Revisions: Squashed Potato to Sympathetic Protagonist

My monthly update from the revision cave is both better and worse than I hoped. Worse, because Kiwi is adorable but needs near-constant attention, which makes it hard to work. Better, because my writing buddies are definitely coming through with much-needed critiques!

I have been working on this novel off and on for about six years–I have a love-hate relationship with it. Right now it’s love, so I have motivation to revise it! When you’ve worked on something for so long, it’s easy to get tunnel-vision when it comes to making changes. I have many different versions of this story from the past few years, and the current version has remained largely static for about two years. The characters have been in my mind so long they feel real–and unyielding. They stubbornly resist my feeble attempts to cast them in a new light or really do anything else with them. They are rebels in a rut.

Thankfully, my pleas for help with my critique partners have pulled me out of these ruts and given me some fresh ideas for revamping and fleshing out character arcs and scenes! Having new eyes on your work is INVALUABLE and I frankly don’t understand writers who claim they work alone.

I sent my story off with only two questions: how do I improve the first half? And how do I turn my protagonist from a squashed potato trying to escape all the action into a sympathetic character with more agency? (Yes, I pretty much demanded the world and they delivered! THANK YOU Katy, Janella, and Erin!) The alternative is pretty much this:leslie1

But they saved me from it! Because they are awesome.

So I’ve spent a few weeks now implementing the changes they suggested (oh so slowly, during puppy naps) and I couldn’t be happier with feeling un-stuck! What have I been doing?

    1. Restructuring several chapters so that they make sense chronologically. I tried this flashback thing and it was not working.
    2. Giving my characters time to talk to each other without listening. The best conversations are typically one character saying something while their audience ignores it. Why do they ignore it? Because they are thinking of what THEY will say, and they are also disregarding any attempt the speaker is making to change their opinions on something.
    3. Re-working my main character’s relationship with her curse and…a secondary character I won’t go into here. <–cryptic note, check

All of this should make Mina more fun to spend 300 pages with, if I do it right.

Progress is slow but it’s happening, so my mood is A+ and my satisfaction is more like a C. My goal is to keep making the most of my weekends and random evening hours to get these done in the next week or two. For photos of the little rascal taking up all my time, check out my Instagram #kiwicam. 🙂

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janellaa
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 16:13:04

    AHHHH YAY FOR REVISIONS!!! YOU CAN DO IT, I BELIEVE IN YOU ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Amanda
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 16:26:59

    I can’t fail with awesome CP’s like you guys! ❤

    Like

    Reply

  3. erinkbay
    Feb 14, 2016 @ 10:48:15

    LOVE YOU AMANDA AND OMG I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!! You can do this!!!!!! (and OMG KIWI HI YOU’RE SO CUTE!!!)!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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