Where does the time go? I am not sure. But it sure is passing quickly. Every day presents an opportunity to write. Do I seize the opportunity? Yes I do. In fact, I am very happy to share with you that the first act of the new draft is printed and waiting for me to review it before I shape up the outline of the the second act.
In this update:
For this draft I made some decisions that change the way the story is presented to the reader. The most important one is that I move from sticking to one point of view, I now tell the story through three viewpoint characters.
I have two reasons for this. First is that this gives me a way to build suspense in a different way for the reader. As you follow the protagonist now, there is a sense of anticipation because as the reader you know things the protagonist does not. Second is that this enriches world building, as each character experiences the world and the unfolding events with different interpretations.
It was hard to write up the viewpoint characters and develop a distinct tone for each of them, but I think that in this draft I manage to do just that.
Requires constant work. Thanks to both the early readers’ comments as well as a developmental editor’s notes, I realized just how much room for improvement there is in my writing. The difference between outlining a story and writing something people want to read is galactic.
After some serious effort on my part, I opted to get some help from a writing coach. Not on story, rather on specific points of clarity and chapter structure. It was incredibly refreshing to have a person read with the intention of improving my writing and to get feedback on the errors I consistently make that lead to unclarity and poor writing.
Through this session I learnt that to write for publication is to learn continuously, given to potential for improvement in every sentence, paragraph, scene and chapter. It is daunting, but doable.
The single largest challenge is to finish. This morning I had to force myself to write up the end of a scene. The last scene I needed to finish to wrap up this draft of the first act. Which of course I had been putting off. It feels good having written it. Now there is a neat stack of paper that lies on the footstool by my reading chair, and I will get to it in a couple of days to read this act with fresh eyes.
Why? Because one of the key points from my developmental editor was that there were too many loose ends in the previous draft. I need to understand which plots I have actually started and figure out how to wrap them up.
You might ask: Wait, do you not have an outline, Toby? To which my answer is: yes I do. Upon reviewing the last draft I did find that little hints and mentions of plot points I am aware of tend to creep into my writing, whereas others that actually should be mentioned are omitted at times. So I think that a thorough review of the first act will help create this clarity for me.
What are the next deadlines:
- Review act one: August 12
- Outline act two: August 17
- Finalize act two: August 31
- Outline act three: September 7
- Finalize act three: September 30
- Review full manuscript for structure and clarity: October
- Send to editor for a new review: October 30
That seems like a tight schedule and to be honest it is. I am actually more confident about the second and third act, because I know the plot twists and pacing seems to work well there. What needs work is the structure of the plot points and clarity of the writing.
That’s it for today.
Wherever you are, I wish you a productive day and remember, every story starts with a single word.