Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let's Revise, Shall We?

Editing is a bitch, sometimes. However, I have successfully gotten through Meet Sam with the red pen without setting it on fire. I consider this to be something of a success. Yes, there's a lot of red ink in it, but that just gives me work to do before I even get around to draft number two!

Speaking of draft two, that's when I bring in a lot of revision. One thing I'm considering changing is the type of drug my main character was addicted to in his past. It is, as it stands, cocaine. I figure, that's a bit weird, to only snort coke and do nothing else... so he's being a weed smoker, instead. He's going to have been a regular smoker to, which will result in a few fun moments in the book when he really needs to calm down, craving a cigarette, dying for one!

I also found a plot hole. Well, I knew it was there. But actually locating it was funny. I mentioned something, in dialogue, that the character doesn't find out until a bit later. This is the problem with extensive planning; if you know something is going to happen, one has to be careful not to let it be mentioned before it actually happens!

As well as that, I've located the times in the book that allow for relationships with three of the other characters to be expanded upon. They're kind of important... his only cousin and his parents... there are over a dozen time segments that I have in the book that will allow for this sort of stuff, directly. Then there's the four long time gaps I can work with! They will allow for much development of plot, as well as giving some history with and of the other characters. There's also a fun opportunity for some creative experimentation with the human mind.

For those of you who still don't know, Meet Sam is a book about writing, about Dublin, about relationships and how they can be royally fucked up very easily, about drugs, sex, music, freedom, the human mind and emotions. It's my best idea, ever. I've had some good ideas, I know that. I haven't used them all, and I haven't used them all correctly that have been used, but I know they were good ideas. This is from experience, I might add. I know good ideas when I see them, and these were good ideas. And Meet Sam is my best yet; not the narrator in the head sort of idea, I might add. That's just an added bonus. It's the result of having a narrator in the head of the main character that's the really good idea.

Also, as a funny note: the hero of the book isn't even the main character. Sam is the one everything happens to, while his cousin is the one who actually saves the day on a couple of occassions! This is where this book related to my life (except I can't go back and revise my own life - I can fix it, which I intend to, but I can't go back and actually change anything). In some respects, I relate to Sam quite well, but he's also made up of parts of other people I knew when I wrote the book. No one from college, I might add. I didn't know any of them, then. Okay, so he might be like a few of them, but they didn't directly influence the creation of him. Like Sam, I tend to find myself in a case of being a victim. This is the sad sort of crazy we both suffer from. Lack of decentring, really. But anyway, neither of us are really totally and utterly concerned with ourselves; there's usually someone else, our Abby (though my Abby isn't his Abby... my Abby isn't called Abby, for one thing!). The Abby of life is the one that makes everything worth it. It can be more than one person, of course, and it doesn't always have to be a romantic thing. Abby is salvation, release, freedom. I know several people that fit the Abby description. Heck, I even have a Nick in my life (Nick being the older cousin). This was a weird realisation: Nick is pretty much imagined quite closely to how my friend Liam actually is. And he's been that way since before I knew Liam. Funny, that. 'Course, the Nick figure is the one that helps out all the time and, like the Abby figure, isn't always exactly as I describe. Sure, there are other Nick figures in my life, and they're mostly female. It's to do with the influence the person has on my life that determines whether they're a Nick or an Abby.

But wait, there's more. There's the Alex figure. Alex is a little-mentioned character, whom I may or may not expand upon. Alex is the bad influence on life. Alex can be anyone. Anyone at all. You know peer-pressure? Yeah, your peers are Alex, if they're getting you into some sort of trouble. We all have an Alex in our lives. There's always someone to get us into some state of trouble, whether it's with someone else or with ourselves, someone to destroy us. And like Alex in the book, you can't entirely get rid of them.

And of course, we all have parents. Not biological parents, though that's true of the fortunate of us, but people who act like parents for us. There's always someone to care for us simply because of who you are. You aren't necessarily related, but that makes no difference. Family can mean anything, and you can have any number of people acting as parents for you at some stage or another!

(Funny thought, based on things teachers used to say to me: If this book ever shows up on the Leaving Cert syllabus, students just need to find this post and they've got lots of info on the book right from the author's mouth!)

So, that's it. After a few hours revising, this is what I can come up with. I have a deeper understand of my own characters, and of how I am essentially living my book every single day, in the ways I interact with other people. Hence why I put so much work into this thing. It's the best thing I've written because it can have such a large impact on my own life and on the lives of other people who can come to recognise the truly important people around them. And I really don't mean that to sound pretentious. I really don't. I mean it as a personal experience - I am happier in the knowledge of how people affect me. I know who to avoid and who to talk to, who's best for my mental and emotional security, who cares for me, and who doesn't. Mostly it's college people. That's the best thing that's ever happened to me - getting out of secondary school and into my college. My particular college. Another college wouldn't have done. It wouldn't have been the same. I wouldn't have made the amazing friends I made this year, who I know I'm going to miss seeing, even if I can talk to them online or on the phone or whatever.

Ah! Inspiration. This means I have to go. Thank you for reading all this... it's rubbish straight from my mouth, really.

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