I’ve been busy revising my book and although I know I have made progress, there still seems such a long way to go!
So far, I have “created my target” – which apparently means deciding what I want my story to be, identifying where it actually fits that idea and where it doesn’t. This exercise took me a month – but I can see where my story spirals out of control and I’ve also found those snippets that TRULY work, and of which I am most proud!
Then, the next job was to identify the promises I mad to the reader. These vary from;
- the promises all writers make, that is to primarily create an interesting story, remembering to credit the reader with some intelligence and not waste their valuable time with utter drivel.
- the promises that I intended to follow through – so that if my plot promises that the MC will become a doctor, then she/he has to become a doctor.
- finally, these are the unplanned promises that seemed to appear from nowhere – you know the ones where your story takes an unexpected turn and your MC ends up in a police cell for no apparent reason! These promises have to either be kept or scrapped! There is no place for unfulfilled promises and readers will spot them with ease and hate you for leaving them in.
After re-reading my manuscript and identifying all of these plot promises, then next task was to sum up each scene in one sentence – being sure to identify the protagonist, the conflict, the antagonist, the twist and the setting. This was really enjoyable – it gave me hope that my scenes had purposes, that I hadn’t introduced any unnecessary or misleading episodes or omitted to keep the plot moving.
My story lives on and can be fixed!
Now this week I am looking at each scene again, and marking whether the scene is part of the main plot or a sub plot. These have to link together, so this is quite like doing an equation (which as an eternal spreadsheet geek I also enjoy!!) The main challenge is to hunt out any scenes that don’t fit into either category, so this will sort the wheat from the chaff.
So, whilst I am on exercise 4 of the revision course, there are so many yet to come – in all 22 delightful, difficult, enjoyable, stressful and absolutely necessary steps to reach my target and finally have the novel that I wanted to write.
This is a new skill, which will be more effective with each novel I write – yes, I am sticking with this writing mullarkey – but just one step at a time!