Jan. 5th, 2013 11:20 am
darkemeralds: Photo of fingers on a computer keyboard. (Writing)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
[personal profile] ravurian, one of those rare birds who is an accomplished writer and an incisive editor, has been helping me face the editing of Restraint for publication by breaking the massive project into a series of approachable steps.

  • Task One: summarize the whole novel in a sentence.

    This is painfully difficult, and I couldn't have done it without stealing from [personal profile] ravurian's original review of the story. It takes an outsider to boil the outpourings of your heart down to a single sentence, lemme tell ya.

    Here's a Twitterized version:

    A story of art, identity and sexuality in 19th century England, and the changing fortunes of two men whose love defies society's constraints.

  • Task Two: write a three-sentence summary of each chapter.

    Not nearly as painful as Task One, Task Two has thrown into high relief all the dear scenes of pure, beloved fanservice (shaving scene, anyone?), and the authorial self-indulgence for which the story has been justly criticized.

  • Task Three: print out these summaries (paper! I know, right?) and slice them into strips, then lay them out and scootch them around to find new structure possibilities.

    A steel table top covered with strips of paper, each containing a chapter summary
    Laying it all out.

    A steel table top covered with strips of paper and a big gray cat sitting on them
    Junior editor

    Strips of chapter summaries all heaped up in a jumble
    Randomness! Maybe I can read the pile like Tarot cards or something.

So far, I've identified four places other than Chapter 1 where I could potentially start the story for greater impact. Three big thematic groups have emerged. The key points of conflict are clear. I'm starting to see the story's new shape. It's kind of exciting.

So, thanks to [personal profile] ravurian (and Graydie), I'm on my way.

(I need a project name. Hmm. "Project Publish"? "Project Cut 100,000 Words"? "Project File Off The Serial Numbers"? Suggestions?)
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