January 24, 2014 by Ifeoma Dennis
So maybe I’m a sucker for perfection. Or maybe I just have a big ego that won’t let my WIP win this battle of to-be-crappy-or-not-to-be.
But I’m working on my first act again, thanks to the edits I received from my CP, Yael. My MC turned out not to be interesting. Not because she is weak, but because she doesn’t have any other interesting things going for her. Interesting things like humor, stubbornness, smarts (sorry, Yael, using your comments almost word for word).
So I’ve been working from sunrise to midnight on my first act, trying to infuse interesting into my MC’s character. It’s like a fever–an ego fever maybe, but a fever that won’t let me go until I’ve fixed it to my ability. Then I’ll send it to my CPs and flex my writing gloves in preparation for the next round of edits, as we do. 😉
But I’d rather have that fever than the fit of insecurity that preceded it. You know, I started thinking it could be that only good teachers could make good writers. And I suck at being a good teacher. I’m that classmate who might know something but would really have a hard time putting my point across to someone (say a non-classmate) that has never known it. I can explain to someone that has an idea of the subject, but I’m totally bad at starting from the scratch.
And that’s how my WIP feels like. It’s fantasy, set in a world that’s in my head, and it’s my job to guide the reader through it and teach them everything. And at the height of that fit, I felt like writing might not be for me after all. But glad I got past that. I’ll just have to keep working until I improve. And even at that.
I’ve changed my MC’s character arc, which was from weak to strong and then weak again (not such a clever arc, is it?) into something else. Character-wise, she’s more determined, stronger-hearted and more stubborn from the start.
She still has the short end of the stick since she comes from a weak bloodline, and will have to fight against stronger forces with little weaponry or finance at her disposal. But that’s okay.
Her new character arc (which somehow, is embellished in the theme), could be summarized as “your blood stays true to you, even if you are not true to it”. Which I doubt would make sense to anyone right now because no, it’s not what you’re thinking. But I feel really good about this character arc, simply because I have a feeling it’s not an arc readers would be expecting.
Something else I’ve noticed while rewriting is my MC’s strict voice, especially with her thoughts. It did seem to me my writing came out a bit rigid. You know, like how some characters in fantasy novels think.
So I’ve been working on that. Two years back, I played around with a blog series that focused on a twenty-one year old who wanted to find the perfect person to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, it was a countdown sort of series (Eight Days of Valentine) and most of my classmates checked in and followed the series religiously because according to them, it was hilarious…and I knew it really was, because the voice came so easily (probably thanks to my love for Sophie Kinsella at the time :D) Btw, I still love Sophie Kinsella and will always do, all things remaining equal.
I don’t know if I can infuse dry humor into this story like before, since it’s a different genre, a different POV, a different character with a different, more serious want. And the gravity has rubbed off on me. But J.K Rowling handles humor and a serious subject so well.
So, keeping my fingers crossed I leave this act with a product that’s closer to what I want it to be. Even if it’s not funny. But hopefully, it would come out more interesting.