Saturday, April 17, 2010

revision math

for the first time in i-can't-remember-how-long, i spent a saturday night at home by myself.
but i wasn't alone. i spent the night with my characters - one in particular.

i got so much agent feedback that Butter's crush, Anna, was too perfect. At first I tried to infused some negative traits into her character, but it wasn't adding up. suddenly she went from being unrealistic and perfect to extremely dislikeable and very confusing, coming off as a different person from scene to scene.

i am still struggling with revisions at this hour, but i can say i think - i hope - i have at least figured out Anna. the key wasn't to pile on negative qualities but to strip away some of the perfection.

and that means i had to let go of some scenes i really... really liked. it's the first time my revisions have been painful. some changes have been stressful, but these cuts actually hurt.

that bit when Anna shows she's braver than Butter by letting a scorpion crawl right up on to her hand? gone. makes her just a little too cool.

that part my mom loved when Anna tricked Butter into saying something revealing about himself? out. makes her just a little too clever.

of course, the revisions i did tonight may get stripped and rebuilt AGAIN tomorrow, but this much i know for sure: sometimes you can give a character more dimension by subtracting instead of adding.

(as i've been looking at a laptop screen for about six hours, please forgive that this post is short and unedited. i'm one sleepy writer.)

1 comment:

LM Preston said...

Revisions and more revisions. If I counted up the number of revisions I've done on my various novels I can say it's probably over a thousands. It goes from tiny tweaks, to all out chapter rewrites. It can be called an obsession. Nice to know I'm not alone.