I am working away on the final revisions to No Easy Way Out, the sequel to No Safety in Numbers, and thus have few thoughts outside of That Line Could be Tighter and What Happened Here? But I have perused some random things on the interwebs while working and they felt weirdly relevant to the revision process, so here they are:
1) Think Outside the Standard Toolbox
I read this little piece on how the astronauts in the International Space Station solved a catastrophic problem with a machine on the station that allowed it to draw power from one of the solar arrays. The standard, fancy-pants tools were of no use, and so they improvised using things like…a toothbrush. Yes, the Space Station was saved using a toothbrush.
While revising, I sometimes run into problems with my draft that I just can’t seem to find a way out of, or I read something and am confused by what the heck I wrote. In those moments, I have to try something different. I draw a mind map. I draw a picture of the characters or the space I’m imagining. Yesterday, I read through one single character’s plot line and wrote down all her emotions to get a sense for her emotional trajectory through the book. Sometimes I need to shake up my revision routine to get a clear picture of just what the heck I’ve written.
2) Remember to Have Fun
Have you seen this awesome little “Call Me Maybe” parody by a bunch of booksellers in Chicago? Well, here it is:
These people look like they are having fun. Fun is good. When you read a book, it should be fun. Maybe not ha-ha-laughs all the time, but entertaining or intriguing or riveting or scary–it should get your blood up or blow your mind or get you psyched for life. It should engage you. And engagement to me means you’re having fun.
While editing this draft, I will admit that I laughed at some of my own lines. I was moved by some of my own scenes. This may seem a little gauche to admit, but I figure if I don’t enjoy my own book, how can I expect anyone else to? Or, more simply, if I’m not having fun, I can safely assume that you, the reader, are not either. So I have tried to make sure everything in No Easy Way Out is fun. Certainly it’s not ha-ha-laughs all the time, but fun, yes (I hope!:)
And now, back to the grindstone!
What I’m Reading: On Beauty by Zadie Smith (I’ve never read anything by her before and so far, this book is wonderful! There was this fabulous phrase: “the crepitations of the crickets”. WONDERFUL!)
What I’m Watching: Star Trek: The Next Generation (My husband and I are slogging our way through this series. Last night’s episode was actually really interesting–two Will Rikers! EEE-GADS!)
What I’m Listening to: “Bad Body Double” by Imogen Heap (I love her. I love everything about her.)