This is deep into the process.

I'm feeling my way on "Takeover." Sort of dipping into the manuscript as things occur to me. Moving about the manuscript, trying to sense where it needs help and what can be left alone.

I did have to move some sections around yesterday, which I really didn't want to do. But I've changed the motivations--which I think are much stronger--and that requires my changing the sequence slightly. It will mean the last rewrite is just making sure the tone is correct all the way through.

But so far, I'm taking a very tentative, light touch to it. Adding stuff only when I'm certain. Making sure I'm good with every change. Letting my subconscious work on it.

I've got two action scenes to write, and that will probably be the easiest part of the whole process. It's the in-between and surrounding material that needs to be adjusted and that's much harder.

I'm not totally sure the second action scene is absolutely necessary. I'm plopping it into a slower section of the story, and it will have one of the stronger character's POV. It won't hurt to write it. It can always be taken back out if it's too much or too out of place.

I'm treating this more as a synthesis of tone and ideas than a flat change, if that makes sense. In a way, it reminds me of the way I used to write term papers. I'd always assemble a bunch of ideas, then just sort of string them together, and then step back and wait for the pattern to emerge. Most often a solution would present itself.

I figure that every time I dip into the story, I'm improving it slightly. Most of all, I'm trying to maintain the original tone and intention. Yes, I want it more exciting. Yes, I want it to pull the reader forward. But I don't want any cheap theatrics or drama or action. I'm still trying the maintain the "real" feel.

The last rewrite will be when I've done all the things I think I need to do, the right pieces in the right places, then sit down to make sure it's all consistent, page by page. That's a more critical, methodical process.

In a way, with this "dipping into the manuscript" I'm trying to retain the original fictional dream, to keep the creative part of the process, and holding back the "critical" parts. I know, in the end, I'll have to do a good old-fashioned mechanical rewrite, but I'm holding off as long as I can stand it.


Read Linda the changes to "Takeover."

"You're re-framing the motivations," she said.

"Yes! That's it!"

I love it when there is a clarifying phrase. That's exactly what I'm trying to do. I'm putting the characters in danger earlier, basically, which is a huge improvement and changes the whole tone of the first half. Such an easy change, once I realized it. 

The beginning motivation of the main characters is to protest, but that isn't a strong enough motivation to carry the first half of the book. In the second half of the book I put them in danger and that works much better.

But I can put them in danger much earlier in the book, and that's what I'm trying to do. It shines a new light on what everyone in the story is doing.