Despite my expected setbacks (reading Scarlet, getting swamped by this grad school homework) and unexpected setbacks (getting a promotion and having to move offices at work, last-minute social engagements, etc.), I’ve still managed to make some progress on my Copper revision. My word count is up to 53,260, which means I added over 3,000 words just by going back and adding more description that the story really needed in the opening two chapters. Use those five senses! ;)
One of my beta readers is also a counselor, so she read the book through a very interesting lens. She knew that my Myers Briggs type is INFJ, meaning I am very intuitive in my relationships; I can understand another’s emotions without having to verbalize to myself the way that feeling is being deduced. So she pointed out that someone with a more “social” type needs the details spelled out a bit more to reach the same conclusions.
Long story short, I’ve been able to notice a lot of scenes where I was accidentally subtle when it would be better–especially for YA literature–to describe the scene more fully. That’s not to say I’m bogging down the scenes with Tolkien-level descriptions! I think I’m walking a fine line of keeping nuance in the story while also fleshing out each scene for the reader.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about my screenwriting professor who passed away last year, Jack. He had such a passion for story and character, and would have asked me some really specific questions about the development of both aspects in this story. Here are some examples of questions he would have pressed me to answer well:
* Is the relationship between the love interests organic, believable, and valuable?
* Are you, the author, fully aware of the main characters’ histories, motivations, hopes, and fears? (Not just the heroes but the villains, too. Being aware means you can utilize that knowledge to make a deeper, better, more realistic story).
* Did you do your research? (Oh man, if he knew how much I’d made up about submarines… but it’s a MAGICAL submarine! Ack, okay, more research necessary).
* Are you using each scene to advance the story–including dialogue, but in an appropriate and non-hokey way?
Ah. I am so thankful for the people, both past and present, who have supported my writing endeavors and challenged me to become better at it.
As a final thought… this is quite corny, but I was reading my Chinese zodiac information (dragon!) last night after my sister-in-law (tiger) and I were discussing fortune cookies we’d received recently. This popped up in a description about dragons: “They will work diligently to complete their life goals.” Hell yeah! BOOKS, YOU ARE ALL OVER MY FUTURE. This publishing thing WILL happen. I WILL be an author. It’s going to be great! I’m way too freaking stubborn to give up! My other zodiac… what is it, astrological sign? Something like that, the one based on birth month rather than year, is “Taurus.” I am Dragon-Bull! Stubborn and persistent to the very end!! Hahaha. I don’t believe in the stars guiding my life (God’s got that covered), but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a bit of encouragement away from it, either…
Just gotta keep reading, keep writing, keep living life to the fullest.
(Speaking of reading… I haven’t decided what to read next)!