Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I'm working on a revision for Ghost Dancer, and I've gotten stuck. It's not surprising I've gotten stuck, but it's still a problem. You see, I've now written hundreds of pages (hopefully one day to be thousands and tens of thousands) of material moving forward, but my experience as a revisor is much more limited. I'm not used to having to edit more comprehensively than minor line, or at most scene edits: correction of errors, or switching around some point of action or dialogue.

What's happening in Ghost Dancer is more elaborate. Having written the story of Kira, I've then gone and expanded her universe. Bad guys who were simply lurking around being bad now have histories, motivations and political movements. A larger context is now around the entire story, making it much more complex, even though the basic sequence of events is the same.

Which means that every scene in the novel now has many more implications and needs much more nuance than it did when originally written. It also means I need to add either some additional scenes, or add additional characters to existing scenes, because otherwise my readers are going to be seriously confused when politics begin to fly and nobody has said anything until now.

And this is where I'm getting stuck. Ghost Dancer editions 1 & 2 were pretty tightly plotted. A led to B led to C, without much room for extraneous motion. It's like getting all dressed to go running with the slick running outfit, only to realize you've got to bring your wallet and your great outfit has no pockets. Where the heck to you stick the thing? Except it's a lot of things. I've not only got to add the wallet, water bottle, snack bar and first aid kit, I've got to make those things integrate smoothly with what's already there, such that nobody watching me run down the street is going to see them hanging about oddly.

So how do I stick a really good sleek fanny pack on a novel?


Becky said...

That is too funny, Cindy. Even before I read your last line, I was thinking "fanny pack".

Good luck with your revisions. Not being a writer myself, I don't have any advice to offer.

Bill said...

One way to 'stick a fanny pack on' is to come up with a decent new sub-plot and insert all that 'extraneous' info in there. E.g. Kira's sister gets "caught in the cross-fire" of these political problems (maybe she has two bosses working at cross-purposes (*shudder*)), causing Kira to go looking into that complex web in an attempt to help her.