Thursday, August 1, 2013

Open Book Surgery

I'm smack dab in the middle of some massive revisions on my WIP (which I thought was about done until some recent critiques). I need to pick up the pacing in the beginning, revamp the plot, and develop my main character more. (Is that all? Yep.) So I'm shifting things around, bringing events that happen later into the forefront, cutting unnecessary scenes, figuring out and honing in on my character's motivations and desires. Basically, I'm doing open book surgery.

But wait. First, rather than jumping in and cutting and pasting away, I'm vegging, giving it time and thought, doing some character sketches for each character, and reworking my outline. For example, I've decided to have my main character start with one main goal at the beginning of the story (to sell the cabin she inherited from her father who she never knew and use the money for music school) and have that shift as she sorts through her father's belongings and learns more about him. Then she becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of his strange disappearance.

I'm moving some of those clues to his disappearance up front and adding some more in to beef up the tension in the early stages. My character needs to be more proactive in looking for clues earlier on, too, instead of merely stumbling across them time and time again. Really? Can't everything just happen by chance? No! There has to be a reason for everything she does and at least two purposes for each scene, ie: develop character and find another clue. Each chapter needs to build on the last and reveal new information.

I've got my work cut out for me. It's a process and that will take time, effort, and self restraint to plan and prepare, clear my head, clean my writing instruments before I begin to revise. I even ordered a new workbook on plotting called Ready Set, Novel, and am asking those writers I know who are good at plotting and character development for ideas on how they do it. Once I'm done I hope to have a new and much improved version of my story that's ready to send out to agents!

*Good news: my voice and descriptions of my character's emotions are good, two things I've struggled with in the past. (Hurray!) I can do this. Time to put on my gloves and scrubs and get to work. Ready, set, go!


  1. I really needed to read this, Alice! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on revising. I think I need to clear my head a little too. And you're right, your voice and description of character's emotions are so great, so way to go!

  2. You're welcome Heather. Good luck with your revisions. I'm anxious to see what you do with your third book.