Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[process] Editing for continuity

Yesterday, I spent an hour doing a first-pass edit of the Green novelette, "A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura". This wasn't really a prose edit, or a plot edit, or a redraft. It was a continuity edit. Which I don't usually need to do a heavy job of on short fiction.

This is what happens when one writes a story about a character and setting documented through three published novels and a handful of shorter pieces. Especially when writing with tendrils of chemo fog still writhing on one's brain.

So, for example, I knew I wanted Mother Adhiti in the story. She's a very minor character in the books, but has a distinctive personality and physicality that fit what I wanted to do in several scenes. As I was drafting, I knew what she looked like, how she would act and speak, but for the life of me, I could not remember her name. So she was Mother [Name] in about a dozen places, until I could bat clean-up with the manuscripts from all three novels open and searchable on my laptop.

Likewise the spelling of various place names, the orientation of landmarks, and so forth. None of which had any particularly deep effect on the story I wanted to tell. But that color, that detail, is what makes this a Green story, and not a story in some other similar, self-plagiarized setting. I'm not above filing the serial numbers off a failed experiment and retrying, but Green is hardly a failed experiment. So I had to get a bunch of things right.

I marked them in text with [brackets] as is my wont, and yesterday, I went on a search-and-destroy mission for [bracketed text]. The problem, of course, will be the mistakes I made without realizing it. The things I assumed I got right when I did not.

And, well, actually making the story work as narrative. But that's work for today, tomorrow, next week, as the mental weather allows.

Tags: green, process, stories, writing

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