios. It also links with Scrivener, back and forth, although I haven't figured our how to use that feature to its fullest. It's a Mac only tool right now; read the developer's blog about progress on the Windows platform.

Check out their websites, linked above. Trial versions are available if you think either of them might help you, too.

As for the Muse, she's been flitting in and out. We're working on the timeline for Background Check so I'll have a little structure when NaNoWriMo comes along. She also got me to start a short story completely unrelated to anything, but snuck out before saying how she thinks it should end. Working on that one, too.

1 comment:

  1. I hate it when they sneak out before the end!

    I just finished "Youth", which is a huge project for me. (You know this.)

    The editing's almost done and as for writing I'm kind of in my post-big-project-lull. However, I did write a goofy little poem today, that I intend to include with "Hooded". The idea being, fill out "Hooded" with extras until it hits 10k, and change the price point to $2.99. Thanks to DWS.

    Hope she comes back for more than a half-a-night-stand!