Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Complications Through Simplification

In redrafting my novel, one of the primary aims I've had since the beginning has been to trim things down to make the story itself more streamlined. There was a lot of stuff that was either extraneous or which just made things more complicated than they needed to be for the story to be told. I think that I identified most of those points early on, and so from the beginning of the redrafting process, I'd been taking correctional steps.

Now that I'm getting towards the end of the novel (I'm redrafting it from beginning to end in one big, long sweep, first), I'm finding that I'm doing a lot more rewriting because of those simplifying changes. Basically, because certain plot threads were removed or retooled, now that the plot is coming together, there's a lot that needs to be accordingly changed so that these old references aren't still in the way.

At first, I was kind of dismayed, mostly because it just made for a lot more work on my part. After thinking about it, though, I think that it's an indication that the plot of the novel has formed very organically; if by changing something on page 30, I accordingly have to change something else on page 170, then that's a sign that I've kept something coherent together. Thinking it about it still more, I'd be worried if I could swap out some episode in the middle of the novel with a completely different scene and have that interchangeability not have any repercussions on what comes after it.

My hope is that I'll be able to get through the rest of the manuscript by the end of this coming weekend. As I get closer to the end, though, there's a lot more hands-on redrafting to be done, beyond just simple editing and tweaking, so it might be a longer process than I think (after all, having never written a novel before, I don't have a lot of experience to help me gauge this sort of thing). Then again, I have a mostly blank weekend ahead of me, as near as I can tell, so I should be able to devote a lot of time if I need to.

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