Wednesday, May 1, 2013

#amediting Spanner R5: The Nonlinear Edit, or Back and Forth and Back and Forth

During the first week of the final ebook edit for Spanner book 1, I find myself settling into a pattern: going back and forth across the book, following story threads and character arcs, making little tweaks and major transformations here and there.

Remember the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg over the valley of ashes in The Great Gatsby? I had that image in mind when I decided to put a huge Big Brother-like image of the fat angry face of SPEC chairman Peter Ross over the principals in their office. And I'm putting that image in every single scene set in the principal's office. Likewise, I made major changes to Ross' own early appearances in Chapters 5 and 6: I made his first appearances in effect epiphanies of a god, a Revision 5 theme I'm working on involving all the High Corporates and not just the Beckets, then revised the confrontation in 6.2 so that Shira, Leila, and Jennifer sent him reeling. He ends the scene "shocked at the inscrutable female mind" when his problem is that he, like most High Corporates, can't even conceive of a Populist hero's mentality grounded in reality. His final scene in 21.6 seemed to be perfect in Revision 4, but now I'm going to revise all his Chapter 21 appearances in light of the Chapter 4-5 revisions and add Elle to his 21.6 scene, with her replacement of the injured Karen in that scene (she's in the first confrontation in 6.2) being a major plot point.

Most of the major edits so far have of course been to Chapter 1. As I mentioned last post, I removed Karen and reduced Jim Sparks to a minor villain who gets a lucky break, then replaced them with Elle and a new "shounen hero" character specific to the chapter. I've also been slipping in references to later threads and themes to establish them at the beginning and prepare the readers for the later events. There's still a prop and a character I've neglected in later chapters, the Gospel of the New Genesis (which by Chapter 23 becomes the center of the Dick Becket-Ariel Shield feud) and the seventh Scarab. I could always find somewhere to fit them in.

I also added a new CSS format. Basically it's for lines of dialogue spoken by High Corporate oligarchs on large video screens that reinforces the impression that they are (as their spin implies) living gods. The ones I've applied it to are Steve Jobs (or rather, his ka) in 1.7, Henry Becket in 2.1 (with Rebel Styles' lines getting formatted in another new format), and Peter Ross in 5.6 and 6.1. In 5.4 (IIRC) I've reformatted the stadium announcers' bombastic announcing in the script-type format (based on play scripts adapted to comics, not movie scripts).

In 10.1 I'm changing the identity of the first nameless woman, from the tall brown-haired one to the short slender Asian one, because the latter is Ayla's mother; the reunion is in 13.4 in Revision 4, and I'm moving that to 10.1. I plan to set up her appearance with a few cameo appearances in Chapters 7-9, after Ayla arrives at Shira's apartment. I'll introduce her roommates in minor roles in 10.5-6 (the song war and its aftermath), and after that build up this thread around Leila until she finally goes nameless in 13.2.

Not used from the Revision 3 plan: the love scene on the beach in 14.6. Now I have a study in contrasts and the perfect character for it. I'm looking for a place to put the Shira vs. Charmian tennis match. Not used from the Revision 4 plan: the scene in 23.4 where Radica gets shot down and only Liz can rescue her, and the one planned for 23.6 in which Willa applies violin torture (sound-cannon amplified this time) to the one who deserves it most, her ex-husband the Party Chairman, still in his superhero uniform.

I haven't started this yet, but another plan I have is to relentlessly brand everything to an annoying degree in order to represent the total marketization of society, with Corporatism playing exactly the same role in the American Empire that Islamism does in its symbiotic enemy the Caliphate (which itself is "Jihad vs. McWorld" gone berserk). And I've reverted the name of the giant corporation that own China to Chinese Communist Party (Holdings) Limited.

The muse is happy to get back to work now that I no longer have to work on a schedule. Back and forth is just fine with her. And so the nonlinear edit continues.

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