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Sunday, February 06, 2011

More Revision Talk

I started talking about revisions on Thursday and I thought I'd say a little more today. What I mentioned in that previous post is all normal and happens with every book, but my other revision task is far from my usual MO.

I always know whose book it is before I start writing. (One character always has a bigger growth arc than the other one. With my early books, I tried making the arcs equal, but I always had one character becoming more prominent and the other throttling back, so it's never worked out that way on the page. But this is another post for some other day.) That's what Pre-Book and all the thinking I do beforehand is for--to know the who, what, and why. This time, I had it wrong.

In all the scenes I was seeing (and I was seeing a lot of them), my heroine seemed so together and 90% of what I was getting at this point was from the hero's Point of View (POV). Both these things made me believe he was the one who needed to change the most. Only he wasn't sharing what his issue was. I didn't even have a hint. I came up with ideas that could be it, but they weren't. Finally, after thinking and pressing him, I figured it out. Yea!

Too bad it turned out to be really lame when I was trying to write the synopsis. Yes, it's an issue. Yes, it's something that won't be easily resolved, but I knew it would be a challenge to make work for the reader. It's exacerbated by the fact that h/h have never talked about it. The hero's reasons for not saying anything work for him (and for me), but for a reader? I'm not so sure about that.

An SOS was sent to my writing friends. The suggestion was to focus on the heroine's issue in the synopsis.

But she doesn't really have an issue.

I knew that was wrong. All characters have issues even if they're not working on them. I thought harder and came up with something. Hmm. I'd realized this before--pieces of it, at least--but I brushed right past them as being unimportant. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the heroine had a major issue. So major that it's her book.

It was quite a revelation.

A couple more conversations later and the story shifted. It's still the same story, the same plot elements, but the focus is different. And because of this, I have to rework the proposal chapters (the first three chapters of the book) with the heroine's growth arc in mind.

The things that kind of felt sort of wrong earlier? Yeah, they're completely wrong in light of this new revelation. Now I know why they felt off. When will I learn to trust my instincts?