Hi everyone! I was pretty quiet last month. I’ve been busy though—getting everything ready for the baby (I’m still pregnant!) and working on editing Chasing Fire thanks to input from two amazing beta readers. So I honestly haven’t done a lot of work on my Book-In-A-Year project, but I still have some updates for you all.
Book-In-A-Year: Month Two, Refining the Outline
I didn’t do the research I had planned on doing for my characters’ majors in college, but instead focused on continuing to improve my outline. Thanks to the input of a good friend, I saw that I was going in the wrong direction with one of the characters, and that my overall plot mirrored one of my other books. Whoops! Fixing the plot to be more unique allowed for more growth opportunities for my main characters, and forced me to look more crucially at their arcs.
Making a strong character arc is definitely something I need to work on. I try to have good intentions, but sometimes fail to follow through. For example, in Y Negative, Ember never gets that moment on the page at the end where he says he’s okay with his body, even though I intended for those feelings to be there. I can think of other characters in various WIPs that also start wandering half way through their emotional growth paths.
So hopefully this experience has helped me be more aware of where my characters are going and what they want; how they are striving to be better people and how they can express that on the page.
Beta Readers Are Amazing.
It’s true! I don’t think it could be said enough.
I asked two good writer friends to look over the finished draft of Chasing Fire back in January, and then I spent most of February going through the issues they found. I’m just gonna be honest here . . . they found A LOT. And they also were in almost complete agreement about many points of contention, which made my editing path inescapably clear.
I ended up redesigning Devon’s whole character arc due to cutting his roommate from the story (because I had inadvertently made not only an offensive character, but one that had no purpose outside of what he did to the plot.). I also consolidated many other minor characters, which I’m pretty sure strengthened the minor characters who remained.
All told, I added almost 6000 words to the story, mostly in enhanced world building and adding scenes to complete Devon’s arc.
The story still needs some work, but thanks to my beta readers being unhesitant in their honesty, I know the story is stronger.
And I give them mad respect for being honest. Beta reading, especially if one is checking marginalized characters, is not easy, and is completely voluntary. I can’t thank these guys enough for the time they took to read my words.
And Now . . .
I’m looking at the next few months with excitement, and definitely a little bit of anxiety. I’ll have this baby any day this month, and then comes the grand adventure of getting used to life with two kids. Until that happens, I’ll keep working on Book-In-A-Year, and I’ll keep toward my reading goals.
Have a great weekend all!