Monday, November 2, 2009

Think Globally

Hey look, October's over. Deb and Jenny have already got their November's plotted out. Me, I'm trying to think of a worthy goal for the month. NaNo? No way. It's tempting, but I've got too much revision on my plate, because I'm on the block for CWC in December. We're talking a completely revised Cass, with some overall adjustments to characters & plots. I've got a pretty solid idea of where I'm going, it's just a matter of actually going there. It'll also entail adding a couple thousand words. So, yeah, no NaNo for me.

Though, that leads me to a perfecto November goal. When I talk with my comp. students about revision, I always emphasize big-picture revision (global) over proofreading (local), because if the ideas aren't there, nobody cares about your commas.

Global revision is what I need with Cass. Ergo, this month's challenge is to look at the grander scheme. Details are good, details are wonderful, but you've got to have the bones before you can flesh them out. Whatever project you're working on, now's a good time to take a step back and ask the big questions:

1. What's the point of writing this thing? What am I trying to express?
2. If my reader gets nothing but one thing out of this, what's that one thing? How do I make sure that's what they walk away with?
3. Do all my parts - characters, scenes, complications, sub-plots - somehow serve my grander scheme?
4. What's the best order in which to put all these parts together?
5. Are readers responding to my characters the way I want them to? If not, how can I change that?
6. Am I making things hard enough for my characters? Are their challenges difficult enough?
7. Why today? Why is this plot happening now?

There are plenty more that could get added to the list, but those are some examples of big picture questions I'll be working on during my big Cass revision. Some of the questions - like #5 - come right from critique comments I've gotten. Others - like #1 - are more all-purpose. All of them are good to know the answers to.

How about you, do you have any good questions/ways of focusing on the big picture?


Jenny said...

I think you've got a nice grasp on whatcha need to do. Good questions all.

Debbie said...

I'm stealing your questions. ;-)

How best to tell this story is always a good question to ask and often can't be answered until you try it a couple different ways.

And I guess I'll see pretty soon what the answers to the other questions are for MMG. Yikes!

Feeling your pain, my friend.