Recently, I was working my way through some of the toughest rewrites and edits on the first novel. Everything about the timeline had to be presented differently. I added a whole new beginning, condensed and combined chapters, added new chapters. Overall, it was quite the head banging process. I really hated losing some of the nuances, but having it better streamlined should help me get it sold. I hope.
While I was doing this, I realized I was more confused than not. Even with knowing my entire story inside and out, and what was going on in the background, it wasn’t working. I wound up going old school with papers and highlighters and pens, making notes, changing things, using arrows to point here in there. I had to print out the first five chapters–115 pages… four pages per sheet, because that was a lot of paper otherwise.
Doing so, was the most helpful tool I had in organizing the story.
I realized, I could just to the same with Word and the highlighters and review tool… so I did. And it makes for quite the beautiful view when you zoom out of the pages…
It helps to see what I’ve cut and what I’ve kept. What was important and what will be missed. I’m definitely more visual than not on this process. Without having done this, I’d still be back on chapter two thinking of what needed to go where.
Am I the only one that does this? Is there an easier way to go through it without the trouble of highlighting every single word? I’m open to tips if you have them.
Oh, and the end results
Pages: from 506 to 494
Chapters: from 23 to 32
Words: from 123,846 to 116,640
Tears: a few because I really didn’t want to lose those parts
Smiles: even more with adding parts I’ve always wanted to tell about their stories
Pride: I’m just as proud of this incarnation of the story as I am of the original. Because at its heart, it’s still a story of love and entanglement between these two characters that are total yin and yang. They didn’t change a bit.