Monday, June 29, 2009

The End?

I finished Running Forward last night, or whatever it ends up being called. And by "finished" I unfortunately do not mean "completed." I mean "figuratively typed the words 'The End.'" Actually completing it will take a bit longer. Here's some stuff I still have to do before I get to that point:

I need to re-write the first half of Chapter 1, more or less. There's nothing wrong with it, but I didn't really find my voice until halfway through -- meaning, it took that long for Samantha's snarky, wise-ass personality to appear -- and it kind of drags compared with the rest of the story.

I want to add another chapter, probably right after Chapter 5. I need to establish more getting-to-know-you between Sam and Alex. I want to include another confrontation between Sam and Greg Bierko (and maybe Jaz as well), since Greg kind of vanishes for most of the story between Chapters 5 and 15, which isn't the proper way for an antagonist to act. And I want to add a scene where Sam visits the school's track circle, and maybe talks to her old coach about returning to the team once her knee has healed.

Sam's frame of mind is pretty well set by the end of the story, so now I have to do some backfilling to make it all match. That could be a little tricky: I know where she ends up, so I have to make her start off a lot worse than that, while also keeping to the correct state of emotional ennui I'd created at the beginning. It's also very possibly that I blew it a little at the end, piling on the bad a bit much. I tend to abuse my characters entertainingly, but I'm concerned this time I just forced it. We'll see.

Related to that, I've got to go over the whole thing a few times and smooth out the narration. I've been doing that anyway all along, so most of the story is currently up to snuff. Especially the parts I really like, which I've re-read many times.

I also may split the final chapter, 18, in half. Or not. I haven't decided. It isn't that it's too long; it's that too much stuff happens, and I'm concerned it rambles a little. That may be related to the smoothing that needs to be done, which is very fixable, but it's also related to my tendency -- oft mentioned here -- to blather on if I don't reign myself in. And it's also related to my having perhaps piled on the bad a little think towards the conclusion. Fortunately, the same solution will probably fix both problems.

I also may move some scenes around. I've already done a little of that, taking a brief conversation that takes place between Sam and her parents in Chapter 13, and moving it in a modified form to the end of Chapter 18 where it fits better in the narrative. I will do the same to a talk between Sam and Alex near the end of Chapter 5, but I'll have to wait for the New Chapter 6 to have a place to put it.

And...that's about it. It sounds like a lot -- even to me -- but it isn't really. Other than a chapter and a half of new stuff, it's just fixes and tweaks. That, I'm very good at. Unfortunately, I'm good at it because I do it a lot instead of, you know, actually writing new stuff.

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