Taking my time

No photo tonight, just some before-bed thoughts about writing and rewriting.

I finished the first draft of my current Work in Progress – The Quick Pivot – in August. I let it sit a while, like bread to rise, then gave it a full read to make sure the plot hung together. When I’ve got my fingers in it every day, it’s easy to lose track of details.

Sure enough, I found one medium-sized hole in the story. I mended it, then put the manuscript into the hands of a few trusted readers who pull no punches. A few weeks later I was sorting through much useful feedback. I incorporated the easy stuff first and worked my way up to the delicate revisions that require the most time. By November I thought I was done, but more feedback sent me back to the keyboard, refining, polishing, trimming some more.

About a month ago I synthesized the comments of everyone who has read the whole thing and realized I’d been sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting LA-LA-LA so I couldn’t hear one particular piece of criticism that most every reader had offered. One supporting character – important because she allows the reader a particular perspective on the protagonist – was all wrong.

My protagonist wouldn’t have someone like her in his life. She was boring and self-indulgent, which adds up to annoying. I don’t know why I resisted for so long hearing my beta readers’ objections, but I’m glad I finally stopped LA-LA-LAing long enough for their wisdom to sink in.

My current task is to give this character a total personality transplant, to make her honest and real, flawed and interesting, all of which will add depth to my protagonist as well. It’s slow going, but I’m plugging away, muttering to myself about the tortoise and the hare.

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