I’ll take “Weeks Of Hard Work” for a thousand, Alex.

Well, revisions went swimingly.  It was two weeks of solid, hard work.  I went through each story (Sleep Over consists of 32 stories told from 32 different people; together, they tell a cohesive narrative) and figured out what I needed to do to make each one better.

Mostly this involved amping up the emotional stakes, making people’s reactions become more insane as they lose their sanity (obvious, right?), and further accentuating character’s awareness of the jeopardy they are in.

That last one was what was missing from a majority of the stories.  Jeopardy.  Without jeopardy, things just happen, and there’s no feeling of tension or peril.

Jeopardy is anticipated pain or loss.  The pain or loss must be apparent, as well as plausible; that whole era of villains tying women to railroad tracks was short lived, because the sensibilities of the time didn’t allow for the possibility of that threat could ever be realized.  Since it was obvious that the train would never be allowed to run over the captive, the peril was implausible and thus ineffective.

The character must believe that the jeopardy is real, that the pain or loss being anticipated could actually come to fruition.

As for the other part of that equation, the pain or loss must be anticipated.  Characters must be aware of the stakes at hand, they must fully realize the pain and loss in their future.  That’s not to say that some of the jeopardy can be unknown to them (nothing like a bad situation getting worse to amp up the jeopardy) but the character must have a base level of awareness of just how screwed they might be.

This was the main thing missing from my narrative.  I injected some of the earlier stories with known timelines of symptoms, and various terrible things which might happen, and then did callbacks to them in subsequent stories.

Basically, I just spent two weeks doing terrible things to my characters and making them fully aware of just how awful things will get.  Even with some large cuts being made, I ended up with 10k more words than before.  That’s 10,000 words of jeopardy.

I am taking a few days off to get some distance from it, and then doing a full read through to make sure I got it right.

I tinkered a lot with tempo, and it’s hard to judge the flow when you’re zoomed way in and working on edits like that.  Taking a few steps back and coming at it fresh should give me a better idea of the time flow as well.

So that’s writing for today.  Going splendidly.

In other news, my new kitten, Lemon, is a brat!  She throws little meowing fits if she doesn’t get her way (which is often- silly kitty, NO you cannot make a nest in those cables, NO you cannot eat that tinfoil, NO you cannot climb up there and knock everything off of our bookshelves) but she is learning.  Constancy is key, and we’re getting there, slowly.

Our other cat, Echo, is finally into having a friend.  She groomed Lemon the other day for the first time and I just about died of how cute it was.

Here is a neat video I found of an interesting filming technique:

So that’s all for now folks!  Thanks for stopping by.  Good times ahead for the S.S. HGBleackley ReaderSHIP!

Cheers.

Heidi out.

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About H.G. Bells

H.G. Bells writes around the intersections of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. She has several short stories in print, and is repped by Beth Campbell for her novel Sleep Over, coming soon from Skyhorse Publishing.
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