Revision Notes – Concept of Layering

My brother is still reading my vomit draft. He has shared with me only one thought so far after he got 30 pages in and that was, unsurprisingly, that I could add more detail and expand the scenes more. In particular he felt that the first scene where the soul eater brood is introduced was somewhat confusing in places.

I don’t feel that writing fight scenes has ever been my strength. So even though I thought I was clear this time around, I know I need to go over all my fight scenes with a fine tooth comb and consider what I am actually showing the reader.

After having read this article on building tension in standoffs, I think I should also keep that in mind when I go over those scenes as well. I wanted this book to have an element of suspense to it and the core of suspense really is dependent on the amount of tension that’s built throughout the story. It’s supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what happens next.

With that said, I think this article on writing nail-biting scenes is also worth keeping in mind for this topic. In the first article the author discusses mostly about what the characters are doing, but this article talks about building and contrasting emotion throughout the scene for each character in it. Who is afraid? Who is angry? Who is menacing? Who isn’t? And he talks about using descriptive language to build upon that as the scene moves along.

I really like this author’s blog posts because he doesn’t just discuss the process of writing or revising, but he shows examples with his own work so you can see what exactly he’s talking about. It makes the topic feel more hands on. He even has an article on layering which resonated with me and I feel that my story needs in order to work. I did try to do this while writing the vomit draft but now after having read these three articles I’ll be able to revise with greater focus on what I want my scenes to do for both the story and the reader.

Honestly I think finding this has been more useful to me than the NaNo’s “Now What?” Months page has been so far. Don’t get me wrong, they have good advice but it feels like it’s geared more towards those who are ready to publish right now rather than those who are still trying to polish what they have. I am no where near that point at this moment.

It’s frustrating, a part of me wants to start making changes but another part of me says I should wait for my brother to finish reading the vomit draft before I do that. He does have a busy life and it will take some time to get through it all. I know that. I don’t want to waste his time and I do want to know his thoughts on the book. He did study in college to be a teacher after all so discussing the book with him for the first revision should be valuable.

I guess I’m just worried that if I start revising now before he’s finished reading it will make any comments or advice irrelevant and cause him to feel his time was wasted. Although I plan on keeping a copy of the vomit draft so maybe that won’t happen. Whatever he has to say about it, I can go back to the vomit draft and look at it and then compare it to whatever revisions I make if I were to start now. I could see if I saw the same issues on my own and whether or not I’ve addressed them. I suppose in that light it wouldn’t be a waste.

Once I have the first revised draft complete, I’ll ask someone else to read it. Get fresh eyes on it and another opinion. I just didn’t realize it would feel like this part takes forever. There seems to be a lot of waves of activity and then extended lulls. Stop and go. It’s driving me nuts. Do all writers go through this and feel this way during revision of a novel?

My mind is already trying to push forward with ideas for another book. And a part of me says I should just start writing that vomit draft while waiting for my brother. If nothing else it will keep me busy and writing. I don’t know. I feel like I’m stagnating here. I haven’t even really been blogging much lately. But thinking? So much thinking. The urge to start writing some of these thoughts down for the next book is really starting to get to me. I must have sat on this first book for years with just the opening scene in my head – honestly it was mostly just the opening line with Thomas. This is different. Too many scenes in my head for it already.

I don’t know, maybe writing something else in the same world as the first book will help me with the revision process of it? All I know is I feel like I’ve got some quasi-block going on and I need to break it somehow. Maybe even practice with layering on something fresh would be good.

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6 thoughts on “Revision Notes – Concept of Layering

  1. Reblogged this on The Art of Chaos and commented:

    I feel like I’m going nuts. I don’t feel like I’ve done any kind of writing worth mentioning – not even here on the blog aside from my weekly scheduled posts like the Mood Tracker and the Chaos Rally. I don’t count that as writing exactly. Certainly not creative writing. As for sharing what’s going on in my personal life, it’s just been broad general strokes. Life feels more or less boring since we’ve really started to settle in over here at my parents’ house. I can’t believe I’m even complaining about that and it’s asking for trouble. Seriously though I feel like I have nothing to write about other than not having anything to write about. It’s frustrating. So while I wait on my brother to finish reading the vomit draft of the first book, my brain is insisting on developing ideas for another book. I don’t know if I should start working on that or work on something else or just what. I want to be writing and it feels weird again to not be writing.

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  2. Here’s what you do.

    Your brother may or may not be a great person to read your story and offer input of any value (I’m never going to refer to anyone’s draft of anything as vomit; it’s merely greatness in a raw state) but he’s always going to be your brother. Thanksgiving dinner may be awkward if he hates it. Even if he loves it, so what? You are writing for you and an audience you wish to speak to, and unless it’s him, he’s not very important in the grand scheme of things (family is always important, understand).

    So join a critique group. There are many free ones online and you will get valuable input from people who are or want to be writers. They will give you valuable input and show you things you need to know.
    That said, so will I. You found my blog; use it. The articles you referenced are part of me taking a first draft and making it into a great finished product, and along the way – 45 links in that chain – I explain why we did what we did. Things like dialogue tags and word choice, as we as creating suspense – all that is laid out for eager eyes like yours to peruse.

    I’m glad you found the posts helpful. That makes me happy.

    Your brother is busy. People in critique groups are, too, but they have decided they want input and are willing to give it to get it, helping each other along the way, each sharing what they’ve learned. You will be able to glean information form many sources. I was able to critique for a New York Times Bestselling Author in a critique group, I met and mentored a lady whose first novel became a bestseller, and I have met and helped dozens of new writers – all in a critique group. Oh, and I learned a lot there, too.

    I talk about that experience and a lot of other stuff on my blog. Use the search button to find topics and if you want, shoot me a message via the Contact Me button. Maybe I know somebody who would like to look at your story.

    Meanwhile, YES, WRITE.

    All the time.

    Every day.

    If you have ideas, write them down. Every writer does that. Finish what you start, but there’s no issue with writing a second book while the first one rests and while you go off to learn stuff.

    And thanks again for the kind words about my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and give advice here.

      It’s hard to explain why I use the term “vomit draft” but trust me when I say it isn’t intended to be derogatory in any way. It’s more in reference to the flight of ideas and pressured speech that those with Bipolar Disorder tend to experience. Like a broken faucet the filter is lost and the thoughts just pour out as they come. I’m diagnosed with the disorder so I feel it’s a good thing when I can channel this symptom into something productive. It’s even better when you can later go back and turn it into something that shines. Sadly you can’t do that with the spoken word, as much as I wish I could sometimes.

      Scribophile is a writers’ workshop and critique group that the NaNo site has recommended. I haven’t joined it yet, but I’ve been thinking about it. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t consider other groups. I am feeling though that if I wish to seriously move forward with this book that I will need to find a group to get the feedback I need sooner rather than later. Helping others write and revise has always been a place of learning, hasn’t it? I never really feel like a teacher in that process so much as an explorer.

      My whole family reads the same types of books and of the five siblings, three of us write – my brother mentioned in this post being one of them. All three of us have books in the works. However with that said I am aware of family bias. In him I have a fellow writer reading this who knows how I tick, but that may or may not be useful in the end. Will he be able to use that knowledge and say, “I think I see where you going with this but…” or will he use it to compensate and just be a lazy reader? Time will only tell in that regard. The same could be said of my sister, but at the moment she is busier than the rest of us.

      And yes, I do believe it is time to start writing – even if only notes – for the next book before my brain takes off and runs away with it, or worse move on to something else.

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  3. As a wordsmith, your word choice matters. Vomit is never going to be understood by the general populace as a good thing and in the process you appear insecure about your work when you use it. I’d stop. I don’t want to read vomit, nor do I want to smell it. See? Call it what it is in the verbiage of the craft. A first draft. Use the words other writers use so you are understood. Same goes for your readers. Rowling had to explain what Muggles were, right?

    Busy is a relative term. Everybody’s busy. When I say I’m busy. I’m saying my current needs are a higher priority to me than your request. If my house catches on fire, that’ll leap ahead. If you join a critique group and post in the morning – and I have no idea if the one recommended by NANO is any good but I’d guess no, then you could have feedback tonight. How’s that?

    Stop worrying about one person, even if it’s your brother. If you write something good, he will like it. My brother likes all my stuff cos he has great taste. Unless he is the only one who will ever read it, it’s gonna have to appeal to a slightly wider audience, regardless of how you tick.

    You have taken some huge steps toward making your writing an actual thing people can enjoy. Write that sucker. Get it our of your head and down into the computer. Then go write something else. Meanwhile, it’ll rest and if you post it in a critique group it’ll get feedback.

    That’s my advice. Put on your gear and get in the game. The next steps have been explained to you. Any delays are your fault now, not your busy brother’s. Don’t use him or bipolar or anything else as an excuse. Stephen Hawking doesn’t, right? Join a critique group and post something.

    You can do it. Go do it.

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