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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rearranging Scenes...

It's not as easy as it sounds.

I'm slowly building the ending of my WIP and I realized that there's one scene that dropped like a nuclear bomb in the early part of the book, but fizzled like a bad joke. It's a major emotional hinge for the novel, and it doesn't work where it is.

Like any good scientist I dissected the scene, tried to figure out what was wrong, poked, prodded, tested, and finally concluded that the scene was a Season Out of Time. It needs to move about five chapters down to keep the balance and have the impact I want.

Easy to say. Hard to do.

I sat for an hour yesterday boggling at this problem. Most of my writing I can keep, but it isn't a matter of cut and paste. This is a 4k chunk of writing that needs to move. New segues need to be written. Some of the older bits will be laid to rest.

I think it will fix some major problems I'm having with the MMC's character arc, but I honestly don't know how to get this fix off the ground.

Copy, paste, and edit the rough bits?

Rewrite everything?

Rewrite parts, then copy and paste?

Where do I start? Help! For all you accomplished people who have survived the editing battlefield, how do I do this?


  1. Paste it into its own file. Rewrite. Paste the result into its new home.

  2. That could work for a start...

    Okay! :o) At least I have a jumping off point.

  3. Sounds like a problem I've had before. I always keep my old versions, and usually start a new file for huge changes, in case I screw it up royal. I usually feel the urge to cut and paste, but it eventually dies down when I start writing from scratch. I tend to think my work is better on the rewrite, anyway. If any lines were really that memorable, you'd have them memorized.

    Starting over in a case like this one allows you to add in foreshadowing, etc., and lay the groundwork for your emotional bomb, so to speak. Now that you know what's going to happen, you can make sure all the proper motivations are in place. If you think about it, writing toward that scene will probably make everything in between that much better.

    Just make sure you don't over-plan. Sometimes that's my downfall!

    Good luck!

  4. Usually when I have to move an entire scene (thankfully mine are shorter), I cut it out, paste it where it roughly needs to go, fix the transitional stuff where I cut it from, and then start reading several paragraphs back from where I pasted it, editing as I move into it so I can blend it with the new position. Then I just edit/revise through it as I would any other scene.

    Just be sure to go back and fix any continuity issues that might arise...

    Good luck! Hate it when that happens...

  5. I just had to do that with chapter 3, as you know. I find it really helpful to save a new copy of the document and resize the windows so I can viwe both copies side by side. Delete everything old from the new saved doc, and rewrite from scratch, but with the old version open beside you.

    For some reason, I find that a lot easier than trying to work around the lines I want to keep.

    Can't wait to read the results! :D