Monday, August 3, 2015

First Chapter Revisions and My Writing Journey

I'm pleased--more like ecstatic--to have a big project out of the way and submitted to my publisher. After three years of collecting for my "Missionary Stories" compilation, I can forget about it for the next three months or so while it goes through the review process. Phew!

So what's next? (There's always something, isn't there?) It's revision time for my Book of Mormon fiction sequel. (Another milestone in my journey!) It took one year to write the draft and make some revisions suggested by my critique group. Now I'm going through it again on my own. There's a few things I've learned from various classes or blogs, that I want to make sure I have included.

So far, I've only focused on that all-important first chapter. I like my first line as both a hook and a nod to a traumatic past experience. I believe I've given a good opening image of Karlinah's world. Some books start with a bang, but I agree with those who let us see the normal world and the main character's life briefly before we see them in a life or death situation, so that readers care what is happening to them. At least for my genre. I want the reader to connect with my MC. I also like where I started--hopefully close enough to the inciting event, where Karlinah makes decisions and goes in a new direction. Later, I'll need some beta reader feedback on this and so much more.

I was reminded that along with showing this Book of Mormon world and the character who lives in it, I need to show something that is flawed. This sets up the story to show what needs to be fixed in this world or with the character, something the reader can expect to see remedied at the end. Still thinking about that. I did go ahead and insert some hints at a theme, or the MC's inner conflict.

This time through, I will set up a spread sheet for me to identify things in each scene or sequel. (For more on the difference to these and the following terms, see this link to the snowflake guy.) My data will include the point of view (POV) character, the scene's goal, the character's goal, the conflict, the disaster, the setting, the motivation and reaction. For sequels, I need to list the POV character's reaction, her dilemma, and decision. If I can't ID these within a scene or sequel, I could add them, shift where the chapter ends so that it's in the right place, or scrap the scene. This data will help me see if I have all the needed elements and variation in things like having the setting in the same place for too many scenes in a row.

Revisions are eye-opening. Some parts are bound to become frustrating, but mostly I love how it makes a story better. Here we go!


No comments: