Friday, May 29, 2009

Terra cognita

It has been a week of PONDERING. Pondering the nature of the revisions for the sequel to The Explosionist! Revising the draft is my main job for the next couple months, though I do have a couple talks and articles that I also need to write, and I really want it to come out good. Unfortunately I am quite sure that this means taking the whole thing to pieces and putting it back together again - I have just unearthed scissors and tape, in fact, as I am a literalist at heart...

The main thing I have to show for the last couple days, sad to say, is a two-page chart in tiny handwriting of all of the plot developments in the first novel, with loose ends and mystery back-story marked in various colors:

(I used the camera for that one, as it gives a better sense of the 11"x15" watercolor pad I purchased the other day for precisely this purpose; the scanner images below are probably more legible.)

I had a couple stages of chart-making when I was writing the first book - this was a preliminary map of the whole plot:

And this was a reconfigured version once I had a clearer sense of what needed to happen in the second half of the book, which was largely a blank when I began (barring Sophie's discovery of zombiefied girls at IRYLNS and the dynamite factory showdown):

I am contemplating introducing epistolary interruptions into the sequel, but it remains to be seen whether I can find the right voice for the letters I envisage - I suddenly wonder whether I could turn the whole thing into a kind of pastiche of letters and documents? But no, perhaps that is not really the right idea...


  1. The legend in the lower left of the first chart is a nice touch.

  2. It's so interesting to get a peek at the process like this. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel! No pressure though, of course...

  3. What Kate S. said, but also I am very keen (if it's possible narratively speaking) to find out more about just why Sophie's aunty could possibly have thought the IRYLNS was a good idea in the first place. And seeing Sophie's reaction to said explanation of course.

    I'll go back off to fan-girl lurking now. Thanks.

  4. On Danish names - Did Mikkel become Mikael because it's closer to the English version of the name? I wondered while reading because having spent a lot of time in DK I got the impression Mikkel was the far more common version. A Danish friend of mine named Saskia (after Rembrandt's first wife) told me it took her parents 6 months to get state approval (apparently required) for the name. I wonder if that strangely totalitarian policy is still in effect there? Anyway, thanks for sharing your process, Jenny, it's really inspiring.