Thursday, February 28, 2013

And not to be outdone...

Mother Nature sent us a February gift. Very heavy, wet snow - but oh, so pretty!

This picture was taken at 7 am. I got to sleep in late today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Beach In Winter

We recently went to the cottage for the weekend. Unlike most Canadians, we go south to our cottage, which is on the northern shore of Lake Erie. It may be generally warmer there, but it is on a lake, so there can be more snow at any given time.

Like the weekend we were there, when there was a snowfall that was heavier than predicted. It dumped three inches overnight.

Here are some pictures of the beach taken the next morning, when the sun was once again shining.

Hello, Cleveland! This is looking south over the lake, aka The Frozen Waste.

If a person sees her shadow on a snow-covered beach, does that mean spring will arrive sooner? Or later?

An example of natural camouflage. Of a lake.

Monday, February 04, 2013

The third time's the charm...

I went to school with a girl who used to write one draft of her essays. I was gobsmacked. I would never hand in the first draft of my work. I still would never, ever show anybody the first draft of my work, because, frankly, they're a mess.

In fact, I call my first drafts the "kitchen sink draft," because I throw in everything but the kitchen sink. I have a general plot in mind, but I toss in other characters and events if I think they're interesting. I don't do much revising; I just carry on to the end which, believe you me, is hard enough. With the first draft, there are so many decisions to make - if this happens, then this could result, or this, or possibly that. Which one works best? Whose point of view should I use for this scene? Is that idea going to work, or is the new one better? It's like I've got a really old map with lots of detours that I'm trying to read while in a very jittery car.

Then comes the second draft, aka The Winnowing. This is where I decide what's working and what's not. There's a whole lotta cuttin' going on - events and characters. Yes, I sometimes decide to get rid of a character completely, or combine two into one. This draft inevitably winds up being short. But I don't worry, because next comes the third draft.

I'm working on a third draft now, and it's occurred to me that this is where I start to enjoy the book as a whole. The most difficult decisions have been made in terms of story and character, so I can relax a bit. This is also where I start to put in a lot more of the "color" - descriptions of clothes, food, furnishings, etc. I ramp up the sexual tension whenever possible. Sometimes I discover I've made a major plot error in terms of timing, or I've made a character act out of character and that has to fixed, but overall, the process is a bit easier. Yet I'm still not done.

Hopefully, though, when I get to the fourth draft of a book, it's just a matter of smoothing out the prose, looking for repetitions and typos, adding a bit more color, or correcting the occasional continuity blip. Generally, this is the final draft before I send the book off to my agent. Not always, though. I've done up to seven complete drafts, and many more of individual scenes. I want to, as Ernest Hemingway put it, "get the words right" and I keep editing and revising until I think they are, no matter many drafts it takes.