Break’s Over, Part Two

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

Faulkner's wall Outline of The Fable

Faulkner’s wall
Outline of The Fable

Happily, my first  week back to work has been very productive.  The tools do still fit the hand, and the hand and brain do recall what to do with them, which is a relief.  Particularly as the book is in a phase that, while as mentally stimulating as the rest, is not one of my favorites: a lumpy, disorganized draft staring back at me demanding to be fixed.

Have you as a reader ever given much thought to the way one scene in a book follows another?  Or what issues of logic, time, style, character development, and the building and resolution of tensions must be considered in making each of those decisions?

It can be very challenging.

In this case, some pieces of the book that I have excerpted for other, stand-alone uses are much more cohesive and better polished than the rest.

The first chapter, for instance, which appeared in Analog as “Two Look At Two” (April, 2011), must be adjusted to carry the story forward rather than reach a point of semi-resolution.  And “Vooorh,” a novella-length story which will appear in Analog sometime soon, must be folded back into the novel scene by scene, as an integral part of the whole.  Then the rest of the book must be brought up to their standard.

 J.K.Rowling's Plan for Order of the Phoenix

J.K.Rowling’s Plan for Order of the Phoenix

Each writer finds his or her own way to organize, rearrange and keep track of the individual pieces as they are woven and rewoven together.  Faulkner, for instance, wrote scene descriptions on the walls of his room. (The restorers of Rowan Oak, his home in Mississippi, graciously left one wall unscrubbed for the benefit of posterity.)  Others use cork boards or  sticky notes or stacks of index cards.

I’m still … uh … refining my method, using a spreadsheet in addition to all of the above.

It isn’t tidy, but  I am back at it, with frustration and joy.

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About Paula S. Jordan

Paula S. Jordan is an Analog writer, former orbit analyst, and a blogger, with a an alien contact novel in third draft. It’s all her dad’s fault: giving her that science fiction book at seven years old!

2 thoughts on “Break’s Over, Part Two

  1. I know what you mean. I have my notebook and pencil that I carry with me everywhere, which reads like a collection of short scenes for a disconnected plot, because that’s what it is. Later I have to go back and piece it all together.

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