Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Novel's Journey: Musical Minions

I'm in the read-aloud edit right now, which is slow since I'm reading it as a bedtime story to the boys. (Steven, 15, has joined his little brothers and Amber occasionally joins in.)

Tuesday night, we came to one of my favorite scenes, when a badly outnumbered Vern evens the odds by picking off minions in a variety of unusual and comical ways. We'd made it through the laughs and were gearing up for the big crisis when Alex noted, "Mom, you've got too many minions."

He was right--this was a fast-writing scene with nine minions to start, and I'd lost track of who Vern had picked off when. I even had two minions still going after Vern after they'd left the room! Oops.

Lessons here:
1. Read your stuff out loud, to someone else if you can. You catch so much!
2. Sometimes drawing out a scene graphically works better than trying to make a list or keep track in your head.

So Wednesday, I sat down with a pen and paper, made a list of McThing's McMinions and drew a map of the evil overlord lair.

Then, as I re-read the scene slowly, I made notes of who moved where, who left, who replaced whom, all on the drawing.

When I finished, I realized I'd still written about twice as many minions as Vern really had to deal with. Guess he was seeing double. It also made for an interesting conundrum. Vern can take three guys, even in his weakened state. Why didn't he? Fortunately, I had a ready-made excuse: Heather, who refused to be much more than a damsel in distress. Vern and Charlie could never count on when she'd show her plucky side.

So, it's taken some re-writing, but that's what the editing process is all about--finding the mistakes before the editor--or worse, the reader.

Editing progress: Through page 86, but loving hearing my kids laugh. Lots of boy humor. Of course, my husband just about spit out his Diet Coke when he heard me describe the Top Secret briefing room. After years of working in that world, we both know how true it is.


Anonymous said...

It looks like a football play...

Karina Fabian said...

LOL. It does, doesn't it? Although the way Vern played it, it was more like elimination hockey, if there is such a thing.