Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Revising Utopia Project, part XIV

I last wrote about the Utopia Project in early April.  Some thoughts:

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Psychology to the rescue:

The scene with which I was having trouble, which I talked about last time, resolved itself quite neatly when I realized that, in terms of Jungian psychology, the POV character was approximately my shadow.

Thus, it seems fitting that the scene I just finished, with which I also had difficulties, was resolved when I realized that the POV character was approximately my animus.

Also of note: I disliked both these characters a lot. Not so much when I wrote them the first time around, but during these recent revisions I was repulsed, feeling a disgust for them visceral enough to make me consider kicking them out of the story entirely. I'm glad I didn't: perhaps the characters we dislike reflect our unsavory traits, and writing through them is one way of coming to terms with those defects.

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Looking around the corner:

I took a week to read ahead a few scenes and make notes for revisions. Since this is my first time revising anything this long, I don't know if this method is ideal, and I certainly know that all writers work differently. But here are some examples of the notes I make to myself:
Scene 91:

-language barrier - just starting to overcome - J makes effort to talk Neutsch, A to talk Krev
-less about school, more about gen. life
-every winter must relearn how to deal w/ the cold
-watch the dialogue

Sometimes, while reading ahead, I'm disappointed because the scenes I loved while I was writing them no longer seem good. But I am also heartened, because there are some parts I can use as-is, and it's good to see improvement.

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How:

For once, English class was useful. We had to do some exercises with short stories identifying how style affects meaning, since next year AP Language & Composition is all about rhetorical analysis. It was eye-opening: paying attention to how something is written allows us, as writers, another set of dimensions with which to work.

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Giving you a name and taking away the number:

Go melodramatic. In my first scene back from reading ahead, my writing was stumbling. (A week off writing is just like a week off practicing anything else: "where did all my progress go?!") To get my words back, I thought about the scene, wrote about writing it, and then decided that the best way to summarize the theme of the individual scene was thus:

"Birth of a monster."

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I numeri:

Scenes: 4

Words: 13,000 +

Landmarks: 2/3 point; ~100 pages left

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Good writing, friends.

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