Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. Now it’s time to revise and rework. I’ll share my tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale.
Week 12 Recap
Goal: Begin Rewrites
Welcome back! Hope you had a wonderful holiday and New Year. It’s been two weeks and though I had great visions of accomplishing lots of work, truth is I didn’t do a whole lot. So–it’s time to dive back in. Before I do, I want to take a quick minute to talk about something hugely important.
As you might have guessed, I’m a big believer in goals. I set one for myself each week on this blog and it helps give me a focus (and also a reason to reward myself.) But the true goal of all of this is to reach that point in your story where you can type The End. If that’s been a struggle for you in the past, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is for many writers.
The most DIFFICULT thing in writing is also the most IMPORTANT thing: To finish your book.
So, I want to start 2013 by challenging you to finish your book—this year. Because you can. Because it’s possible. Because it’s such a sense of accomplishment and you’ll feel wonderful when it happens. Because it will give you the confidence to know that you can do it. Because it’s absolutely necessary if you ever want to sell your book.
OK…so, back to our revisions. How is it going? Have you made progress? I’m through the first 10 chapters of my book, still very rough. Some days I hit scenes and feel like I’ve got something. Other days…not so much. But I make myself do the best with the troublesome scenes and then I move on. A couple things to keep top of mind during this process. Some of this I’ve said before, but it’s worth repeating.
For each scene ask yourself these questions:
1. What does my character want? Say it out loud. Is it compelling? Is there someone/something in the way? (If not, then how can you fix that?)
2. What does the antagonist want? (Repeat above. FYI: Villains are not bad people; they are people who have needs and wants just like anyone else. They just happen to be in contrast to your protagonist. Give them motivations and a reason for acting as they do.)
3. Can the problem be resolved with a conversation? (If yes, it’s not enough of a conflict.)
4. Did this scene move my story forward? A friend of mine just told me about a writing exercise you can try. Write down the first and last sentence of every chapter. Do you see movement or change? This would probably also be a great way to know if you’re ending chapters with cliffhangers. OK, I’m going to try it. Here’s my first 3 chapters:
FIRST: Mitch hit the bell on the counter and waited as the noise pinged through the rental car office.
LAST: Just across the side street stood the Department of Motor Vehicles and an acre of cars sitting there. Jackpot.
FIRST: The car door opened and the examiner slid in to the passenger seat.
LAST: It was a police car and the siren blared as the lights flashed blue and red.
FIRST: Mitch swung in the seat, careful to keep his head low and his face hidden by the clipboard.
LAST: A moment later, his face exploded in pain.
Hmmm…does that seem helpful? Honestly, I’m not sure. Let me know what you think.
So, that’s all for this week. Next week, I’m going to continue on with my scene revisions. Oh–and here’s a reminder for me to tell you what happened when I shared the first few chapters with my agent yesterday. (Gulp.)
Have a great one!