Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In My Head but Not on Paper

The finish line is in sight on the hard-copy edits for RTL. My characters are scrambling to win, the bad guys are preparing to do something dirty, and the tension is building to an almost unbearable pitch. Who'll win? Who'll lose? How many more people have to die? Ack!

Aside from finding the story is still as good as I thought it was when I first wrote it, I'm also finding places where I know in my head what's going on, but didn't write it so the reader knows what's going on. For instance, I have a whole scene where one character talks to the heroine about decision made in a conversation that never happened. At least not in print. The conversation happened in my head. I just never wrote it down and now I have to. I mean, it's not like the readers can climb into my head and see the story. Right? Right. So I have to fill in some places and fix a few things for clarity's sake.

Also, I'm still finding chunks of dialogue where I know who's talking, but it's not clear to the reader. (And I know this is true because after several weeks of not touching this manuscript, I'm having a tough time figuring out who's talking.) Especially when it's an ensemble cast having a conversation. I've got five people in the room, and they're all contributing to the dialogue, but who's saying what is a mystery. Ack. In some cases I can easily tell who's talking by their speech patterns, but sometimes it ain't so easy. Which means I need to fix it.

In a few spots, I can see the scene in my head with such perfect clarity I feel like I could step through and walk down the street or sit in the living room myself. But what I see with my mind's eye isn't coming across in print. (Some scenes I nailed, but some got left behind in favor of the action.)

So, soon the redinking process will end and I'll be back to the keyboard--tweaking and expanding in some places, tightening in others. When I'm done, it's onward to submission. I'm excited and nauseous all at once. (More about the fear/excitement of submitting tomorrow - if I remember.)

Now it's your turn. Do you have times when it's all in your head, but it didn't make it onto the paper? Or is it just me?


liz fenwick said...

Oh many times when it's in my head - especially if i was in full fast flow :-)

Kristin B said...

Oh yes. I can't count the number of times I've read something I wrote, only to wonder how that character got there, when he was just over here...usually it's because either a.) my brain is too fast for my fingers, or b.) my characters are too fast for my brain. Sneaky little devils.

JenWriter said...

Yes, this happens to me. I'm getting ready to ask my beta reader to go over the first two chapters of mine to make sure that it makes sense to someone other than me. It's in my head so I know perfectly well what is happening.

CC Devine said...

It's not just you - I do it too! It makes editing frustrating at times but also satisfying in terms of realising what needs to be cut/moved/changed and this in turn often fires me up and inspires me to take things in a different direction.