Saturday, 18 May 2013

Navigating the rewritten rewrites...

          There are tides in the affairs of blogs, and the tide for this one
The Sterkarm Handshake
has been far out for a couple of weeks.

          Partly I've been very busy with selling my late parents' house, clearing it of all their stuff, and redistributing heirlooms. I've made so many trip to the local dump that the blokes down there - a very friendly, helpful lot - have given me my own parking space and put me on their Christmas card list.
          But somewhere in all this, I actually finished Sterkarm 3. Again.
          I was rewriting it because my agent wanted me to make a clearer distinction between the two - yes, count 'em - two gangs of Sterkarms. "We only have one bite at this cherry," she said. "I don't want to offer it until it's right."
          To help me keep track of 147,000 words, I've used Word's 'navigation pane', which is immensely useful. If you've never used it, it's a quick, simply way of putting a hyperlink into a file. A side-panel, or pane, opens down the left-hand side of the screen. When I highlighted a chapter heading, and then clicked on 'Heading 1', that heading appeared in the side-panel.

         If I wanted to be able to find a particular scene, I gave it a sub-heading, highlighted it and clicked 'Heading 2'. It then appeared in the side-panel under the chapter heading, but in less heavy type, and inset - so I could easily see the difference between the start of a chapter, and the beginning of scenes within it.
          As the words, and 50-odd chapter mounted up, so the chapter headings and subheading appeared down the left-hand side.
If I was suddenly reminded, as I worked on chapter 47, of some detail I should have added to chapter 9, then all I had to do was click on the heading 'Chapter 9' in the side-panel, and the hyperlink would jump me straight back there. If I knew the scene I wanted, I could jump straight to that scene. It's made rewriting a hell of a lot easier.
          But only so far. This must be the fourth or fifth rewrite. I thought I would be nipping through and doing nothing more than knocking out the sub-headings, to make a nice, tidy typescript for my agent to read. Instead I've been reading passages and thinking, 'Why on earth did I write that? How can I ever have thought that made sense? Or was good enough?'
          And so I'm cutting - slashing, sometimes - and changing and re-ordering. But I am intent on finishing this spruce-up in as short a time as possible, and will then email it to my agent. I promise.

 My sketch map of Sterkarm country, made of two pieces of scrap paper taped together and scribbled on.

          And this is where Blott has gone. He's out the back somewhere, chasing paranormal rodents round the bins.



Kah Cherub said...

I'm really looking forward to this third book!!! *-* It's been so long! Can't wait. XD

madwippitt said...

It's ready? Now? Please? Preview? A Dickensian chapter a week even?

He's chasing rats? If he's been taken on as staff at the caff, Blott really needs to be more front of mouse ... sorry, front of house ...

Susan Price said...

It's not quite ready... Not yet... Just one more rewrite...

C.J.Busby said...

Aaaaarghhhhh!! Jumping up and down with excitement and shouting whoo hooo!!! I didn't know you were actually writing Sterkarm 3. I had come to the conclusion it must have given you such a headache you'd permanently shelved it.... I can't wait!
(Oh, and if you're interested, I reviewed Christopher Uptake today over on ABBA


Juliet said...

Can't wait!