So. On Sunday I had my first “proper” attendance of the Science-Fiction / Fantasy workshop-style writers group.
Their feedback was invaluable and really helped to solidify some things I had already been thinking about my opening chapters: Unnecessary asides, repetition of scenes, difficulty in understanding context.
All of that was awesome and I’ve already completed some of those suggestions, but a few hit me for six:
The first one that complicated matters for me was the removal of an aside in the third chapter. This involved a character’s deep reaction to a dead child. The suggestion was that there were a few too many references to issues with children and the need to protect them in the first four chapters (something I hadn’t noticed).
So I set about reviewing and incorporating their suggestion and found that I’m going to have to re-write half of the chapter, ouch. But on the bright side, as I was writing I was already getting ideas of what to replace the removed section with, and ITS BETTER! Yay!
The other one that seriously messed with me, was the general consensus that the first chapter – especially that the main character was called ‘The Man’ – was distancing. They felt detached and couldn’t understand his motives.
So again I set about working on this, and found that removing the title ‘the Man’ worked really well. But now I’m faced with editing the chapter to remove all reference to The Man and as a result you now get a lot closer to his character (which is good, but…). This then means I need to make the action and descriptions occurring in each scene more personal which changes the perspective of the chapter considerably and FUCKING FUCK!!!
But I’m excited as I think the changes are better for it. I’ll try and upload this chapter (Chapter 1) so you can see the process of doing a draft negative billion and changes as they happen and how drastically it changes things.
[Edit: I’ve uploaded the chapter in draft, you can check it out below – see if you can notice where the perspective changes]
However the really great development that came out of this is that I realised I’m over “knitting back” over the stuff I’ve written.
I think I’ve worked out generally what the characters are doing in each chapter / where they start and where they finish. I feel I have a truly deep connection with the characters now so I can feel what they are yearning for in the text and moving forward. SO, I’ve had the epiphany that what I’ve done so far is good enough for draft negative billion. All the pieces are there so….
ITS TIME TO GET THIS PARTY STARTED!
I realised I need to push my narrative forward now and find out where my characters are going next! Which is awesome!
This development harks back to the things I’ve learned (previous blog). If I hadn’t have been interacting with my novel as much as I have and hadn’t have gone to the writers group on Sunday and hadn’t have kept pushing to get their suggestions in and make the chapters written perfectly then I wouldn’t be where I am now; happy and excited to move forward again!