But enough is enough. I need to write and I need to critique. I just need a little bit of focus.
Some time ago, I exported Merely Players from Scrivener into Word. It's been through four revisions and is slowly becoming more polished. Unfortunately, it still needs more work.
Areas for Improvement
I need to analyse every single scene to see if it's working. I'm going to judge it on the following criteria:
There's a great, if terrifying, essay on analysing and writing scenes on Randy Ingermanson's Advanced Fiction Writing site. I intend to put it to good use.
The problem is, Merely Players is an overwhelming sea of 98,000 words. I need to break it down. Enter Scrivener, stage left. I'm going to re-import my novel into Scrivener scene by scene, writing a short summary for each - a little like the afore mentioned Randy's snowflake method - but in reverse.
2. Tension and Conflict
I need to tighten and intensify the tension and conflict in the story. Those black moments need to get darker. I want them to be midnight hued and edge of the seat gut-clenching. I've had some great advice from Andrea on that - on how I could challenge my protagonists more. Somewhere along the way I wimped out a bit. I glossed over some scenes in my rush to reach to the end. If I spend a bit of time on this, I think I could achieve some real emotional depth. Some recent posts tension include: The Alchemy of Scrawl, A Memory Theatre and Writing Fiction Right.
I love prose which has a touch of poetry; rolling sentences adorned with richly evocative images and expressed with elegant precision. When I've written a sentence like that, I know it. It's as satisfying as sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream. I salivate, I sigh. I love writers who are good at doing this (e.g. Elizabeth Goudge, Laura Kinsale). I want to be one of them. But it's so easy to get lazy and to fall back onto well used tropes. I want my characterisation to be bone deep; for every description and action to reflect the subject. So I am going to rake through my words and reassemble them. I'm going to think.
Breaking it down into Scrivener should help. I can tackle each scene to make it more precise, more conflict ridden and much much richer. I can set myself a scene a day and then perhaps, it won't be so challenging. Only 90 or so scenes to go!
How do you improve your writing? How do you motivate yourself? And when do you lay down your pen and stop revising?