Here I sit with my manuscript, one-hundred-eight thousand words printed out. This is not the first revision–there have been many–but this will be the most important because this book is already sold and I have to meet the requirements of the editor.
Each chapter is separated with a paper clip. Since each character gets their own chapters, at some point I’ll have to look at all the chapters belonging to each character and make sure that the characterization hasn’t changed in any way I didn’t intend for it to. After I’ve done that, I’ll look at the characterization through the eyes of each of the other characters.
Also, I need to see how the book is proportioned as far as each character’s space. I want the three main characters to have about the same amount of words in each of their points of view. There are several minor characters who need much less time and space.
My hi-liters and pens are gathered: yellow hi-liter for dialogue, green for narrative summary, orange for clues, etc. By hi-liting every single word, I’ll learn how much dialogue there is, how much narration, back-story, description. And I’ll learn if I have used each one effectively, and in the right proportion.
One of the issues with this script is that I haven’t provided enough description of each character at their first appearance for the reader to really get a good picture of him or her. This should be one of the easiest fixes.
As I work on the first three chapters, I realize I don’t have very much dialogue at all. I hadn’t noticed that before, and had never had a reader comment on it either. I need to convert a lot of narrative summary into dialogue.
I’ll continue to work on this project, and I’ll return from time to time with updates, lessons learned, and news of my progress. I hope you will return and see how it all turns out. This is the beginning of a huge revision. But I can see the pot of gold at the end of the tornado–did I tell you I like mixed metaphors?