Monday, July 11, 2016

Condensing and Combining Scenes

One of the biggest things I noticed about the first draft of my novel was that it was long. Really, really long. 93,000 words long.

At first, I thought this was fantastic. It meant that my initial fear of not being able to write a full-length novel was inaccurate. Unfortunately, I soon realized that the length of my first draft wasn't a result of my expert storytelling, but in fact it was evidence of quite the opposite. The length of my first draft was entirely due to my inability to plan ahead and combine multiple plot lines into single scenes. Basically, my novel was too long because it was dragging its feet the entire way to the finish line.

Luckily, in writing my second draft, I've found that the first draft is very useful as a thorough outline of what the later drafts should include, albeit in a totally different format. Each scene of the first draft typically had one objective, which was to get a single plot point from A to B. With the second draft, I'm finding it much easier to think ahead and put together the puzzle pieces to fill each scene with at least three simultaneous "objectives," AKA plot lines. Rather than just getting characters from one place to another, they're moving locations, slowly completing their arcs, and introducing mysteries into their pasts all at once. The result is scenes which feel more exciting and alive, even though they're technically another step removed from what a real-world moment in time typically includes.

It's yet another big step forward in both my novel and my abilities as a writer.