I’ve talked a little about a fantasy trilogy I’m working on. It’s a lot of fun, but I keep running into difficult world-building things that get in the way of the real writing. Things like seasons, and farming, and how to measure time. (Is it okay to use a 24-hour rotation, and words like “summer” in a non-earth fantasy world?)
Anyhow, since I seem to have the attention span of my two-year-old when it comes to long-term (and sometimes short-term) writing projects, I’ve decided to put that one on hold for a bit. And while the clock and season thing is a small part of the reason, the far bigger, and more important reason is that I’m attending a conference next month and really want to pitch something.
I definitely don’t want to embarrass myself by spending ten minutes pitching a work-in-progress to an agent, so I have two options.
- Pitch the YA fantasy novel that has a few problems.
- Pitch the children’s picture book I have that I’m not sure what to do with.
I’ve pitched both of these in the past, and have failed to generate any interest, but that doesn’t mean either one is dead.
Oh but speaking of “dead” I have written about my YA fantasy novel being on the death-watch for a long time, and I have abandoned it many times. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay dead.
It’s got problems, no doubt. After all, if it didn’t have problems, it would be published now. But I’m going to give it another shot.
When it comes to it, there are three problems, that are all really related to one, larger, issue. That issue is a lack of depth.
- The world isn’t developed enough.
- There are one or two glaring plot holes.
- I need to add about 20,000 words to reach the acceptable word-count.
So after stewing about this for a year, and barely working on it at all, I think I have an idea.
I’m going to tackle this with Scrivener.
A while back I wrote about how awesome Scrivener was for planning a new novel, and I even did a follow-up podcast on it, but I’ve always thought that using it for an existing project wouldn’t be worth the headache.
But I was wrong. After trying to manipulate through a 50k+ Word doc, I definitely think it would be worth the “headache.”
So, it’s going in Scrivener. Now, I know there are built-in methods for important a manuscript and whatnot, but that’s not how I’m going to do this. The whole point of this revision is to add depth to the world and work on a couple of plot holes. Importing this as a document won’t help me with that.
Instead, I’m going to manually import this in the most mindbogglingly boring, and time consuming way. I’m going to treat it essentially as a new project. As I read through the manuscript, I’m going to create character profiles, location descriptions, and copy/paste each scene into one of those fancy little note-card things.
Doing this will give me fresh look at the old novel, and should help me not only answer some of the questions I have, but find a whole new group of questions to answer as well.
In some ways, this is almost like doing a reverse outline of a novel, but in the end, it will be worth it. And hopefully I’ll have a pitch-ready novel just in time for the The Greater Nebraska Writers Conference.
So wish me luck. It should be fun, but it’ll take some time. And if it’s not ready for the fall conference, it should be ready for Spring.
Thanks for reading, and if you’ve tried using Scrivener on a preexisting long project, I’d like to hear about your experience and any tips you might, so be sure to leave a comment.