Change, change, change . . .
I’m in the process of re-jigging my manuscript. It came back from the editorial consultancy a week ago with the comment that they felt I should delay one of the two crisis points in the novel until the almost bitter end. This crisis happens at the about the 77,000 word mark of a 99,000 word novel.
In my typical ‘wood for trees’ manner, I really couldn’t get why they wanted me to do this. And ‘0h my God, the work!‘ So I sat it on it and tried to forget about it and one night as I finished a commercial fiction novel, something jumped out and bit me on the nose. Even this book, the one I had just finished, had tension (if you could call it that in a soft commercial fiction) right up to the last chapter. And I got it then, in one bright and seriously defining moment. The continuing unfolding tension drove the narrative arc forward right to the end, ensuring the reader would come too. I shot an email back to London and said ‘Eureka!’ and have been working away happily since.
That’s not to say that as an ingenue writer I have got it down pat. But Writer Unboxed this week (http://writerunboxed.com/2010/10/06/chips-and-meaning/) from the mind of Donald Maass, set it out very clearly and I urge any writer reading this to peruse the whole article. It sizzles with advice!
He concluded with this gem:
‘Thus, building a true journey for your protagonist (and your readers) involves going deep inside, turning what’s there into outer events, all the while measuring your character’s unfolding understanding of the shape and truth of her life. Meaning doesn’t magically emerge like a rainbow, not really. It baptizes us like a thousand drops of rain.’
I’m thinking my editor may want a little more of a storm than a thousand drops of rain, but the theory is the same . . .