Drop back and punt

If you’ve been following the drama box, you know I’m in rewrite mode, doing a massive rewrite on the next Hollows book because it just wasn’t addressing a few things that cropped up in PALE DEMON.  Yesterday, I went way past the 1/3 mark, almost to the half, not quite.  And as expected, it’s time to drop back and take care of a half-dozen tweaks before I push on to the new material.  The emotional responses are not quite ringing true, the points where the reader would say, “Oh, he’d never do that.” and “Why are they all ignoring the 2000 pound elephant sitting on the pool table?”

So I’m going to take about 20 minutes this morning (which I got a very late start in) and make a list of the things that are bothering me, and then dive in and fix.

This is where my character spread sheet really comes in handy, as I look at my list, see that I need to have this person say or think this thing, and then go right to the chapters where he/she is, and fit it in the best spot–rather than fumble through an entire manuscript looking for where they are.  (I’ve got an example of my character spread sheet here.)  It’s about the only piece of writing software I use, and I made it up from an Excel spread sheet.

If I’m lucky, I’ll start back in on new material tomorrow.

Oh, and the snow is gone, as expected.  There is nothing open or up that can’t take the weather, but it was still disgusting.  -laugh-


Filed under Drama Box

47 responses to “Drop back and punt

  1. Tiffany

    Hi Kim,

    Here’s hoping that’s the last snow you’ll see this year! I went to a festival this weekend where there was a plane with a Dr. Who banner circling around overhead all three days, which totally reminded me of you, and I thought I’d come say hey. –smile- “Hey” –laugh- By the way, compliments on your haiku the other day, it was really beautiful and I liked the mixture of sight, sound, and motion in it. Also, it was cool to read your post Friday with the off-the-cuff ideas that came from your early morning visitors.

    I thought you might get a smile out of an image from my weekend – at the end of the last day I was walking in a large crowd, which was shuffling along in a tiredness-induced quiet towards the camping area, when a group of people swiftly passed by, weaving through the crowd in a loose single file line, all of them dressed in American Indian-ish costumes (but made out of bright multicolored fabrics and headdresses) each one making different soft, birdlike cooing and calling sounds as if the crowd was a forest and they were tracking each other as they weaved their way through it and into the campground. It was totally bizarre and made me laugh. 😀

    Hmm, so does not ignoring the elephant on the pool table mean talking about Kisten? Wishing you that luck you were hoping for on your rewrite progress!

    • Hi Tiffany. Sounds like you had fun this weekend.

      Elephant on the pool table? Naaaah, that’s just a convenient metaphor. I’ve not thought about Kisten in several books

  2. Victoria Eskey

    Thank you for the insight into your writing process! 🙂 The spreadsheet idea is exciting, and an extremely organized way to see the “moving parts” of the novel. And your mechanics are stunning.
    I, like everyone else, am just waiting for book 10! and if there are elephants on pool tables then book 10 will be just as fantastic a ride as the nine leading up to this one! ^_^

  3. Theresa :D

    Hi my peeps!!!! Any ways i really like your spread sheet Ms. Kim it keeps everything nice and neat 🙂 . Also I would like to say I am down in the dumps because no one wants to hire teenagers =( But on the flip side nanny nanny boo boo! We have had sun for like 3 days now! 😀 But I can’t help but feel sorry for your poor poor plants -tears-. Maybe WA could blow some sun your way =)
    One of Your Biggest Fans 😉 Theresa

    • Thanks, Theresa. It helps me find things fast, which is what organization is all about. Sorry about the job. It’s hard for anyone to find a job right now. Good luck!

  4. RebeccaC

    Missing Al… Yay, you’re writing the next!!

  5. Douglas

    The picture of the flower in the snow reminded me of my Great Aunt and how she would put mason jars over her flowers when it was going to frost or snow later. I can still see those mini greenhouses made by the mason company.

  6. Kathy Ritchie

    I think the spreadsheet idea is neat! As a old programmer who has loved excel since it started, I use it for everything! Way to go! Good Luck on the rewriting. I love your books!

  7. jkh

    Just peeked at the eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. It’s been freezing, the nest is still surrounded by snow, and now it’s raining. I can tell it’s that cold, nasty rain…Eagle parents are such good caretakers! One parent is on the nest, providing a roof and walls, warm and dry, with its wings and body, for the babies. Parent occasionally puts up its head, and looks thoroughly wet. I shivered, just watching.

    I love that spreadsheet idea.

  8. Kim –
    You know what is hilarious? When I was in junior high, a lifetime ago, I was in my early stages of having writer’s OCD, and I was considerably good for my age… I had already won several awards for my writing and what not, and wanted to take it to another level. So, I made a spreadsheet. Not unlike (yet nowhere near the same) as the one you shared above…. and turned it in to my AP English teacher for a writing project I was working on with duality… grade first… pleasure second …. 😉 … and damn my dame if she didn’t give me an “F” and write in big red letters on it “Too much detail, too organized. You cannot draft writing like this.” That was the first time I got suspended. Two days, for calling the teacher a … well, you’re a writer. Use your imagination. 😉 I really like the chart… actually. Makes sense inside my over cluttered mind.

    By the by, I’ve brought on two more souls to “The Hollows” series in the last week. These two I didn’t even have to try. 😉


    • Yep. My fifth grade teacher made me feel like I couldn’t write, and it took almost two decades for me to decide I didn’t care, and to just start writing for me. It’s amazing the impact those we respect have on us.

  9. James R. Fox

    Hi Ms Kim-When undertaking a project requiring skill,brains,talent,endurance,etc, you need REAL tea from china.This can be obtained from the bana tea company in Yunan China,raised by Real Chinese coolies, in either leaf form or cakes,and aged or fermented as you prefer. Also, run to the store and get a new tea thingie to put in the pot.( I know people call them tea balls and so on, but the technical name is tea thingie).I always do this as I am 71 and ran out of skill, talent etc long ago,and this helps. Also, you will help a Chinese coolie eat every day.

    • You are very right, James. The quality of tea makes a huge difference. I’m on the tea short bus, actually, and have only recently started using a true tea pot, warming it up before I make the tea. Wow. What a difference.

      Talking about keeping people eating . . . We’ve been trying to shop local for the past year now. It helps that the downtown makes an effort to bring in MI made products into their stores. I am amazed at how hard the local owners work at it, and I always try there first. Some things, though, they just don’t have. (Like a good yarn or fabric store.)

  10. Stephenie

    It’s still raining and cold here I’m all up for the stormy weather but it can warm up by about 15 degrees please and thank you. Your plant looked very cold yesterday and mine did on Saturday… poor things. I have no idea how they work. I’m making slow and steady progress on plotting, and busy worrying about classes for next semester and trying to find a place to live. All of my coworkers are leaving for summer internships and I really wish I could have one but I don’t know where I could have one or what a creative writing intern would do. O.o So if you and Guy ever need an intern (and have some sort of idea of what that entails), call the U here and I’m sure my gpa will be too low to apply. 😀

    I got my Truth books today too! I can’t wait to read them and I managed to find some shelf space for them. Which was a miracle all on it’s own.

    • I’m looking forward to warm balmy days. This week is ugly.

      Good luck finding an internship! Wow, I don’t miss those days.

      I hope you like the Truth books. There are some beautiful images in there. Ahhhh, the mirth trees. sigh

  11. Kim-

    Good news on the weather. It’s finally done storming here. I received a call from work at 1am last night (ugh! Stupid on call phone) and it was just starting. The severe weather lasted all the way through this afternoon! It’s still raining, but finally letting up a bit.

    That spreadsheet seems like an excellent way to keep track of how things are going in your stories! I went looking a few months ago for something pre-packaged that is similar, but I already own Excel and can probably adapt this to my needs. Once again your awesomeness shines through in your willingness to share your writing process. I’m thrilled!

    So many people so guarded about their work. I’m glad you are so open and willing to help others. It’s so refreshing.

    • Hi Greg. We had a line come through late last night, but we’re good. (Basement is wet, though)

      Cool! I hope you find something that works for you. 🙂

  12. Tee

    “Why are they all ignoring the 2000 pound elephant sitting on the pool table?”

    Because Trent is snogging Rachel? LOL

    : sigh :

    a girl can dream, can’t she? 🙂

  13. Chelikins

    Had awesome storms last night. I love storms! Anyway.. I got to thinking after I looked at your spreadsheet… ummm will we see David again. I really miss him!

  14. Vampyre

    “This page intentionally left blank”

  15. Love the spreadsheet, Kim – simple, easy to track, and not too complicated to rearrange, add, or subtract scenes.

    Glad the snow melted. We’re in a “sunny and 75” mode as we head towards the dry season before monsoons in late June.

    • Thanks, Jeannie. I’ve found it to be a great tool that I refer back to many times. The copy editors like it too, if you can believe it.

      Mmmmm, you’ve got good weather!

  16. NiNi

    Went to the Cincinnati Zoo this weekend to see our new baby giraffe. Couldn’t help thinking of Rachel with her ‘running pass’. It was truly a beautiful day, and the proud mama and shy baby were adorable. I’m so sorry about your snow. Hang in there!

  17. MoonDragn

    Well hurry up Kim! 😉 I’m dying over here waiting on that new book. Pale Demon was very good. I’m always amazed at how fast you authors can crank these books out. I have trouble writing a short story much less a novel.

  18. tim collins

    I think the term…

    “4th Down and Long…”

    might be a bit more accurate!

    Good luck Hunnie!


  19. Well, I am glad your plants survived that pesky cold white stuff. What a headache though. I think I’m coming down with something myself. It happens practically every beginning of spring when my throat/sinus area becomes raw from sneezing. I feel like that strips away immunity or something, lol. If your bio-based mind has an idea of what’s behind that I’m all ears, hehe.

    As for the re-write. Wow that’s really elaborate! Spreadsheets are the key to life, I swear. I was expecting to see some sort of uber confusing and detailed character map, haha. The more and more you write about book 10, the more and more giddy I become.

  20. Steve


    I find this very interesting and thank you for sharing your spreadsheet. After listening to you speak in Tucson I got motivated (for a short time) and wrote out about 3000 words of an idea I had that would make an interesting story. Unfortunately at this point I kind of stalled out. I love to read (especially your work) and for short bursts like to write, but so far not enough to keep pressing through. Maybe that will change over time. Right now I just try to open my notes and write down more ideas so I don’t lose them in case I every truly get motivated and make a big push. I am looking forward to the next installment of the Hollows series.

    Gee, is Trent going to always be missing his fingers that Al took……………sorry, seems minor but it keeps popping into my mind.

    • That’s great, Steve! (About being motivated, not stalling out) Sometimes all it takes is a little prep work to get you excited about a project again.

      I’m still trying to figure that out about Trent. I’m content to let the story evolve on it’s own there. I like being surprised.

  21. Dayton Denise

    Forgot to add: the spreadsheet is AMAZING!

  22. Dayton Denise

    Glad the snow is gone! We had fierce thunderstorms last night and buckets of rain…spring HAS sprung here in Ohio…magnolias are almost done…the trees are really budding now!

    • We had some thunder last night, as well. Magnolias, eh? We have no tree flowers yet, but my neighbor’s crab apple looks pink, so I’m hopeful it will be soon.