Revision Progress!

20140107-121950.jpgLeticia is beginning to come into focus from the pile of undifferentiated scenes. I’ve gotten about three-quarters of it into the scene chart/outline now, and I anticipate doing character descriptions over the next week.

I’m gradually getting past the paralyzing fear of “no right answer.” It can still strike me at odd times, but it helps if I just get off my butt and take a walk.

After all, once you get out of school, the “right answer” pretty much goes away. As a software developer, I accepted the fact that there would be flaws in my product — indeed the most interesting part of the product life cycle for me was “maintenance” where, like a detective, I would track down those nasty bugs and stomp them. I suppose that “revision” is the equivalent in fiction writing. Maybe I really will look forward to revision, once I’ve done it a few times. I can hope, anyway.

Now that I think about it, this is not at all unlike writing a major chunk of computer code. The first phase, which I hated, was designing and structuring, and writing the initial lines of code. Then I would compile it, find out that it didn’t work, and the fun would begin. Really. I never minded being told I was stupid by a machine; I knew I could out-think it and it was only doing what I told it — not what I thought I told it, not what I wanted to have told it, but what I really told it.

Now that I have a process (thank you, Ms. Yardley,) novel writing is not dissimilar. I write the first draft, which process I dread so much that (so far) I need NaNoWriMo to do it. Then I start the revision process, in which I retroactively structure and design (yuck) and also find out what’s broken. Once I get THAT done, I get to find and stomp the bugs (yay!).

Meanwhile, life is good. I spent a bundle for a full-time month at Kleverdog and a 2014 Metro transit pass (one of the perks for Kleverdog full-timers.) As a result I get to come to Chinatown every day, and will have a year to go wheresoever I will in the L.A. County Transit System. I look forward to much saving of gasoline. And Chinatown is a delightful part of urban Los Angeles, with old buildings and clean streets designed more for pedestrians than for cars. Every time I get off the bus here, I smile. I’ve never had a job I could say that about before.

I hope I never have to be an employee again.

~~Update~~

Finished the scene chart! Onward to the story-level character GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) charts for all my major characters.

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