Basically all I’ve done with my life the past few days is attempt to revise Copper according to feedback I’ve been getting from my rejections. (I love non-silent, non-form rejections. They’re my new favorite thing, next to the gummy bears that I use to bribe myself. “Oh, you worked an hour? Have 3 gummy bears! That was 12. 15. STOP IT, CATHY.” Also a new favorite thing: Sylvia Plath’s quote “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try”).
Someone recommended looking at Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat!” screenplay advice and adapting it for books. You can download his beat sheet for yourself here. He has the last page at 110, but I changed it to 100 and subtracted all the other pages a little bit to fit. That way, it works in percentages instead of page numbers, and I can load a draft onto my Kindle, flip through, and see where each “beat” falls using the percentages and what’s happening in the story then. (Another aside: I feel like a salesperson every time I say “my Kindle.” Does anyone mind? Is it more appropriate to say “my e-Reader” or something? Bah humbug).
ANYWAY. That was pretty revealing and gave me some ideas that I hadn’t been able to come up with just staring at the blank pages. My theme takes a little longer to build than it should; the thing that happens 10% in is a catalyst, but perhaps not the strongest one. If I rearrange things, I can switch it out for the stronger one and perhaps pick up the pace as I’ve been instructed. My “bad guys close in” happened at exactly 50% and that felt really rewarding, hahaha! After that, everything was right on pace, but I could use some “stakes raising” just to really beef it up: a deeper “dark night of the soul,” scarier actions from the antagonists, things like that.
The result on my delicate (ha) mind is mixed. On one side of the scale we see excitement and encouragement–I’ve got this! I’m mostly there! I have a salvageable manuscript!–and on the other side we have DESPAIR–OhGodIhavesomuchmoretofixandwriteandripapartandjustmakeitstopplease?
IN OTHER POSITIVE NEWS, I HAVE TRIED SIX DIFFERENT BRANDS OF GUMMY BEARS THIS SUMMER AND WOULD LIKE TO CALL MYSELF A GUMMY BEAR CONNOISSEUR.
I think I’ll make business cards.
If writing doesn’t work out, I’ll always have that.