Alright, first a disclaimer. I have heard, and agree, that at some point you just have to stop doing things to your story. At no point will this ever be perfect to you, and if you think so, well, you’ve already lost the whole damn war. Constantly seeking perfection is one thing, but at some point I think you just have to left the story go. It can be a dangerous thing continuously tweaking a story, and a lot of times that’s how you get a mishmash of ideas and plots. So eventually, you have to let it go, let that bird out of the nest and see whether it flies or or ends up as road kill.
All that makes the changes I have made to my story sound bad. Nothing changes the plot, just certain sequences of events, what characters are present for certain things, and a whole slew of things to emphasize, foreshadow, and (I hope) give some subtle exposition. I even talked with my feedback people to get their idea on what they thought it would do for the plot, and all together we thought it would go a long way toward building the story. Most of this I had already prepared for, just not the breadth it would take.
I knew all these were issues that I needed to fix and it was starting to really bother me. I had to see it from high above, so I just typed out the chapters and looked at how these pieces could be put together. I needed to see the forest, not the trees. Then I just started inserting thing in between the chapters, looking at it like a reader. As a writer I don’t always know where to put things, but as a reader I can usually find fault in something and say, “I would have done this.”
C. Hope Clark is one of my favorite bloggers and she actually has a post up right now about how she approaches old material. Her approach is frankly terrifying but also very valid. I know I’m guilty of saving all my old material in case I want lines, scenes, etc. and then changing them when I reuse them. What I really found funny was that Amelia does the very thing Mrs. Clark talks about in her blog.
Every day I learn something new and terrifying about that woman.