One of the things some of my friends mistake about the WDB stage of writing is that I cut-n-paste a chapter/scene, add a few words, and call the process done. And admittedly, there are scenes where that has happened. Most of the time, however, I spend a day or two with each scene looking for ways to improve the scene, thus the whole story.
There are few pitfalls for me, that slow me down, although I don’t know if slow down are the right words. When I started writing Puddles and Whiskers I took new characters and dropped them into an old environment. I didn’t really expect them to catch the way the did, for me, for our kids, and for readers. Catch on they did.
Which is how two things happened, the story continues to expand and I am taking the time and making the effort to craft their story instead of writing their story. I learned the difference between writing and crafting while working on roleplaying settings. With roleplaying settings, at least the way I create them, I write pages of notes, stories, and doodles. Then I go back through them picking out spots that immediately call for my attention and add notes.
Nothing organized at first, notes and expansion, eventually a coherent setting is formed. Along the way, pieces have to move and when something moves more notes and such happen. How does that relate to Puddles and Whiskers, WDB? Everything up to WDB is notes. Unlike a setting where a note is a simple as “floating glitz-glamorous city block,” a note for Puddles and Whiskers is an entire 500+ word story that is connected to the next story and so on.
The spots that call for attention in a Puddles and Whiskers scene vary and that is where things are interesting for me. My natural inclination is to pick the setting stuff and bring that to the fore, such as the descriptions of buildings, vehicles, uniforms, and giving unnamed things names. Which is why, when I edited the first round of scenes I tried to focus on obvious errors and dialog. This time around I am attempting a combination of errors, dialog, and setting descriptions.
Fixing errors is obvious. With the dialog I am attempting to fix “voice in the head issues,” where the words read right, but do not sound right. I am attempting to get the voices of the characters be them, such as Whiskers is a semi-formal patter with no contractions. While Puddles is more informal with a hint of anger/irritation and Chuck is laid back. The setting/background information is to make their world easier for readers to visualize.
The result for me is a longer, more deliberate process, that slows down the regular flow of posts, but I feel you will find them better overall, making for what I hope is a better experience for readers.