Monday, February 9, 2009

Writing And Rewriting B3

I spent much of the weekend working through a problem I had with This World We Live In. Have I mentioned this is a very tricky book to write?

Among the reasons why B3 is so tricky is because I have to be honest about what I've already written in Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone without revealing too much about either of those books. I've already discussed the Mami/Papi issue, but now I'm coping with the passes to the safe town that Alex has.

I can't pretend those passes don't exist. In fact, it's completely my fault Alex has them with him. I remember contacting my editor after the manuscript had been rewritten and saying we had to put in something about Alex taking the passes with him at the very end of d&g. That was because I had a completely different third book in mind, one where the passes were a major part of the plot.But in this B3, they aren't really a major part, or they haven't been until page 220 or so. Still, I can't leave them out, because if I do, someone who's read d&g will say, "Well, why doesn't Alex use his safe passes? I distinctly remember him taking them with him at the end of d&g."

So they have to be worked into the plot, without my saying how Alex got them (because there will be people who read B3 without having read d&g and will then go back to read d&g, and won't they be surprised to discover Alex has a whole other sister, because I don't mention Bri at all in B3).

Frankly, I needed an explanation why Alex wasn't using the passes, so I decided it's one thing to have passes to a safe town and quite another to know where a safe town is. Alex, Bri and Julie were going to take a bus to one, but they didn't know where the bus was going. And safe town locations, I figure, are kept pretty quiet, since they don't want riffraff like you and me showing up.

Thus the passes had to be mentioned, safe towns had to be explained, and locations had to be located. All of which I did at the end of last week, but unfortunately, I left myself with a minor plot issue, which I spent a merry weekend working out. Alas, one minor plot issue involved chucking about ten pages of manuscript and rewriting same today. Where once I was on page 235, now I'm on page 233. But the problem is solved and the book is tighter.

Something I've discovered from doing these while I go along rewrites is every third word in the manuscript is "just." When I eliminate all those justs, the book will probably be 123 pages long, and how the editor will love it.

While it's true I could write another scene today (and get the book back to 235 pages), I think I'll stop until tomorrow, when I absolutely swear I'll get a whole bunch more written. In the meantime, I'm going to move this entry over to thirdmoonbook, and put there the scene between Miranda and Syl where Miranda learns that Syl knows where a safe town is. There are two versions, the one from last week and the far better one I wrote today, so it'll be a nice compare and contrast for those who are interested.