Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Manuscript, Version # 0.3.159: Bug Report

I have been…reviewing the manuscript. It’s not pretty, but, in the interest of disclosure, I’ve compiled some of my notes on what exactly needs fixing so far. These are mostly coming from the technical side rather than addressing specific plot details, but there are some of those as well.

  • There are too many voices here. Jumping between narrators is leading to endlessly inconsistent voices, tones, knowledge bases, and timelines. It’s playing hell on the continuity.
  • Inconsistent setting. This is to be expected. I overhauled the world more than a hundred pages in. It’s a standing problem, and one I expected to have to fix, but still bears a place on this list.
  • Too many time zones. Locations. Overlap. Jumping from Dow to Seb to Sydney feels mad. Information and whole scenes repeat. Probably best to relocate as much of the plot as possible to the Lunar colony.
  • Too much sprawl. Too much bloat. Everything about this plot and world is too bug and complicated for a baseline story that’s so simple. It kills the mood. Everything either needs to be liberally cut back or the main thread expanded to match the world.
  • Dow is too foreign. He needs a presence at the Lunar colony. A familiarity with it. I spend way too much time introducing setting concepts and characters, and not enough dealing with the plot…He needs a history with the place, and the personal stakes that come with that.
  • Dow’s position seems too formal for his behavior and general nature. His background is solid, I think, but he’s in too much of a position of immediate authority. I need to get him a way to be working the case, but also be as low-down and dirty as he wants to be.
  • Cut this thing down already! One-hundred & fifty pages in, and the only major point relevant to the case is a red herring? Come on, son!
  • Do I even know who killed Warren Cole anymore? Or why? I’ve been adding layers to this thing for so long, I don’t even know where the endpoint is. Figure this out and re-chart the plot for good this time! Jesus Christ.

So, that’s about the long and short of my problems with the novel as it stands. I’m working on some potential fixes now. Some of them are obvious, some of them are surprising me a little, but I’ll be sharing most of them with you tomorrow.

I’m also planning on taking those fixes to do a rewrite of an existing chapter. The plan is to make both of those available to you (in a very rough form, of course) for comparison, so keep an eye out for that later in the week.

 

-Sean


Also, for those of you who are kind of confused by the title of this post: An explanation. There are a lot of different versions of this manuscript floating around on my hard-drive, and there will be many more before the end. To keep them organized, I’ve taken to referring to them in a MacGyvered (how does spell check not know that word?) form of the version numbers that in-development pieces of software get. Let’s break this one down…

0. – The base version number, used to identify when a piece of software is an Alpha, Beta, or Release version. The “0.” usually refers to an Alpha build, meaning that the manuscript is not a complete draft and not fit for anyone’s eyes but mine. When I have a complete draft, this will change to “1.” representing that it is in Beta and ready for outside readership (testing).

3. – The first part of the build number. This tells me how many times I’ve restarted the manuscript from scratch. It will change to a “4.” when I start rewriting the existing chapter that I mentioned, though I’ll probably keep my standing word-count because I’ll be scavenging parts of build 3.

159 – The second part of the build number. Signifying how many days it has been since I started build 3. I previously restarted the novel on June 13th, and that was 159 days ago…So, that one’s pretty simple. This number will also restart when I begin rewriting that chapter.

That’s it. Anything that I do tomorrow will be saved as Version # 0.3.160, but come Thursday of Friday we’ll be switching to Version # 0.4.0. Because I’m a nerd.

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