REVISIONS SUCK. AND the worst thing about them are, just as you crack open and rewrite the manuscript that consumed more than half a year, you’re
besieged by an onslaught of Plot Bunnies, who are sent to shower you with sparkly fresh new ideas that have nothing to do with the manuscript you’re working on.
The trick is, give them a carrot and send them into time out and get back to work.
One way to do that is to re-read a really good author or two and ask yourself, why am I in love with this book, and what lesson can I apply to my own book?
In my case, on Page One of Book One in JK Rowling’s The Sorcerer’s Stone, we are introduced to Harry–The Boy Who Lived–so we already know Conflict #1– he’s in mortal danger, even as a baby, he has wizards looking after his well being and the Conflict #2, he’s going to have to rely on the Dursley’s–the horrible muggles. And oh, by the way, the moment we see Dumbledore, we know that at some point in the series, this surrogate father figure is going to die.
Rowling is brilliant of course. So what’s the lesson here?
Um, maybe instead of fending off Plot Bunnies, I should be spending a little time reviewing Foreshadowing 101 . . . any story can be well-written, fast paced and funny, but if there’s no muscle behind the plot, you may as well be sitting around petting the Plot Bunnies.
In the first page of Morgue File, I introduced the main characters and the Problem at Hand (someone was mailing heads in a box), and while the heads-in-a-box thing is a pretty good hook, I missed a terrific opportunity to foreshadow. I should have included at least a mention of Dr. Dick, the protagonists ex-husband–and the secondary conflict, not to mention the subject of suspicion in Morgue File.
And so, back to the business at hand.
Rewriting from Chapter One. And avoiding the Plot Bunnies. *sigh* How’s your writing going?