Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New House, New Office, New Book?

New house? Yes. New office? Definitely. New book? No.

As I shared a couple of weeks ago, the moving process –going through things deciding what to keep and what to pitch energized me to revise Libby’s Cuppa Joe. Keeping the good stuff…tossing the rest.

These past two weeks I reintroduced myself to the characters and plot. I like the book but I know it needs work. You cannot lay down a plot and write off the cuff and expect the story to be stellar on the first or even second draft.

So what have I done so far?

First, I had to reread the entire manuscript to remember all of the nuances I had included.

Second, I switched the order of the first two chapters. It is amazing what that simple change did to immediately engage the reader. 

Third. My main character, Sonja, is a young woman bent on business success. She has loving parents who did their best in raising her, but Sonja has rejected church with all its trappings. She pretends to be someone she is not when she is around her family. I realized in reading through the manuscript, I need to make that point clear earlier in the story. I’ve changed some of the conversations Sonja has with friends to reflect her perspective and worked on some of her thoughts or motives as she makes decisions in those first few chapters.

It is a fine line to walk. I want Sonja to be a likeable, nice woman. A good person. I also want her to struggle with what she believes and to be a bit confused. I want her, like so many others, to confuse a personal God relationship with membership in a church.  That part of the revision will morph over the course of many chapters.

Finally, I’ve added a few quirks to a couple of minor characters. I’m happy with those. They will help the story along and give the reader some relief from time to time.

I have more to do. I discovered a couple of places in the middle where the reader is bogged down with details. I also think I rushed through a crucial life changing event that could serve Sonja well as she rethinks her own life and future. Those changes will come over the next few weeks and will likely add a couple of thousand words to the manuscript.

The big lesson here? Revision is not the same as editing. There are no hard and strict rules for revision. Revision takes time, immersion in the text, and a willingness to change.

New house? Yes. New office? Definitely. New book? Hmmm…maybe. At least it will be a better one.

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