Saturday, March 31, 2012

NaNoEdMo 2012 Final: I Win! And Spanner Will Never Be The Same

I've done it again! I'm a NaNoEdMo winner yet again! But this time there's a difference. Several, actually.

First: I had a tool, yWriter5, which gave me much more flexibility in editing because it allows you to easily rearrange scenes and chapters just by dragging and dropping them. Last year I won with Spanner's second draft, yet later I would discover I'd been constrained by the limits of the traditional word processor (Microsoft Word in this case). The fourth draft has turned out radically different: there's more material, sure, but it's far more coherent, I've thrown scenes all over the place, and it's reading much more like the TV/comics novelization it's supposed to be than a fanfic to a nonexistent series.

Second: Even though I didn't finish all eight early chapters, I still made a lot of progress. The Intro, Chapters 1 through 3, and now all eleven Interludes of Book 1 are complete. Even in the incomplete chapters, I developed some pivotal scenes much more: Shira's birthday party in Chapter 7, now with a climactic confrontation pitting Shira in a feathered Carnival mask and nothing else against Drusilla showing on widescreen TV what would happen if the Wicked Witch of the West got her hands on the Great and Powerful Oz's projector; the Chapter 4 opening sequence that begins with an emergency broadcast interrupted by Spanner's first piratecast and ends with the local theocrat dying of "loli poisoning" courtesy of Rebel Styles; the April Fool's Day flashback featuring the first appearance of Spanner (Shira graffiti tagging in a costumed-vigilante costume) which became the new Interlude 6; the chapter trade making "The Bad Endings" Interlude 5 and "Four Visions of the Future" Interlude 11; and of course the massively rearranged order of scenes in Chapters 5 through 8.

Third: I felt my prose style evolve as I wrote the fourth draft. It's become more condensed, less grammatical, more style-conscious, and more metaphorical; I now feel myself bending the English language itself the way a rock guitarist bends notes. Somehow, while I was reading poetry and literary fiction, their styles rubbed off on my muse and I ran away with it and transformed it into something else, a new style all my own. My dialogue style hasn't changed, though; it was already excellent.

Fourth: In the third draft (and the first draft of Book 1, plus several scenarios I recorded in my Project Notebooks over the years), there are scenes which depict Shira as vindictive to almost villainous levels. For the fourth draft, I'm correcting that. After all, she's a Charmer; she doesn't need to beat people up, even if her fellow Slasher Hunters beg her to, except when she specifically intends to fight. She has none of her author's vindictiveness, which is really the moralism of the bullied misfit. That would be Leila. Incidentally, Shira's been more persistent in getting out of her clothes more in the fourth draft than in previous drafts...

To conclude: This has been my most productive EdMo ever, and I've learned more about both editing and writing than I've ever learned before in such a short time. My style is rapidly evolving, even transforming into something resembling rock 'n' roll. Spanner is going through massive transformations, and it will transform even more as I continue to edit this final draft. At last I'm starting to become not a merely competent wordsmith, but a genuine artist of words.

Next up: Script Frenzy! Where the camera is king...

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