Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to the beginning

I've now finished my first revision. I'm aware there're still numerous problems in the text, but at this point I've rewritten my entire climax, identified arcs for all of my characters, and I'm ahead of schedule: the revision isn't due to my tutor until Friday.

Unfortunately, my tutor strongly encouraged me to rewrite chapters 1-2 before submitting the revision. So now it's back to the beginning.

I've written and rewritten these opening chapters at least three times, but they still don't work. They set the wrong tone and setting. The inciting incident doesn't coincide with the rest of the novel. This time should be easier. I know all of my characters well, I know the plot, I know how the book ends.

Yet I started writing this morning by journaling about characters and listing possible scenarios. It does feel as if I'm starting over again. Worse, the beginning is the most important part. It has to be right, and I have to have a draft of it ready by Friday. And I'm historically bad at beginnings.

It'll get done. Then, if I have time, I'll re-read the whole manuscript and try to make a few other changes. Whatever I don't finish by Friday, I'll spend the next few weeks working on. Until my tutor gets back to me with her comments and then I'll officially start revision number 2. The fun never stops--which is good because I need to have an entire polished novel done by October!


  1. Yay for being so close to finishing your revision! Beginnings are tricky beasts, aren't they? Have you read Hooked by Les Edgerton? There's a helpful excerpt from it on the Writer's Digest site:

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Anna! Funny you should mention Hooked--I have indeed read it and it's a fabulous book! I was actually thinking about doing a post on all the rules and suggestions around beginnings vs. trusting my instinct and my story and just seeing where it takes me. I find I have to do the latter first before I can move to the former. But I couldn't really find the words to convey what I wanted to. Perhaps because I haven't figured out how best to write the beginning yet! =)

  3. You'll figure it out, you really will! {says the person who has delayed for a whole ten days starting a revision...}

  4. Thanks, Anne! I think I will, too. It's just so exhausting and depressing in the midst of it, isn't it?

    Maybe you needed a break from the ms?

  5. Congrats on finishing your first revision! Hopefully your characters will call out to you this week and help you with the beginning. I find I do have to step away for a few days sometimes and just let the story and characters meander around in my head.

  6. I find journaling helps me when I'm stuck. I hope this get you back into things, and helps shine a light on the first two chapters. Cheers.

  7. Thanks, Jessica and Andrea. The journaling and letting the characters meander around in my head a bit (that's a great way of putting it, btw), has been helpful. I feel like I'm getting there. Sometimes I get so impatient to get to the next step, but it really can't be rushed, can it?


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