Back to the manuscript

I’m following some revision guidelines from Holly Lisle and Rachel Aaron. It’s recommended that you print out your manuscript for annotation. Trouble is, I’m doing lots of travel for the next few weeks. Lugging around 400+ 8″x11″ pages seems like a recipe for disaster. I’ll lose papers all over the place. I’ve compiled the manuscript for my ereader, but I don’t think annotations will feel the same.

In any case, I’m going to put that part off and make a scene list where I look at the structure of the scenes and plotlines.

  • Which plots do the scene advance?
  • Which characters are involved?

From this I’ll be able to note if the book has too big a dose of the journalist late in the story with very little buildup earlier in the book, or if I have five scenes in a row dealing with the office break-in plot.

I will also try to answer the following questions:

  • What new data is conveyed to the reader?
  • What is the conflict in this scene?

New data pulls the story along. I wonder if I believe almost all scenes should have a conflict in a novel. This can be low-stakes, like two people discussing a plan to go to France. Chances are, they don’t have the exact same plan in mind. There’s the conflict: the details they have to work out. Both people have something they want from the conversation, and it’s my job to get them to tell what that is.

I think that can eat three weeks, easily. I just need to do it!