Since the start of this school year, I have been doing an independent study project with a T.A. and member of a graduate writing program to workshop last year’s Nano novel in the hope of making it ready for publication. (Just thought I’d like to mention that, unlike many Nano participants, I did outline this project, so even though it was sloppy, it did have a discernible plot.) 🙂
On Tuesday of this week, I met with the woman who had been reading my novel for a month and a half and we talked for about forty-five minutes about what worked and what didn’t. She had done line edits on most of the manuscript, and written me a three page letter, agent/editor style. I really appreciated that.
Here’s the run-down on what did and didn’t need fixing.
The good: Good dialogue, very snappy. More showing than telling. The story arcs in each scene, chapter, and the piece as a whole were good, and made her want to read on.
The things that needed work: An emotional arc. The feeling that the characters evolve internally as people and are not just acted upon by happenstance. An internal flaw for my protagonist, something that drives and hinders her and affects her actions throughout the story. Too many awkward words that threw off the voice–queried, inquired, etc.
And the biggest fix, the one that will be the hardest and I think, the most rewarding?
Apparently, I need to switch the POV. I was told that in first person, which my novel is currently in, you have to spend a ton of time developing voice, and making sure your characters sound unique. I didn’t manage to achieve that, but she did tell me I had a lot of beautiful language that would make the story work really well in third close/third omniscient.
So, it appears that I have a lot of rewriting to do. I’ve been writing outside of the story per suggestion, doing journal entries for each of the characters who shows up more than once. Mini-biographies will probably come after that.
I’ve set a goal for myself that I want to have this rewritten and ready to query by summer. The other parts of that goal include finishing this year’s Nano novel either during November, or by the end of my Christmas break, and finishing the third book in the Nowhere to Hide trilogy by the end of the school year. (The first book in the Nowhere to Hide trilogy is the one this whole post–practically–is about.)
Think I can do it? We’ll just have to wait and see.