Cleaning it up (WIP questions) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-29-2006, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I'm struggling to clean up my manuscript. I want to send the first few chapters out to some contests and see how it goes.

But, having never done this, I'm having some problems. Because the entire book resides in my head (as well as on paper) I can never remember if I already said that part. I keep going back and forth, making myself crazy. I read and reread, make little changes but it's slow!

(And my family insists on trying to talk to me! I NEED quiet!)

I had no problem keeping things clear until I got a few chapters in. Maybe an outline would help. Does anyone know an easy way to do one? (The last time I did an outline was in HS, and that was ....oh god....30 years ago.) Any advice for how to clean it up?
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#2 of 6 Old 07-01-2006, 04:46 AM
 
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Outline...
That's probably the easiest way if you are not sure if you are losing points.

You could read each chapter, and take down the key points.

Chapter 1
Joe meets Jim Bob
Jim Bob reveals his affair with cindy lou
Joe reveals he is from the Schmoo family

Melinda walks in- leaving to Europe

Mandy introduced



Whatever...

Another possibility could be to go through your main points, and then cross-reference them to chapters....



Joe Blow (really Joe Schmoo)
ch1 tall, brown hair, blue eyes... contacts brown to disguise himself
ch1 engineer
ch1 left his family
ch5 found out about dad having affair with the help
ch5 Came back- father on deathbed, he wants his share of
inheritance


Jim Bob
ch9 Jim Bob and Billy Bob kill Peggy Sue




Whatever... got all your points about your story written out and then insure they are captured somewhere.



Not sure if any of that will work, though, since I've never tried it. ;-)

Good luck.
Tammy
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#3 of 6 Old 07-01-2006, 11:05 PM
 
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I like outlining with index cards (my ist choice) or mapping out plot with stickie notes. I like the cards better bc there is more space to take notes on the details (like Tammy suggested) plus, they are portable.

I KWYM about trying to remember if you left something out, said something twice. I write biographies on most characters before I start really writing, and it is hard to know if my writing flows with no holes (bc I thought I already said it when it was really only in the biography) Am I making sense? I think that is where some good, honest feedback would help.

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#4 of 6 Old 07-02-2006, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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quaz, I think that's exactly what I need to do. I tried to keep track as I wrote and edited. Just reading it over and listing the points would work better. Thanks

Kelly, no sure HOW to use the index cards. Don't they all just get mixed up? Or do you use just one for each character/chapter?
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#5 of 6 Old 07-02-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red

Kelly, no sure HOW to use the index cards. Don't they all just get mixed up? Or do you use just one for each character/chapter?
The way I use them is to write a scene on each one, including characters, setting, etc.

I then can lay them out on the table (or floor) and play with the order. Once I have an order I like then I can stack them and carry them in my writing bag...It gives me something to play with when in the process of writing a longer piece. I can also change the order if something doesn't work. It is just an organizing tool for me. If I don't feel like writing in a linear fashion, I can use a card to write just that scene. I usually do this before I write too much of the story.

HTH

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#6 of 6 Old 07-02-2006, 10:19 PM
 
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Oh, I also seperately use a card for each character, recording important dates, years and milestones (and the date that coincides with each milestone) It takes some work to get those dates to match up, but it is worth it when I refer back to the card. It helps me to be more authentic.

I ALSO use a card for each person's characteristics. Things like : Appearance, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, family heratige, whatever I need, based on what I'm writing. On the cards I tend to be brief, they are just tools. I have things written in more detail in other places.

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