2013-02-18

02-18-2013: Peacekeeper update

Peacekeeper now at 80,515 words.  Closing in on the end.  I did do what I said I wouldn't--I went back and revised the story to make the timeline fit.  I'm very glad I did it too!  If I had kept writing, the story line would have been very hard to fix.  I also didn't know what to write since the timeline was all messed up.  I created a spreadsheet and laid the major events down.  I had to add quite a bit of new material to bring the timeline into alignment with what I was trying to accomplish.  It actually made the book much better.  There is a lesson to be learned here - take the time to write a lot of notes about your book as you go along and make a timeline of major events.

I've said in the past that I'm not the kind of author who creates an outline and then writes the story.  Can't do it.  The story unfolds as I write it.  But, there's something to be said about having an outline.  So here's another lesson to be learned - if you don't start with an outline, take the time to build one as the story is written.

One more lesson, one that I thought I had learned but fell back and didn't follow while I wrote Peacekeeper - Always, always, keep detailed descriptions of your characters, no matter how minor, in another file.  I didn't do that with quite a few characters and now I'm regretting it.  I did well with the major players but I didn't bother with the minor ones because, well, they're minor.  Here's why you should keep those descriptions:  Let's say you have a minor character, a waitress for example.  She has a brief mention and says two sentences early in the book.  You describe her as having red hair and a squeaky voice.  Later in the book, you return to the restaurant and the waitress says, "I remember you, how have you been?"  You decide at that moment to give her a slightly more prominent role and they have a short conversation.  But, during the conversation you mention she runs her hand through her blonde hair and has a deep laugh.  You miss this during the first draft because months may have passed.  You miss it in the second revision because you have so many things in your head already that the discrepancy is overlooked.  You catch it in the third revision because you're reading a lot faster and you remember what she looked like.  Now you have to stop and make sure you fix all the references to her especially if she shows up again.  What happens if you miss one?  You look like a total dolt.

As a reminder - I will be at Millennicon in Cincinnati March 15 to March 17.  I'm not going as an author though.  If you happen to run into me, stop me and say hi.  Immediately thereafter I will be working 12 hour days, 6 days a week for the next couple of months.  I most likely will not update this blog during that time.  I will also be at Dragon*Con from 8-29 until 9-2.

Back to writing...