Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taking a Story to the Bones

I can't tell if that title sounds just dirty or ominous or both or ominously dirty... you decide.

So, I'm working on a... reimagination of Secrets of Skin and Stone and it may incorporate but not gut Promises of Light and Dark.

Part of this will involve bringing in the larger story that I didn't even imagine when I started writing SECRETS... and it wasn't until Sarah asked me to open up SECRETS for the possibility of a sequel that I realized it wasn't just a single book. It still will read as a stand-alone in the end, I'm hoping, but there are other people involved that I never hinted at when I wrote SECRETS.

I've mentioned this before, but in case this is your first time here... my agent wants me to write a version of SECRETS for the film agent with her agency to present to producers. It needs more... plot points that involve action. So, I've got her notes on what several sources mentioned needs to be in the final draft and I'm working from that.

This will take SECRETS down to the bones of what it's about. I've never actually done a revision this deep. Of course, I'd never done a chapter-by-chapter summary before Sarah asked me to. There's nothing saying I can't do it, so I might as well try.

It comes down to "what's sacred" will stay in, but everything else is up for grabs. If you've never read Maggie Stiefvater's thoughts on revision, you should check out this post. It's brilliant.

So, what's sacred in SECRETS?

I told Sarah when we first started talking about SECRETS that there was one thing I would fight for... that I refused to sell my book to an editor who'd take it out. I was absolutely adamant on this one single point... You'd think it would be about Gris being a gargoyle. It isn't. That's not actually sacred. He's a gargoyle as a foil for Piper's issues... which are sacred. I told Sarah that I absolutely wouldn't tolerate having the cutting scenes tamed for public consumption. I knew that they made SECRETS a bit edgy but, if anything, I wanted Piper's OCD to be that way. I wanted readers to know that OCD is not simple and pretty.

So, Piper's cutting and her OCD are sacred.

Nothing else is sacred.

Everything else can be cut.

Those are the bones of the story.

I have to keep telling myself that.

Voice is king.... voice is always king. I'll revise until the voice is as strong as it is in this version in the new one. That's the other thing I keep telling myself.

So, my goal, to start off, is to go from Sarah's notes and chapter notes (my agent is a super hero, btw) and write a new chapter-by-chapter summary of this new SECRETS. It'll steal some from SECRETS... possibly some aspects of PROMISES but I want to add a lot more of an ominous feel to it as well as more action. Gris has some cool powers as a Watcher that I under-utilize. I need to really grab those and hype those up.

It needs more cowbell. More violent cowbell. If you don't understand the phrase: more cowbell--> Go HERE.

When I wrote SECRETS I only knew what was happening in Hidden Creek, Alabama for the few steps ahead of what I was writing. Now, I've written out PROMISES and I've written out a chapter-by-chapter summary of Betrayals of Blood and Spirit (the third book in the series... should it turn into a series.) I now know exactly what is happening in Hidden Creek. I've seen what is lurking in the corners.

I feel almost as if I've been given a unique gift in some ways... how would you rewrite the first book in a series if you knew exactly how the rest of the books went? Because of knowing this, I can knock out continuity errors, plant more hints, and really focus on what is sacred and where the action is.

It's a gift.

It's still scary.

I might have a breakdown.

I'll probably need lots of Mountain Dew.

In other news, I sent Sarah Sentinel's Run. That was also scary. I keep hoping such things will get less scary, but having a story bleed out of your brain onto the screen and then sending that off for someone to like or not like... it's a strange process. The world of Sentinel's Run only existed in my mind but it felt bigger than that. It always does. So, showing someone else that... it's always a little freaky.

Okay... back to that chapter summary. *takes a deep breath* *dives in*

No comments:

Post a Comment