Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Revision Table - The Learning Curve of the New Author

 Scarlet Wilson is talking again about revisions today and showing her normally hidden, terrifying tables!



Today I have to admit that I'm probably going to terrify you with my scary tables - something we don't often use here at Pink Heart Society.  But there is a purpose to all this - honestly. 

Today I'm going to show you the before and after chart of revisions, in all its ugly glory.  Now, I could have just explained this, but it's so much easier just to do Show and Tell.

So here it is.  Pelican Cove, which came to be known as The Boy Who Made Them Love Again  published in Dec 2011 in the UK.  And this is what it looked like before the revisions took place.  Every scene summarised by a sentence, hopefully showing its purpose.  Along with some not so subtle notes such as GO FOR IT (chp 4, scene10!)

So what happened next?  I got a ton of revisions.  I had to completely change the ending of the story and add more layers to my conflict.  And that's where this table came in. 

Having a five page revision letter can be a fairly daunting thing.  I wanted to know how the changes would effect my timeline, the flow of the story and the motivations.  I wanted to know what the impact would be if I jiggled things around.

So this.......

 
Chapter
Scene
Purpose
Pg
1
1 A & E
Crisis point, meeting of Luke and Abby again after 5 years
1-14       
2
2 Side room
Confirm rupture of 1st lady’s membranes, plans
15-23

3 Changing room/cathlab/changing room
Luke’s confusion at why Abby is here, show his clinical expertise, kisses her, establish sexual tension between them
23-35
3
4 Canteen
Establish jealous feelings
36-40

5 Office A & E
1st lady staying/ health and safety issues
40-44

6 A & E
Invites him to stay, shocked to meet her son
44-52
4
7 Office
Luke told he has to stay in situation
53-57

8 With Abby
Finds out child is adopted and had ALL
57-64

9 With 1st Lady
Background
64-69

10 Abby & Luke
Walk home GO FOR IT
69-73
5
11 Her house
Meets son properly, sees the life she has created for them
74-78

12  Restaurant
Build sexual tension between them, tells her about his brother
78-87
6
13  Her house
Sex
88-95

14 Morning After
Establish her reluctance to share
95-100
7
15  A & E
Equipment arrives, Rueben injured, bruising noted
101-107

16  Canteen
Establishes her pain
108-110

17 A & E
Perform DNA test, send it away
111-112
8
18 A & E
Taking him home
113-115

19 Her house
Signs of coming out of remission
115-117

20 Her house
Luke returns
118-122

21 Hospital 1st Lady
Establish state of relationship
122-130

22 Returns home
Support from Luke
131-132
9
23 A & E
Abby Discover DNA test results, tells her about infertility
133-140

24 Cliff road
Accident
141-147

25 Luke at scene
Treating patient
147-151

26 Abby on bus
Luke is trapped
151-154
10
27 Cliff road
Abby finds help
155

28 Luke trapped
Sends message he loves her
155-156

29 Cliff road
Brings help, faints when hears message
157-161

30 Hospital room
Realises he’s alive, tells her he loves her
161-166
Epilogue
31 House
Adopted another child
167-168


Became this.......  You'll notice that the entire DNA testing and big trauma accident in the second half of the book completely disappears!


Chapter
Scene
Purpose
Pg
1
1 A & E
Crisis point, meeting of Luke and Abby again after 5 years
1-15
2
2 Side room

3 Changing room/cathlab/changing room
Confirm rupture of 1st Lady’s membranes, plans
Luke’s confusion at why Abby is here, show his clinical expertise, kisses her, establish sexual tension between them
16-38
3
4 Canteen
5 Office A & E

6 A & E
Establish jealous feelings
1st lady staying/health and safety issues
Invites him to stay, meet son
39-55
4
7 Office
8 With Abby

9 With 1st Lady
10 Abby & Luke
Luke told he has to stay in situation
Finds out child is adopted and has ALL
Background
Walk home GO FOR IT
56-76
5
11 Her house

12 Restaurant
Meet son properly, sees the life she has created for them
Build sexual tension between them, tells her about letting brother down
77-92
6
13 Her house
14 Morning after
Sex/condom issues
Establish her reluctance to share
93-106
7
15 Beach


16 Evening picnic
Spend day at beach, he does things with Rueben he wanted to do with brother
Establish Luke’s frustration at parenting
107-123
8
17 A & E

18 Canteen
Equipment arrives, Rueben injured, bruising noted
Establishes her pain, his starting to connect
124-134
9
19 A & E
20 Her house
21 Her house
22 Hospital 1st Lady
23 Returns home
Taking him home – alone
Signs of him coming out of remission
Luke returns
Establish state of relationship
Support from Luke
135-154
10
24 A & E

25 Outside A & E
1st Lady goes into labour and has baby girl – the effect this has on Abby
To show both are scared about relationship & Rueben’s health
155-166
11
26 Her house


27 Hospital appt
28 Bone marrow
He arrives to show support & take them to appointment. Abby’s fears of losing Rueben
Establish risks for Rueben
She crumbles & leaves, he stays firm
167-180
12
29 Bone marrow
30 Outside hosp
Dr diagnoses panic attacks
He tells her he’ll stay with her & proposes
181-189
Epilogue
31 House
Adopt another child


Now, I know tables can be confusing.  But really, it's just an extended and amended timeline.

It's also really useful from a Goal, Motivation and Conflict perspective.   Just really simplified.
And the planner in me NEEDS this.  I need to be able to see visually, methodically how I am doing everything.
Lots of people use other methods - pinboards, scrivner. post-it notes, One Note.  There are lots of different ways of putting your story out there in a simplified manner.

So how do you do yours????

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness - this is SO useful! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm just starting a third draft of my novel and have been procrastinating because it feels a little overwhelming. (I have a lot of changes to make.) I am going to start to day with a chart like this and I'm sure you've saved me hours of anxiety and confusion. Again, thank you! Louise

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  2. Your welcome Louise! I also found if I had trouble summarising the purpose of a scene then it obviously wasn't clear enough!

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  3. Ohh I like this Scarlet (sorry for the last post - Blogger is misbehavin' bigtime). If it's ok with you I might "borrow" this and see if it works for my WIPS! Caroline x

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