Revision Time

Harvesting Ashwood: Minnesota 2037 will be delivered in one month. Before sitting back to admire the cover and enjoy the glow, my attention has shifted to revising the final book of the Ashwood trilogy. With a new website launching soon, promotion activities for June through August still in development and a calendar of short story submission deadlines, this demands total concentration. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible.

Writers all develop their own techniques for revising large bodies of work. The first serious revision of the third Ashwood book was completed in January. Since that time I have read the manuscript, collected a list of new material that should be woven into the story, and drawn charts of the various dramatic arcs in the subplots. I’ve let the story settle in my mind and spent time writing background material to explore characters’ motivation or expectation at various points in the book. Beside a huge binder that contains the manuscript, there is another binder with sections on new material, background information, fixes that must be made, and plot lines.

I’ve decided to use a storyboard approach to revisions for this book. Each chapter is summarized with character or significant plot developments highlighted. Next to each chapter summary are details about new material that could be included and notes about how this change would impact later chapters. Writing a thriller is more like cooking a dish where key ingredients have to be added in sequence or accepting the risk that dinner could be a mess. In contrast, writing contemporary literature may be more like blending seasonings and broth to create the most pleasing dish. Hopefully my storyboard approach will develop into a good recipe for the third Ashwood book.

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