Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Revising: A Dark Treasure Hunt

I’m in the middle of the big revision of the sequel. And I’m having a great time when I’m not anxious. In the past, I’ve described writing as riding a rollercoaster. Revisions don’t have the same ups and downs, they’re more like a treasure hunt.

I have to fill in the text with plot baubles. Pretty little bits that fill out the setting, which is especially important in books that take place in the past. Readers want to know the exotic details—what weird foods are there, how would people dress, what are the sights and sounds on the street? Of course, the most important thing is to make these baubles integral to the text; otherwise, they’re not much more than footnotes to the story. In other words, these baubles must become more than pretty trinkets because readers want to be transported to another time and place. And while historical fiction addresses this desire, I think time travel books add a layer—what would it be like for me (a modern person) to be there.

But before you think that the plot treasure hunt is all fun and games, I must tell you that it’s a dark treasure hunt. Dark because I’m not alone. There are stalkers. Black clothed thought figures who hunt me while I’m on the treasure hunt. They exist in my mind, in thoughts that say, “What if you can’t figure out a way to fix this.” They stalk my courage. Always taunting me, until I fix the plot problem. Then I turn and fire on a stalker, nailing it in the chest and watching it explode into dust and blow away.  Afterwards, I blow away the smoke that clings to the nose of my revolver.

Another one bites the dust. Lock and load, baby.

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