Thursday, July 21, 2005

First read-through DONE

Last night I finished reading through the first draft copy of False Perceptions and discovered that the timeline problem that I thought existed had been mostly fixed by the end of the first draft. I don't remember paying attention to that back in March, but apparently I did. So that's a relief. It doesn't, of course, mean that it's all smooth sailing from here, but it helps.

In the enclosed culture I created for FP, every family is allowed two kids to keep the population stable. If a child dies, the parents are allowed another child. If they can't have kids, someone else's allottment goes up. My main character, Cae, thus, has to have a sibling. Also in this culture, kids are trained to do their parent's job. Thus Cae's sibling cannot be off elsewhere on a mission of his own. He needs to be present, and part of the story. And he isn't. So at the same time that I am looking at my characters with an eye to tightening them up, and see a couple of places where two can become one, I need to add an all new one. Worse yet, he doesn't have a vital part in the story, just in the culture. This was an annoying oversight from my planning days on this story, and I think it's going to take a bit of mulling over to solve. Mull. Mull.

Today's big job involved beginning to make an outline of the novel based on what has already been written. I'm not one of those who morphs the outline to match what I've written as I go along. In *Marks*, I'd run with the outline until I slipped off, then go outline-less until I got stuck, then re-outline from there, deviate from it until stuck, etc. FP didn't have the same tangent qualities of Marks; it stayed fairly true to the original outline. But scenes combined differently, and in different orders, so it seems to make sense to have an outline that lists what actually was written and in what order. I'm half done that job, and expect to finish it tomorrow.

Next weekend we are running a synopsis marathon at Forward Motion. I have never written a synopsis before, so I am looking forward to the opportunity of doing it in a conference style situation, where we can read each other's for clarity and critique, then revise and try again. Anyone have an opinion on the most practical length for a synopsis? My understanding is that it varies. If you've ever submitted one, what did your target agent or publisher request?

I'm tempted to also do a synopsis for Marks of Repentance next weekend, but I need to push the story to the back of my brain and not mull it over some more to get the kernels out. It IS a temptation, but I can stifle it. Honest. I know that as long as I have this longing to go back to work on that novel, I should try to stay away from it. The pull has to lessen. Must.

Besides, I already have a project. I must keep it in the forefront. Oh, yeah, I have TWO projects. The crit on Mar's novel is going nicely. I have it a quarter finished.


Jean said...

Glad you posted the 5th Wheel Marathon topic here. Since I haven't been marathoning this year, I would have missed it on FM.

I need this one, both for critique experience and to get some feedback. Also, I don't have a synopsis for either PBOTL or Twilight, so this will remedy that. I DO have one for a third book I haven't begun to write yet. Actually, I guess I have a proposal for that one, I'll need to trim it back for a synopsis.

Valerie Comer said...

Cool. Glad you'll join us :)

Val said...

From what I've read, three single-spaced pages is a fairly standard length. Also, in my mind, three pages gives you enough content to work with if you had to expand it or shorten it for a specific agent/editor.

However, like I said, as I've been reading various agent and publisher guidelines, I've run into the 3pg synopsis more often than not (or it's longer, but double-spaced, equivalent).

Hope that helps.

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, ValMarie. I guess a three pager, single-spaced, isn't so far off of a five pager, double-spaced. No wonder I'm getting confused! And thanks for stopping by. :)