September 20, 2013 by Ifeoma Dennis
I’m rewriting DoT.
Not revising it to take out pesky adverbs or moving body parts or some not-so-major issue. Nope. I’m rewriting the whole thing.
Yup. The whole manuscript I slaved over this last August.
Won’t cry, won’t cry.
DoT’s the second manuscript I’m writing, not the first, so I started writing it on a more confident level than the first.
I had a good story idea I loved (so much I even figured out the query before ever writing it), I had two notebooks that were filled with big picture outlines and chapter-by-chapter outlines, I knew my characters’ pedigrees and all that…but there was a place I fell short. And I didn’t realize it until too late.
Was my problem.
My original manuscript (DOT zero), as you can see from the not-so-aesthetic cut out below, had a three-part kind of structure.
Not that a structure of 3 parts is inherently bad, but it divided my MS into three unequal parts- short first and third parts, and an achingly long middle.
My middle still built up to a conflict toward the end of it- but it took so long to get there. So much of it ended up feeling like my characters were running around from one part of their fantasy world to another.
Which might not be bad in itself, but it felt so flat to me. And I always know when my stories are not living up to expectation.
Luckily, I came across a four-part structure somewhere on a blog online and once I saw it, I knew that was the way to go. Although I had to cry and lose appetite for a while before accepting it was something I had to do and there was no short-cut around it.
Now my middle is split into two, with the two parts building up to separate conflicts. It’s easier to write this way as I know where I’m heading to exactly. And most importantly, my characters have more purpose, because every part now has a different main conflict they have to tackle, although the overall dramatic and thematic questions remain the same.
Another thing is this new structure requires changes in almost all parts of the first draft, and that’s the reason I’m scratching it and starting from the start again.
And even though it took me the whole of my summer break to write the first draft, I won’t feel I wasted my time. I learnt something at least. I learnt to plot a better story, and I have a feeling DoT would be much stronger for this. I’m actually excited now to get the words down to Scrivener. But can’t start right away because my schedule is crazy at the moment. However, I’ve plotted it all out so I’m one-tenth on the way to completion 😉
When you love something, you can’t just give it up or toss it out half-baked. You’ve got to give your best to it.
So…you can wish me luck on this second journey with DoT. 🙂