Once more, with feeling!

Ahem. So, staying in character, I’ve been neglecting my blog. For a while there I was easily dropping 3 updates a week. It’s been nearly a month since my last update.

So a quick (hahaha, no, not really that quick) rundown of what’s been so damned important that I haven’t had time to even drop a few lines here.
I have a Critique Partner, the wonderful and insightful Colten Hibbs, who was kind and gracious enough to let me into his beautifully realized and deep faerie tale world. I made it my first priority, above even my own writing, to read through his draft, and provide him with meaningful feedback (which I hope I’ve done). He’s now hard at work on his next draft, and based on our discussions, I can’t wait to see this next one.
Colten was amazing enough to give me a marked up copy of CROW’S BLOOD with loads of goodies and notes that are improving my writing ten-fold  (I hope).
Going through those notes I cheered (at the parts that were important to me that he just GOT), grimaced (at my own failings and some of the gunk he had to sift through), and had some incredibly awesome revelations. 
I have to share the biggest of those revelations with you.
One of the points that’s been brought to me repeatedly was that it takes too long to get attached to the MC (Main Character). Colten highlighted that he didn’t begin to feel even remotely attached to (and at points wasn’t even sure he liked) the MC until around Chapter 6!
That’s a death sentence for a book folks. That’s it! It’s over! 99% of readers will drop a book considerably faster than a bad habit if they’re not engaged and buying in to the MC by the end of Chapter 1. Clever blocking and world building can only get you so far.
New light was shed on this problem (which I had absolutely no idea how to fix, and maybe still don’t) when Colten pointed out that I have several Spot POV Chapters, where it’s the only Chapter you ever engage with that character, where I manage to do it right. They’re engaging and connect you with the character, in that single chapter.
I’d like to say I had a Eureka moment and got to run down the street in little more than a towel, but alas, it’s not that simple. But I had somewhere to start! It had been sitting there, right in front of me, for months… Critique Partners bring fresh eyes indeed.
I studied those chapters, making notes and everything. Then I studied them again. Then I studied them again. Ok, so that’s how I do it. Fantastic. 
Now why couldn’t I do it with my MC?
I, uh, don’t know. Except perhaps that I maybe have too much time to spend with my MC?
I spent the first week wrestling with Chapter 1. I wanted to add more insight into the MC without killing the pace (I like the pace I’ve set). I think I’ve achieved that, and I’ve since moved on, all the way up to Chapter 11, making little touches here and there, and giving a little bit more of the MC (also, making him a little more consistent).
My word count is shifting a bit (getting a little longer), but I’ll be ruthless in keeping it under 100,000.
Depending on where my other Critique Partners are in their read-throughs, I may ask them to go with this latest draft, or I’ll just sit on it until their feedback comes in, and parse theirs too, making any changes I feel warranted.
So that’s what I’ve been up to, and now that I’m back in the swing of the writing side of things, I’ll get back to updating my blog a little more often.

– Alex

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5 Comments

Filed under BookB, Character, Critique, Editor, Ego, Id, Learning, Revision, Voice, Word Count

5 responses to “Once more, with feeling!

  1. Thanks for the update bro (finally).

  2. Your standalone chaps are awesome 🙂

  3. Thanks Clare! I'm trying to get the rest in line, or at least comparable…

  4. I have every faith 🙂 I've also nominated you as a Very Inspiring Blogger – a reward for sharing your writing journey with us all :)http://camitchell.net/2013/05/13/an-award/

  5. Wow! Thanks! It'll take a few days for my own entry.

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