author’s note – editing the chapter outline
Posted by jeanne
first you build it up, then you cut it down.
my kid tried to quote me this: editing is when you cut out all the good parts.
i think it was a misquote, but i thought it was funny. if a part’s really good it will creep back in somehow.
so i had this long preliminary outline, which i published about a month ago (whatever), and have since then been filling out. i’d sit and muse on an aspect of the plot, or the characters, or how they developed individually thruout the story, or how the background changed, or what level 3 looked like. and when i was finished sketching it out, i would scroll thru the chapter outline until i found where it went, and put it there.
i am forced to save after every operation because i’m on a linux box and my libre office writer is unstable.
after doing this for a couple of weeks, i had a horribly unwieldy document full of conflicting sketches.
which i saved as chapter outline 2, and am now consolidating. i’ve been doing it for about a week. at first it was daunting. and then i got used to the flow of it, and then i could begin to see how threads wound thru the story, and then i could see the beats and timing of the threads, and then i could see the parallels in action between the threads. and now it’s starting to make sense to me.
i’m still a long way from being able to show it to jim and get him to think up visuals for it.
first i have to standardize the chapters. where are they, in the game, in the realworld, in the development studio, at dragoncon? what does this level of the game or realworld look like, what stage of development is it in (depends on the characters and the storyline), who is playing this level of the game, what scenes are there in this chapter?
right now i’m using color coding. the various characters’ progress thru the game (the boy and girl, the alpha testers, ex-kurt, snake and fairy, the beta testers, the real players), the various levels of the game, the realworld, dragoncon. the quantum (and other physics) lessons.
i’ve got placeholders for a lot of the things, like the lessons (which jim has asked me about.
the lessons are basically like teaching someone to fly in their dreams. they’re the tube desire-thing in donnie darko. the lessons are how to create thoughtforms (tulpas). the lessons are how to meditate, how to be zenlike, how to do magic, how to love everybody. jim thinks that this is better shown in pictures than it is written a bunch of prose about, and i agree that lecturing isn’t going to do it. so the girl is going to become the teacher of the lessons, and she’s going to become madame guru like it or not (she doesn’t), and she’s going to try to pass it on to fairy but she’ll still have a heavy burden to carry around with her (all that devotion is very onerous). it’s also how to be telepathic, how to do telekenesis, how to travel in time, how to create worlds with your mind. all this is better illustrated.
and the thing about comic book illustration is that the script has to be a bare minimum of words, and each of those words having an unspoken subtext that helps to convey the meaning. it’s very visual and very complex, and the words are clunky.
and you may have noticed that i’m not a concise person. i go on a lot. i’m going to cut the to-be-drawn scripts down to as small a chunk as i can, and then turn them over to jim, who will distill everything to fit on a 6-panel page.
i still have a long way to go. yesterday i was only dealing with early act 2, and today i worked my way thru act 3, and now i’ve gone back and put placeholders for the categories i still need to flesh out.
and now i’m tired.