I have to share with you all my latest experience while editing Eternity.
When I originally sat down to write the story I moved from Scene A to Scene B seamlessly, from B to C and so on. All my characters wound up where they were supposed to. The book drew to a close and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Eternity has already been through one round of edits. My first round is always a cleanup and grow round. What that means is I do all the spell checks, look at sentence structure, make sure my dialogue isn’t ridiculous and things like that. The grow portion is because in a rough draft I am not very detail oriented. That first draft is where I get a chance to fill in the details that will make for a well rounded book.
My second draft is where I look at bigger concepts. I make sure every scene has purpose and every chapter is necessary. My biggest struggle is the beginning of my books. It is painfully obvious my characters and I were just getting to know each other. They ramble on about things that are important to them without taking into account the need for pacing and flow.
A strange thing happened when I went back to edit this novel during the second round. I realized that by rearranging my beginning chapters it has better flow, more action, and makes for a much more interesting read. There are things I pulled from as far as chapter seven that made it into the first three chapters. A huge scene that happened in chapter three made it to chapter 1. Some of the layering that happened in the first couple chapters got moved to later in the book.
I had to ask myself: Did I write out of order?
The simple answer is yes, but I think I have figured out why. Any writer will tell you their writing and characters surprise them and mine are no different. I can only write what my characters know. They don’t know anything until they go through the motions. They come up with these surprises which throws my plot for a loop. It would only make sense that I would have to adjust the plot and manuscript to accommodate it.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to see in the moment what ripple effects have on a book. Only after I take a step away and look at pacing and structure do I see what should have been obvious to me: my characters genius moments make my book look like it is out of order.
If it looks like it is out of order, then it is. Chapter’s 1 through 7 needed to be completely rearranged and are much better because of it. Things were better for a while after that, but right after my turn things got all jumbled again. I can pinpoint the places my character took on a life of their own and where my plot line got out of order. I am in the middle of rearranging five or so chapters so they have a more logical flow.
Logic! Who knew writers had to be logical?
I have high hopes for the ending, but then again I thought I was clear after I struggled with the beginning of the book.
My question is… have you ever found that you wrote out of order? If so were you able to pinpoint why?