Monday, August 5, 2013

The Domino Effect

Okay, so I took a little vacation last week. I've been around on Facebook and Twitter, but not much. I did buy a new car, and I've been slammed with WriteOnCon things. You do know about WOC, right? Because if you don't, you should get in on the fun! Go over to the WOC site to find out more.

Additionally, I'm working on a novel--hopefully the final polish! I've written, edited, and polished enough manuscripts now to name this stage "the domino effect."

This is the round where you're doing targeted fixes in character and plot. Seeding emotional ties you've missed before. Planting clues or details so you can earn the big payoff at the end. Ensuring the motivation is correct and strong. Those sorts of things.

It's not like adding a new scene or eliminating a chapter that isn't working and replacing it with one that does.

No, this requires a fine toothed comb, a careful eye, to find the exact location to insert maybe 15 words that will make your manuscript shine. You don't want to put in too many hints, or make them so few and far between that readers forget.

This round of polishing is really like playing dominoes. The details must be evenly spaced and perfectly aligned. The transitions must be strong so as not to give away where you've inserted said details.

For me, this is the toughest and most rewarding round of edits. The toughest, because one false move and the whole thing doesn't feel right. The most rewarding, because when you get it right... Ahhh.

Don't you think writing is like playing dominoes? 

16 comments:

JeffO said...

If by playing dominoes, you mean you touch one and your whole, carefully constructed world tumbles down around you, why yes, it is!

Angela Brown said...

I can't say I've ever compared writing to a game of dominoes. But the analogy works. Set the bones (words) in play. Carefully place them into the game (story) with strategic precision then BAM! you get that almighty win (with bragging rights) in the end.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, I can relate to that though I haven't thought of it that way before. Can't believe you're getting writing done with all the WriteOnCon details.

Martina at Adventures in YA Publishing said...

Ooh, I'm excited to read a new Elana book! And yes, dominos is a great analogy for plotting. For me, the simile that resonates most though is that of an orchestra conductor. The plot is the percussionist, the clack clack clack of the dominos falling, anchoring the soaring emotional notes of the theme and tone provided by the wind instruments and the depth, poignancy, and texture of the strings. Good luck finishing up!

Melissa Sarno said...

Thank you Elana. You totally made me understand why the last round of edits of my novel (that final polish) was so difficult for me. I've done major revisions, entire rewrites, and nothing felt as tough or emotionally exhausting as this last round!

Gwen Gardner said...

Yep, the last round is the toughest! It's amazing I still find stuff to change or fix at that stage.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

"... to find the exact location to insert maybe 15 words ..."

Ah yes, a tricky thing indeed and the final stage of polishing. One of my favorite stages, though!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yes! It's all so connected. I changed the profession of my MC and the ripple effect is incredible!

Excited to hear you've got a new book near ready! :)

Denise Covey said...

I agree. This is exactly where I am in my edits. Such fun! I do enjoy it.

Nicole said...

Dominoes and maybe Jenga. ;)

Kathryn Purdie said...

Great analogy. And I totally love that stage, too. I always think I'm done with that stage, but another round of it comes to bite me in a few months. The great thing is afterword I feel like I really nailed the novel. Have fun!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love your analogy. It's funny when you tweak a section, maybe shift the order of something, and voila!

Leigh Ann said...

Oh, I LOVE this stage of editing! Feels like putting the cherry on the ice cream sundae.

I'm in awe of your writing while setting up WriteOnCon. You're a rock star!

<3

Nichole Giles said...

OH my gosh, that's what I've been doing too. It's the hardest, but also the most exciting edit because you can feel that "almost done" in sight. Crossing my fingers for your ultimate results. And mine.

Kim Van Sickler said...

It's a good analogy. House of cards too? Don't know how you're getting everything done with WriteonCon too. You are a whirlwind of productivity.

Misha Gericke said...

I know the feeling. I've needed to so such a round of edits after I sold my book, so I have a good idea about how it feels.

Hope you manage to hit the sweet spot. :-)

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