Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tips from the Tops: seeing your first draft a different way

Hi y'all! I'm motoring through the second draft of Bright Angel and many things are happening. I'm cutting out  the back-story to its barest bits, I'm holding back crucial bits until the last possible moment, I'm seeing if my characters hold separately all the way through. In other words I'm really dealing with structure and rhythm. I think I need to stop doing it all on the computer so I was perusing a notion that Susan Bell writes about in The Artful Edit. What she does is take a draft, print it and then hang it up on a line in her work-space  Bell states the benefits thusly - "There is the increased alertness you feel when you read on your feet, as well as the disorientation - - we're not used to reading upright, and the novelty of it helps make our material feel new.  Also, to read pages horizontally is quite different from reading them in a stack, where you see only one page at a time. You can see proportions better when you read across, page to page to page, glancing back and forth, and stepping back to take in a view of the whole typographic design of a chapter."
now where did I pack my head?

Tip: Use a line to hang your work so you can check out the typography of it.
Top: Susan Bell in The Artful Edit

How it Works in My Life: No idea and kind of scary when I'm in a spot where I don't have a designated work-space (I'm in a corner of the living room right now) but I think I'm going to try some version of it. I could tape them to a wall at work or lay them on the floor. Some people make the font very small so they can still see the balance of their work - the topography - but not the words. Don't know if I'll do that.
What do you all think or do in order to get a grip on the flow of the whole thing. Also thinking of going back to doing a beat-sheet which I found very helpful with one of my wips. I got that tip from Roz Morris's book Nail Your Novel. which I think I have a copy of still on my computer but I'm not sure you know (a few moves will make you less than sure about anything).
But do let me know how you handle the big picture view.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

That's an interesting idea! I like the thought of reading on my feet.

I'll sometimes print a few pages out to look at them at a time (especially if it's an area of the book my editor asks me to rewrite.)

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Oh, that is really an interesting think to think about. Getting an entirely new perspective on what one's written can really help make a story richer too. I know I sometimes will take what I'm writing to a different physical place and look it over and that can help a lot. Delicious 'food for thought.'