Revision: How A Book Gets Better

So, I’m pretty sure this is a good book that I’m writing.  I mean, I don’t know for sure that it’s publishable, especially in the current condition, but I know it’s at least almost there.

And it’s getting better.

I’m now in Chapter 3 of the revision pass.  Last night, I saw that I ended one scene with the character leaping onto a vehicle and heading off to pick someone up, and then in the next scene, I begin when he gets there.  In reading these scenes, I realized that there’s a problem, and it’s kind of a big one:  The character makes a life-changing decision in the space between scenes.

Well, that’s clearly not going to work.  So I started writing what Jim Butcher calls a “sequel,” that is, a quiet scene in which the character reacts emotionally to the previous scene, works through his possible options, and makes choices.  They also allow (and even encourage) the reader to connect emotionally to the character.

In the process, I added several hundred words.  And I’m not even finished, yet.

It’s this ability to easily insert the scene that is why I love Scrivener so much.  Sure, I could do the same thing in Word or some other word processing software, but the way that Scrivener makes it easy is really something, and it doesn’t require me to reformat anything, move any text, or anything other than insert the scene where I want it and write.

The most important thing about this, though, has nothing to do with the tool I’m using.  It’s that even recognizing the lack means that I’m getting better as a writer.

And that’s precious.  That’s what I got from Viable Paradise, and it’s why I’ll keep telling people to apply until the day VP stops happening (may that day never come!).

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

Farewell, Spock.  As the New York Times is reporting, he passed away this morning.

Nimoy, and more specifically his alter-ego in Star Trek, was important to me as a kid. I had a TON of anger issues, and the Vulcan was an inspiration on how to control myself.

See, in the lore of Star Trek, Vulcans don’t actually lack emotion–they are, in fact, deeply emotional, but in a profoundly dangerous way, quick to act on negative emotions. In their history, a man arose who espoused a way to control these negative emotions.

To a kid suffering from massive anger issues, this was a good thing. Spock’s fictional example of controlling his emotions even while maintaining and cultivating deep and meaningful friendships with his fellow crew helped me to find a way to suppress my negative impulses, while not going “full robot” and suppressing ALL emotion.

Beyond that, Nimoy was a kind soul, and a good man, and the world is poorer for his passing. I’m glad I met him.

Nimoy dealt with his share of angst regarding his most famous role. He famously published his autobiography in the 1970s, titled I Am Not Spock, in which he lamented the shadow cast on his work by the famous character. Later in life, he published a second version, this time titled I Am Spock, in which he described coming to terms with the fact that he would be forever known for Spock, and accepting that it brought as much joy as irritation into his life.

RIP, Leonard Nimoy. You were far more than Spock.