Are you a writer looking for some inspiration for your next scene or story? Read this month’s writing prompt and let your Muse guide you:
Ping. Another one drops, and your heart races inside your chest. How many are there now? You’ve lost count. Ping. You try to remember all the ones that came before… it’s imperative that you keep track. Ping ping. Your mind scrambles, overwhelmed. It’s all just too much.
What is dropping?
Why does the POV need to keep track of the pings?
What will happen if the POV can’t keep up and what will happen if they do?
Write a short description of something important to your character. Include where it came from, why it’s important to your MC, if it’s value is monetary, sentimental, or functional, and how your character typically interacts with it.
Now write a short scene where your character loses this thing. Address the following elements:
How is it lost?
What does your character feel?
How do they interact with their environment after?
How does this impact their relationships with other characters? Consider short term and long term impact.
Editing is a painful, but necessary process. Blegh.
And to complicate matters, it’s not a process that is easily repeatable from one chapter to the next.
In preparing my manuscript to begin querying agents this year, I am dissecting each chapter, slashing content, adding content, moving content–everything I possibly can to make this novel the best it can be. And in this process, I am incorporating feedback from my critique group as well.
Objective third parties are amazing! If you don’t have a critique group, get one.
Here are my youtube shorts for this month describing the issues I discovered in my manuscript, what I decided was the best method to resolve them, and what my critique group thought about those methods.
There are a few general writing tips in there as well that you will hopefully find useful whether you are writing a new story or editing an existing one.
Chapter 23 was a total rewrite vs just an edit, which can be tricky when polishing a manuscript as a final draft. Predictably, my critique group found a few residual issues.
Chapter 25 went under the knife! See why moving half of the chapter to another character’s POV was necessary, and why I thought my characters needed major reworking here. This one made me nervous too because there’s a steamy sex scene in it!
What did my critique group have to say about my sex scene and my re-characterization of these two characters?
The small changes I’ve been making so far are beginning to amount to some pretty drastic plot alterations, resulting in another complete rewrite of a chapter, but for different reasons than chapter 23.
My critique group had some great feedback for my edit of chapter 26 here, providing an excellent example of “Author Blindness”. With the right tools, this writer’s ailment can be remedied.
“What do my characters do while they wait for the big battle?” Enter the mid-novel slog and exactly where this chapter lands. This is a BIG issue. Mid-novel slog is never a good thing.
Critique group comments on mid-novel slog and my solution to this problem: add more chapters!