I’ve had a lot of free time the past few days. So, I started looking over my first Nanowrimo novel draft in a bit more detail. After reading over lots of writing and revising advice, I decided to not be afraid of making huge top-down changes, and to just confront the fact that making this book good will take a lot of time. And that that is okay.
The biggest change I’ve decided to make is to add a second protagonist. He will take the role of primary perspective and provide much needed room for characterization and conflict. His name is Thomas, and he’s also the original protagonist’s love interest’s little brother. He’s going to be a bit of a hero-worshiping side-kick who ends up playing a big role in the plot and coming into his own.
After that, I recognized that I was trying to write in a chaos+diversity versus routine+homogeneity motif, but it came off as really blatant and uninteresting. I’ve decided to mostly nix that, at least all overt references to it (which I had tons of). I’m changing the motivation to cult-like behavior which can then be traced back to the arch-nemesis, who’s personal motivation is hatred and revenge.
As such, I’ve decided to shift a lot of the events around in time to accommodate the plot changes. I want to provide room for characters to interact with each other and give the reader some people to have feelings about. My characters were pretty weak before, and didn’t change a whole lot throughout the plot.
So I’ve gone ahead and written out my new plot outline. It diverges pretty heavily in the second half, but I can tell that it’s going to involve a drastic amount of re-writing. I’m sure I will include bits and pieces of the original draft, but those will be edited too.
When I was writing this for Nanowrimo, I didn’t want to imagine doing such a huge overhaul. But, as written everywhere, if you give yourself time to divorce yourself from those initial feelings, things start to feel okay again. Now I’m actually pretty excited about the revision. I don’t yet have those feelings toward my second Nanowrimo… which is probably good, it gives me room to focus.
Next thing on my revision work list is to make my characters come alive. I’m going to do a lot of reading, considering, and planning to get them together before I actually get in and do major editing. I want to know their starting points and ending points in terms of change, I also want to know how they think, and what drives them, as well as just generally more about them. My characters were pretty shallow before. I want more depth, even if I don’t include it all in the actual work.