Researching visual narrative AKA watching ALL the TV, and how line edits let me hope and hope leaves me breathless.

Inching back toward the world of the living after being sick for WAY too long. Symptoms obviously included congestion, cough, and an inability to blog.

While sick, I decided to research narrative structure and character, and by that I mean I watched A LOT OF TELEVISION.

How much? Well, I finished Darker Than Black, devoured all of Downton Abbey, several episodes of Merlin, two whole seasons of Being Human (the UK version), half a season of BSG, the first few episodes of Archer, and one American Idol audition.


I would have devoured lots of BOOKS except the whole being sick thing turned me into a zombie incapable of processing written words, and I’m in the middle of juggling Paradise Lost, the Bible, and Good Omens, so it’s probably best that I did NOT read.

My new sekrit play thing DOES involve a demon, but he looks more like this:

But I digress. The point is I AM returning to the world of the living, and while my brain’s not quite working well enough to blog about important or poignant things, or make elegant analogies (I tried to make one between life panic and bunnies, but it didn’t go well), I’m working on it.

I’ve started line edits for THE ARCHIVED!

Line edits are, by far, my favorite part of the entire editing process. A short explanation: Every editor/author is different, but in my case, I generally get three rounds of edits. The first two are, for lack of a better word, HELL. They are BIG rounds, the first usually focusing on world-building (by the end of it, I wish I wrote realism) and plot structure, and the second focusing on more world-building and character development. The third round, assuming I’m still alive after the first two, is line edits. This is where my editor and I go line by line through the entire manuscript and tighten all the threads, smooth the logic and polish the language.

You see, this is the first round where I let myself HOPE. The worst is behind me, the sleepless months of wracking my brain and shredding my story and then sitting amid its ruined corpse thinking it will never, ever, ever be right. The is the round where I realize that my story is, little by little, becoming BOOK-SHAPED.

You guys, I spend the entirety of this round holding my breath because hope is scary and wonderful, but mostly scary.

THE ARCHIVED was my pet project. It was this little beast that lived in my head and fed off my dreams. It had a previous incarnation, and that version was with me for two full years before I pulled it apart, and started again, and this time it was THE ARCHIVED. That was almost exactly a year ago. It’s come so far, and even though it still has a little ways to go, even though we’re still snipping and cinching, it’s getting there, and there’s all this hope, and it leaves me breathless.

This is about the time where I force myself to love something new, to spread all that want and hope so it doesn’t kill me. And I’ve got one project absorbing a good deal of those feelings, VAGABOND PUPPIES (not real title), but also two new play things, and I keep trying to siphon off love into them because this is scary.

Writing books is scary, and caring so much about them is terrifying.

8 thoughts on “Researching visual narrative AKA watching ALL the TV, and how line edits let me hope and hope leaves me breathless.

  1. ek_johnston says:

    I love line edits SO MUCH (which is handy, as I am still in the “do them for fun” stage). I typically print the whole thing, and then go to town with a red pen. Typing them up is less fun, but the actual process is therapeutic. I’m always relieved when I find things are actually still hanging together.

    Best of luck!

    • veschwab says:

      I think it’s because of the control. Of all the kinds of edits, line edits make me feel like I’m in control of my book again. That, and by the time I’ve reached line edits, I have enough distance that I can’t really believe *I* wrote it and that allows me to get excited about it again. Such contradictions, we writers face :p

  2. jpmsull says:

    Secret Play Things…you tease! I’m glad you got through the first two rounds of THE ARCHIVED in one piece. šŸ˜‰


    But for real, everyone has those “zombie tv moments.” I had one in all of Nov/Dec, if you’ll recall. I watched ALL THE TV. It’s a good thing, even though it’s not. Decompress and all that.

    and you are fantastic. I have no doubt that hoping will reap good things.

    • veschwab says:

      Heee, he is the current plaything, yes :))

      And yeah, sometimes the brain just needs to CHECK OUT. I justify it by thinking of all narrative as research, though šŸ˜‰


  4. Marie Landry says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, Victoria! I always love reading your blogs. I have a love/hate relationship with editing…part of me loves it because that’s when I really tend to fall in love with the story and see its potential, and I get to really tighten things up and hone my craft…but then the other part of me hates it because it’s so time-consuming and tiring, and it feels like it’ll never end. Plus I hate having to cut stuff that you love but that you know just doesn’t work. Good luck, and have fun! šŸ™‚

    • veschwab says:

      Thanks, Marie! Finally back on my feet šŸ™‚ And yeah, edits tend to inspire many contradictory emotions :p

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