In the spirit of the 25 Ways to Improve Your Writing (henceforth to be referred to as “the 25” for the sake of brevity), I’m going to go for it. The structure of these posts will probably consist of me rambling on a bit about how a certain tip relates to my revision process. So here’s the first one!
A piece of writing is a living thing. Our goal should be to serve it and do what it wants, to be its instrument. The flow of words from our mind to the page is impeded in two main ways—if we try to make the story do something that it doesn’t want to do, or if something in us isn’t ready to face the full implications of the work’s theme and emotions.
I’m going to diverge a bit from the implications of writers’ block that exist in this tip, because that’s not something that I’m dealing with during this rewrite. The flow of the text and the flow of narration are entwined in my view. I agree wholeheartedly that when I am having trouble, it’s usually because I’m forcing it, but for the purpose of relating this wisdom to the second draft of my novel, I’m going to talk about the narrative flow.
One of the overarching themes in my story that I noticed glimmering through both books and know it will continue into the third is a sense of connectivity, a belief that the earth connects us all and links everything together. People, places, everything. Magic is the essence of nature, the elements — the responsive and breathing energies that my supernatural characters tap into. One of the big turning points in the first book is when my protagonist visits a reservation after being called there in one of her visions. This challenges the long-held beliefs of the supernaturals that magic is confined to their people — one character in particular has an issue believing that humans (Muggles, if you will) have access to it. It’s a theme that will be explored much more in the later books.
What I am having a few issues with is streamlining the little field trips my character takes with the narrative flow. They need to feel integral to the reader, not gratuitous. I think the best way to convey that sense of immediacy and necessity is to focus on bringing the scenes to life, using language that can be repeated as a sort of key throughout that clues the reader in to that connectedness. I think for the most part it achieves that already, but there are a few rough spots that should come out in the polishing phase after this second draft is done.
It’s getting so close. It’s unbelievable to me to see this coming together and to feel so confident about it. I think it’s a good, salable novel that would appeal to a lot of people. I even think the timing is okay — if I can get it published, it would hit shelves a couple years down the road, which would be post Twilight and enough post that I could catch my target audience — which is the urban fantasy lovers and Twilight fans who have grown up a little. There’s still a lot to do before the query stage officially begins, but it’s coming. By November, I want to be ready. That gives me six weeks to get this thing all prettied up with bows in its hair and a minimal amount of blood spatter.
Wish me luck!
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