I began with revisiting my characters’ wounds and traits. maybe you’ll remember in my last post, I wrote about how I felt one character in particular needed some serious reworking because he felt flat to me. well, after connecting with my mentor and considering his feedback, I dove back in to that character and my protagonist.
I expected to round out the flat character. what I discovered was my protagonist’s inner journey, which fuels the story.
from there, I could think of only one thing to do: find a way to see my whole novel all at once.
so I made 96 notecards—one for every micro-chapter i’d drafted. I spread them out so I could see in one place what I had going on.
you might wonder why I didn’t just use scrivener’s notecards for this. they’re wonderful for planning a draft and checking on my original plans for a section when editing that section, but i’d need a movie screen to see all 96 cards at once and be able to read them without hurting my eyes.
writing out the cards alone took about 5 to 6 hours. deciding what to cut took only about a half hour.
once I had my characters reconfigured, finding the chapters that didn’t fit (the ones I thought were fun but they were really just space fillers) were easy to spot.
my final step was to set up a new scrivener file. my old one was a mess. it had pieces and drafts and old character files that no longer applied. a clean slate for a clean draft.
draft two underway
yesterday I started working on my second full draft. that is, I have chapters and sections that are on their third, fourth, fifth drafts…but the novel as a whole is on its second.
what does this mean? well, when I was cutting out chapters, I cut about 40 of the 96. this streamlined the story, but also resulted in some gaps that couldn’t be covered by a bit of transition work.
so, I have 11 new chapters to craft, which is nothing compared to the 96 I wrote leading up to this stage. then, i’ll get to go in and add to the sections that need more depth.
right now I have 70 micro-chapters planned and/or drafted. I don’t know if this number will change by the time i’m finished, but it’s where I stand right now.
I had a great call on Friday with my mentor, and am ready to dig in and really make this final part of my book shine. the next deadline is April 2, and then it’ll be time to polish the whole book for my final deadline in may (with the understanding I will likely do more editing and revising after graduation).