Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Son Of…

Status Report:

Yesterday, I typed The End on the latest (and hopefully close-to-last) revision. A few weeks ago, I blogged about some general changes I’d planned. Here are some details about what actually happened.

1) Most of the changes were done to increase the conflict/tension.

  • I added a new character/suspect, and a new plot thread.
  • I completely changed two scenes to put my protagonist in more jeopardy.
  • I changed how two main characters relate to my protagonist, mostly making their exchanges more hostile.
  • I added a new scene, right before the end, to ramp up the tension.
  • I changed a few key spots in the ending.

2) I changed some events to make the story more logical.

3) I wanted to “beef up” the reason my protagonist got involved in this investigation in the first place.

4) Some of the changes were to reduce redundancy, in setting and content.

  • I changed the settings of three scenes.
  • I deleted one scene, and drastically shortened another to eliminate similar content.

5) I punched up some of the dialogue. This story takes place in and around a comedy club, for Pete’s sake!

6) I changed something in my protagonist’s personal life that the members of my critique group absolutely hated. (And, once it was pointed out to me, I hated it too!).

7) I changed a few names, just because.

8) Finally, I took out all the bad stuff and replaced it with good stuff :)


For every writing project, I maintain a running “snips” file where I keep stuff (snips and snails and puppy dog tails) that I’ve excised from the actual manuscript. Right now, my snips file for SON OF stands at 16K words, spread out over 67 pages (a lot of white space).

Despite all the additions, deletions, changes, mash-ups, and other alterations, this version only differs in length from the last one by 850 words.

In quality, I think it differs by a lot. In a good way. Thank goodness!



Anonymous said...

Alan - You've done so much work on this!! I admire your willingness to make the changes you need to make. I find that it's easier to be ruthless about that kind of thing when I've spotted a problem than it is when someone else notices a problem. I think it's because I'm embarrassed at my own capacity for screwing up.

Terry Odell said...

Sounds like your changes are all making your work stronger (and I know of more than one author whose 'snips' files are longer than the manuscripts they finish.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Alan Orloff said...

Margot - For some reason, this book has taken me longer than the others. As for ruthlessness, sometimes you've got to kill your darlings.

Terry - Maybe we should include our "snips" file in ebook versions, sort of like a movie's outtake reel.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is an excellent explanation of how the revision process works, Alan. Especially that part about taking out the bad stuff and replacing it with good stuff. I think it's a great practice to save the sections we delete as we make revisions. You never know...