Writing

Novel Update #4: Scene Lists

What Dreams Update:

My outline board looks the same, and I’m at 11,792 words. I’ve been doing some editing and scene replacements this month, so the word count hasn’t changed a lot.

On Scene Lists and Editing:

I’m almost done with the first section! The protagonists will have left planet number 1 by next month. I decided to go ahead and add scenes to this first section and edit on a macro scale, moving scenes around and checking for overall coherence. I also needed to add some more action since it started off talky, as I mentioned last month. I’ll get it in decent shape and then move on, I’m not editing even to the paragraph level yet, just the scene level.

For everyone’s reference, I hate replacing scenes I’ve already written. I hate it. So, this month has been a little slow because of that, and just because I haven’t done much in general. I was smashed after that last semester. Anyway, I’m adding scenes, and to that end, I’ve made a scene list. I love lists, but I didn’t really want to do this one. I don’t want to get bogged down in cataloging my project, I just want to get the thing done. However, this was really necessary as a record of what I’d written so I could revise it effectively, and it’ll only get more important as the book gets longer. My outline board is great for what’s coming, but not so great for seeing exactly what I’ve done — I have an awful memory and it’s easy for me to get mixed up about what happened in what order, especially if I’ve made changes to it.

The list is color-coded with new scenes to write  and with notes to add to existing scenes. So, provided I’m diligent about updating the list, it’s also a really nice form of instant gratification to see it move from a mess to a nice clean  list. I’m really happy with it and it’s already proved its worth. From now on, I’ll be adding to it whenever I finish a scene (usually every 2-3 days for a longer scene or chain of scenes). It can be a difficulty if you’re like me and you tend to chain scenes together, but for the purposes of the list, I just broke them up where I thought it made sense or where they might be divided if I need to move parts of them around.

This is what I started with:

Scene list before

My list has the planet (which functions as the overall story section for me), a brief description of the scene, the page number so I can find it, and the word count of the scene (so I know how much time I’m spending on each thing). I’m adding the page numbers after the scene edits so I don’t have to change them too many times. (I’ve reversed the order of Page and WC from the picture above, so it’s more like driving directions — page number, then go however many words, then the next scene’s page number, etc.)

I had hoped to finish this so I could show an “after” picture, but as I’m only halfway done, I’ll do that next month!

Supplemental reading:

a + e 4ever covera + e 4ever by Ilike Merey

This graphic novel is related mainly because of the most recent What Dreams-related conversation here, which was on transgender characters. I decided to read it earlier this week instead of some other things I’d planned to do, and I decided it counts. It’s about two high school kids with out-of-the-ordinary gender expressions and sexualities. I can’t really describe it more concretely because the whole point is they don’t really use labels for themselves, they just are. It’s got that indie-comic surreal feel to it, but it’s intense despite that.

It’s an adult graphic novel from Lethe Press, probably found in the adult section of the library or the “mature” section of the comics shop (not because of LGBT+ content itself, just because it’s very graphic in a lot of ways). Trigger warnings for rape and bullying with sexual overtones. Other than that, I do recommend it if you like indie comics and/or books about LGBT+ characters. Ted Naifeh’s How Loathsome is probably the most similar thing I’ve read, but I recall it being about adults while a + e 4ever is about high schoolers. (Don’t be put off by the title, it’s not full of textspeak).

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