Pushing the Envelope

I didn’t get any writing done yesterday. Not because I was distracted or blocked, and not because I was off working on something else. It’s because I’ve spent the last day and a half pushing Rhune to that next level.  I like Rhune…I like the characters…I like the plot…I like the world it is based in.  That should be enough, and it probably would be, but what I really like is pushing myself. At this stage of my writing, I’m pretty confident in my ability to write  “good book” but where I thrive on challenge and for me the real motivation is how to take a good book and make it “even better.”

Usually that means adding connections or adding collisions.  Having multiple threads come together and changing the dynamic. Or even adding an entire new thread.  This isn’t about bloat, that actually the opposite of what I’m talking about.  This is about adding  another layer of complexity or providing increased tension or drama.  Having  Luke Skywalker and Darth Vadar in a light saber duel is cool – add to that the realization that Darth is his father – even better.

The problem is it’s not easy to pull off.  Especially with a work that is already 75,000 words.  Usually things don’t line up (although the mere fact that you see a way to up the ante is a good indication that your subconscious was putting in overtime hours).  So the real trick is can you adjust a thread here, change a motivation there and make things align. Sometimes it works…sometimes its a bridge to far.  But it’s always worth considering as if you can the effort is well worth the time.

So for the last day and a half I’ve been working through all the various alternatives and considering the implications.  I think I can make it work.  I have my list of things to adjust and will be implementing the changes at least today, and maybe over the next few days. I may even be able to bring back some content that I had previously cut.

If you do this, then its important that you pay particular attention during your first re-read after the novel is complete to look for possible contradictions. Inevitably I miss one or two very small details, like changing the age at which a particular event occurred. This is why a good line editor is so important.  They have equal eyes for noticing shifts such as this and if they do their job right are actually on the look out for when you contradict yourself.

So, no writing for me yesterday but I think today should go quite well.  I hope your writing day will be productive as well.

2 thoughts on “Pushing the Envelope

  1. I like the idea behind this, Michael. My goal is to try and do that during the outline process for my current WIP, but I wonder just how effective that will be and if I really need to get some words down on paper. It may be inevitable that better ideas pop up during the writing and I need to go back and rework things anyway.

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