Here’s my improvised workspace, and I’m not letting housekeeping in! I pulled out the sofa so I can watch and hear the Pacific. I like to spread my manuscript around, as you can see. You might also say that I’m playing a mind-game with myself, because if I’m reading in bed, then I’m not really working, am I?
This thing I’m doing with my manuscript — I realized today that it’s part of my official “process.” Not that I have an official process, but still, I find myself doing it with every project. (And I always go on retreat, too; otherwise it won’t get done.)
I don’t think I’ve said exactly what I’m doing. It’s simple really: Reading the hard copy in a few days. The quick, big-picture read. I find this incredibly helpful.
Why is this helpful? For example, I’ve already noted internal logic flaws and other inconsistencies that I didn’t notice during the slow-paced revisions. Let’s face it, we lose track of the big picture, right? I can track the rules of my fictional universe when I read fast. I’ve managed to cut many an extraneous yet beautifully written (hehe) passage because they don’t fit anymore.
Also, painfully obvious now: All the squinting of eyes, cocking of heads, and raising of eyebrows. I’ve got the twitchiest cast of characters around. I’ve prescribed fictional Prozac: cut cut cut!
Not to mention the babies that I’ve kept since the first draft, mainly because they’re so familiar I took their existence for granted. Have you done that, read through sections without being aware of them anymore? They’re just there, innocuous as dust in the corners, until you finally realize they’re throwing off your internal logic or character consistency.
It’s fun, but the challenge is staying big. I’m behind schedule with the reading (and leaving tomorrow!) because I keep getting caught up in the details. I’ll find myself line-editing and obsessing and analyzing — trying to fix the flaws I come upon instead of noting them and moving on.
I’ve come up with many convenient words to stop myself from getting bogged down. The manuscript is littered with notations like “fix” and “clarity” and “awk” (for awkward) and “sensical?” and “transition” and “needs more.”
Does anyone else do the quick-read? Do you find it helpful? How so?
Back to work!