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  • nancywaldman

Recipe for Revision

For the last week or so, I’ve been working on the novel I wrote in November during NaNoWriMo. Today I admitted to myself, that while effort has been expended [passive voice has been used], I’m flailing. I’ve been changing this, changing that, working obsessively on that all-important opening scene, but with very little strategy in mind.

My novel’s in pretty good shape considering it was written in a month. I started at the beginning and moved through it in an orderly way. I used Scrivener, and as a result, the scenes are organized into chapters, the chapters into parts and the parts into a whole. I also have tags and keywords that will allow me to find things more easily than I’ve been able to do in revising other novels. I still enjoy the initial concept of the novel as well as the surprising ways it twisted and turned as I wrote it. I’m enthusiastic about seeing where this revision goes.

Of course, if all of that is the good news, there is bad news to follow. What I’ve discovered in the beginning revisions is that the protagonist doesn’t have a strong enough personality to carry the story. It’s essential that she’s be vivid and interesting and different and memorable. So far, that’s not working as well as it needs to. The other major change is that the novel needs to be in first person rather than in the third person point of view I wrote the first draft. This means that every scene must be completely rewritten rather than edited, but I’m up for that. Some scenes written from other characters’ point of view will have to be cut and the information shown some other way, but at least it’s just a few instead of huge chunks of the novel.

Bad news, but not fatal.

So here’s my initial strategy:

  1. Set aside the first scene for now, assuming that the necessary starting point will become more obvious as I work and refamiliarize myself with the whole story.

  2. Do a story board of the novel as it is now—make it quick and simple so as not to get bogged down in what might be less stressful and more fun than the actual writing

  3. Work on a more complete character profile of the MC knowing what I know now—the one I did before writing it is out of date. I need to remind myself of what’s in the story now and incorporate all that into the character from the beginning

  4. Make a map of the world so I can better visualize the characters, action and time frame

  5. Write until it’s done.

Keep you posted…

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