What you're in for
Many authors don’t readily reveal this information, and as an author navigating writing and revising (and really, the publishing world), this is something I'd like to know. Maybe my mind is more analytical than others.
October 31, 2022 –November 6, 2022
I read through the fundamental questions in Intuitive Editing and created a character profile spreadsheet in my excel revision workbook. I completed the fundamental questions for Sophie and found at least 5 revisions to make, mostly in the first act. Then, I outlined Sophie’s character arc using K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs. Underneath the character arc, I included a section to review her enneagram arc, which will help me determine whether the beat shows growth or stress.
I also reviewed the Character week for Slow Novel Lab and completed some exercises within the lecture. I put all my revision tasks in a separate spreadsheet and labeled them by type of macroedit, character/stakes/plot name, changes to make, scenes affect, what to change in each scene, and a spot to mark the revision complete.
November 6, 2022
I went through the 30 revisions I identified through my character arc/fundamental questions analysis, filled out all the scenes affected, and what needs to be changed in each scene. Overall, there are about 50 tasks to complete the revisions. Then I labeled and color-coded them into tiers:
November 7, 2022 – November 13, 2022
I worked through all fifty tasks and added a few more revision tasks to my list that involve plot or other character revisions so that I didn’t forget them. My goal was to complete them on November 11, 2022, but I managed to finish them over the weekend.
What I learned
Sophie’s character arc stakes were not personal enough at the beginning, so when I raised the stakes after the inciting incident, it didn’t hit right. Her ghost needed to be clearer as well—she needed more than feeling insecure to explain away her resistance to pursuing music as a career, something she so obviously wants. Her reasons for that were in the book, just not clear at the beginning. I also needed to make her first act of agency happen more quickly. She has a dual point-of-no-returns, and I had one happening far too late in the book.
Basically, this book needs condensing. I have a feeling it's going to get messier, then suddenly, will be a clear picture.
What I'm doing next
So, I’ve decided to evaluate the stakes and plots for the main external plot first. I’ll start by re-reading the chapter for stakes in Intuitive Editing, use it to evaluate the stakes as they are now, and then move on to the plot macroedits.
Now to figure out why my Scrivener won’t pull all my scene synopses when I compile them into an outline. Why did they make a writer’s software so techy?
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Sarah Hawkins is a geek for the written word. She's an author and freelance editor who seeks to promote and uplift the authors around her.