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August 29, 2012 / Angela Sylvia

Writing Problems: Back to the Beginning (Again)

I recently received my response from my Lesley mentor, and once again it has been suggested to me that I leave the last half of my novel alone and that I concentrate on making my beginning really work.

“But that’s what I keep doing!” I mentally yelled at my screen (I have neighbors, don’t want them to think I’m too crazy). I reworked the opening my first semester, edited it over and over again second semester, concentrated on my beginning chapters third semester… Meanwhile, there are plot issues in the second half that I’ve been aware of for months that have been getting neglected.

But after knocking my forehead on the keyboard a couple of times, I, of course, agree. I have some problems that appear consistently throughout my manuscript, one being that I never get quite close enough to my main character’s point of view. If I want my story to work later, I have to make it work now, at the start. If I can nail down my character, the motivations, the voice, right at the beginning, it will be easier to carry it through and make it work as the plot goes on. And those plot issues aren’t really being neglected, I know — they’re turning in my head, almost constantly, so that by the time I do get back to them I’ll come up with some sort of solution.

Also, there is a big bonus to this constant editing: I’ve probably reread my beginning chapters a couple hundred times by now, so I’m taking the fact that I’m not sick of it yet as an exceptionally good sign.

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