Tag Archives: How Kim Rewrites

Winner of Ivy’s Boots

About a month and a half back we celebrated the release of Blood Work with a contest for a pair of  those Penelope boots that Ivy wore on the cover of Blood Work.  I’m happy to say that they were won by Regina M.  Congratulations again, Regina!  You wear them well.  🙂

And thank you everyone who entered.  It was a lot of fun.  I do believe that Blood Work is still lurking about on the NY Times list.  -grin-  Thank you all again for that.  It’s been a lot of fun, and the next graphic novel is almost ready to go.  🙂

But she who rests on her laurels gets funny marks on her back, and I’m busy with my rewrite of book 11, working a bit more Trent in there and removing the traces of the guy I took out in book ten.  I always say that I like the part of the writing process that I’m in the best, but I really think that I like this stage the most, where I have a product but my editor hasn’t seen it yet, and I’m re-assessing the changes that happened in the previous book and thinking heavily about where I want to go in the book yet to be written, sitting pretty in the middle with the time and inclination to blow it all to hell and put it back together again in a way that works better than my first ugly scratchings.  (Dude, I think that was the longest sentence I’ve ever written.)  Having the time to play with options makes it a lot more fun.

Monday I read over the first half, which is where most of the freedom is to change things without breaking the original story, seeing what I could easily change to get the result I wanted.  Found out it won’t be easy at all and might involve some shifting of characters. (which would be very cool in about three different ways!)  Made a few notes.  Thought about it all night.

Tuesday, deleted most of my notes and wrote new ones when I said good-bye to a few things I really wanted to do but were not feasible.   Started making new notes on the chapter pages of what to change and what the effect would be to see if it would hold up better down the line.  It’s a bad case of eating my cake and wanting it too.  If I can simplify things, that would be great, too.  Thought about it all night and ran a few things by Guy for plausibility.

Wednesday I did a quick run through of proposed changes in my mind and talked to Guy, more to get things settled in my mind than really asking his opinion.  Broke into chapter one and started the shift.  I’m not settled in everything, but I can get a few things going before I have to make a big, final decision.

Today I plan on going lightly over chapter one again to make it sensory-tight and grounded, and probably get through chapter two and maybe three.  Three is where the decisions I’m making are going to get sticky and impact everything else.

Music in my office has shifted, as well.  More energy, darker, more variety of sounds, lyrics.  It won’t last, but while it does, I’m going to enjoy it.  It probably has something to do with the stage of writing I’m at, but it also could be that I’m getting itchy for the house to become still and mine again.  There’s a stillness that only comes when school is back in session, an aloneness inside the house and out in the yard that frees the imagination another degree.  Making it wide open.

Timing is everything.


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Good day’s work

Got a lot done yesterday, and I’m back where I was on Friday night, which I didn’t expect.One more day ought to do it, and then I can print out and send.  Yay!  Every rewrite is different for me, even if the same basic steps are involved.  This one was less about tweaking emotion, (though I did that in a few places) and not much about story logic (but I tweaked a couple of spots for that, too.)  The overriding theme of this rewrite was shifting elements to quicken story flow and to keep it simple, stupid. (or KISS)

As expected, I added a couple of chapters, mostly from breaking two up, but I did add a brand new chapter at the end, giving me about 5,000 words, even with the shortening. (guessing here.  I’ve not yet analyzed the word count, but I’m over 530 manuscript pages up from 500–right where I wanted to be.)

Today I’m working on the last chapter, pulling out a character and trying to find a happy ending.  It feels good.  😉

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Bits and Bobs

I feel like my radio today, fuzzing in and out until the signal strengthens.  Had a hard weekend outside, putting down the rest of the mulch, planting a few annuals, tidying the yard, and generally enjoying being outside all day.  We finally got rain Saturday night, the remnants of the storms that tore up the south, but the mountains and cooler night temps took out much of their vigor, and it was only a soft rain.  The woods are green, and it’s primeval out my window.

Topped off the weekend with hot dogs cooked on a wood fire for dinner and smores made from those tiny hot-chocolate marshmallows (It can be done.  -grin-) which was more than nice, it was therapeutic–the fire, not the smores.  But I woke up more tired this morning than I was when I went to sleep.  Must be the lack of caffeine.  I only had one cup yesterday.  To make matters worse, I found out that Thing Two can do the one-eyebrow rising thing.  Not with just one eyebrow, but with both.  Sheesh.

I almost got to the end of my rewrite on Friday, having gotten the dialog down for the new next-to-last chapter.  I closed my office down for the weekend with a big issue to mull over.  Someone I wasn’t expecting showed up to take care of an editorial-raised question.  It makes beautiful, perfect, logical sense, and it goes with the magic of the rules, but this person hasn’t been in a single chapter up to the end, and it’s bothering me.  I can either leave this person in to do what needs to be done and work he or she into earlier chapters, (and then they will be required to be present in the next book rather more heavily.)  Or take this person back out and leave everything as it is and tweak the magic so that this person doesn’t need to be in the last chapter at all.  It’s a case of rewriting one spot verses rewriting several.  Or one days work compared to three or four.

I spent all weekend mulling it over, and despite the issues engendered by the long method of leaving this person in and fixing the entire manuscript, I’m going with that.  Logic rules.

Which means I have lost my chance at an entire summer of free writing, and I’m bummed.  Between the unexpected PR demands that hit last week, the unexpected second YA rewrite, and that my graphic novel editor would like the script for the next ASAP, (What, like I’m going to ignore it when I do have time in my schedule?) my painstakingly chiseled out summer months are now soaked up and down to about six weeks.  My personal writing project is shelved again for another year.  Maybe I can work in a short story for myself this summer.  Blahhh.

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Wow, I’m tired this morning.  I did not sleep until about two in the morning, and then it was restless.   It might have been from eating too much last night. (which was stupid)  Or the pot of green tea (which isn’t supposed to have a lot of caffeine.)  But I’m pretty sure it’s the rewrite.

I’ve got one more chapter to go, and for what I want to do, I’m going to have to go back an re-rewrite a chapter and take something out.  And that’s the easy part.   After that, there is fixing the current last chapter with a beefed up tension level and new ending, then writing an entirely new follow-up. The follow-up might be the new comfy cozy coda, which means it has to do everything the old one did, and then some.  Even better, one of the characters is threatening to walk.  Dude, you should have told me your needs weren’t being met a year ago, not six minutes before the bell rings.

It’s going to be a stressful couple of days.

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I didn’t kick my keyboard’s butt . . .

I didn’t kick my keyboard’s butt, but I brow beat it until it cried.  Monday was like pulling teeth to get my proposed daily workload done.  All I wanted to do was to rewrite just one chapter.  It was only ten pages long.  Ten pages in a rewrite can take up to ten minutes, or it can take ten hours.  This time, it was hours.  But in all fairness, it was an entirely new ten pages, not tweaking.

The original action scene was deemed not serious enough, and the visual gag wasn’t working this late in the book, so I rewrote it.  The beauty of rewriting entire slices of work is that you have the chance to slip in new material that you can use to solidify all the tweaking you did previously.  In this case, I’ve been trying to flesh out elven wild magic, Ivy, and souls.  I tried.  I really did try to incorporate them into the new stuff, but it was a battle between witches, so the wild magic was out.  Souls never made it into the new magic I was using in the battle.  But I did manage to touch on Ivy.  She was in the original fight scene, so it wasn’t as if her presence was increased, page-count-wise, but her presence emotionally went pop, and everything solidified.  It was bittersweet before, but now Rachel turned a corner and learned something.

Even better, somewhere between the dialog and writing the prose, Al showed up.  He wasn’t in the original scene, or new dialog.  He just . . . showed up, building on the tweaks that went before, demanding I DO something about his childish tantrums.  So I did, and it might impact the rest of the series in a big way.  Today, I’m going over what I painstakingly wrote and see if it’s going to work.  Tweaking I hope, not trashing.  And then onward.  Almost to the end . . .  😉

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So, yesterday, I stumbled out of my office at 8:30, ate, fell in the tub, and relaxed for half an hour reading about Cincy’s Zoo.  I had no idea just how different, and alike in a lot of ways, the zoos were back in the late 1800s and early 19oos.  Interesting . . .

Today should be wash, rinse, repeat, with me hopefully getting to where I want in the rewrite.  I made good progress yesterday, but am currently stuck on a section where I’m shifting motivations and adding more action.  Mmmm.  Not sure my motivations are believable, but things always look better in the morning, and I’m anxious to get to it.

Today’s picture is a Morel mushroom.  These are one of the plants I associate with my mom, and finding one in that vacant lot this weekend (the one I have permission to scavenge from before they put a house on it) was like reaching back and touching my past.  I replanted it in my shade garden where I put all my favorite plants.  I know it likely won’t come up again in the same spot, being a fungus and all, but now the spores are there, and it will be fun next year trying to find them–if they decide to grow at all.

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Spring is springy this year

This year, I bought a ring to hang outside that is full of nesting supplies: soft cotton, rag twine, feathers.  I hung it up about a month ago, and everyone was ignoring it–until now.  The thing is starting to show some wear, and yesterday, when I was out with the dogs, I watched a chickadee using it.  It made me feel really good, and I tried to get a picture of him, but once he knew I was watching, he didn’t come back.  At least, not when I was watching again.  -laugh-  So instead, I have a shot of the bloodroot again, this time in full glory, all opened up to the sun.  The larger, more established Trilliums are up, but the smaller ones are still safe underground.  And the red buds are blooming in the woods.  No Dogwood yet, which is curious, but they are usually after the redbuds.  I’m sort of anxious for them.

Work is going good.  I’m about halfway through my rewrite, and I’m going to have to start over.  This is a break from my usual pattern of plow through a rewrite, then go back and tweak, but I failed to make several emotional shifts obvious enough, and when enough of those pile up, it’s sometimes best to start over so you know how to handle the end instead of guessing.  I’ve done this before, so it’s nothing new, just unusual.  Which simply goes to prove that writing is a very elastic art.  You can’t get the same result by pursuing the same pattern year after year.  It’s vital that you can see what you need to get the desired result and shift your work to achieve it.  The good thing is that you’ve got everything you need to be a successful writer right this instant, you just have to practice using those muscles and honing the ability to adapt until it comes naturally.

So today, much like line editing is focusing on the logistics of the sentence and paragraph, I will be looking at one aspect of the story–the relationships–and shifting things until there is a solid flow of emotions from one realization to the next.  This part of the writing process is a hundred times more vital than most new writers realize, in a hurry to prove their talents.  This is where the writing shifts from laying words out on paper to telling a story, reaching into another person’s experiences, and making a connection.  Of making the experience come alive.


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