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2004-02-15 2:37 PM
Reading between the (draft) lines...
Before starting to revise a novel, I've learned from various sources that it's a good idea to skim over the whole novel after letting it sit for a few months (in my case, almost a year) so you can see it with new eyes. In my quest to revise my three genre novels (I'm leaving the mainstream novel -- my first novel -- in the trunk for the foreseeable future) in the early months of 2004, I've been using this strategy to great effect.
I just finished reading my Blackbeard novel, Heart's Revenge, and while I'm a bit tired and my head feels full (I've got a lot to do on this sucker!), I know exactly what must be done to make this novel work. And I think it could be quite a good one.
As usual, the first three chapters need the most work. Once I get them tightened up, it's just a matter of changing all the swapping points of view between the female lead to the male lead back to just the female lead, Ella. This is Ella's story, I realized. She's got the most at stake, and she's the most interesting character.
Also, thanks to all the various Charles de Lint stories and novels I've been reading lately, I can see that I need to develop my characters the way he does -- he give lots of details about a character and his or her background, getting you close to that character so you really care about what happens to that person. Some of his narrative techniques bug me (too many scenes of people sitting around talking about what to do and how this magical event could be happening, etc.), but he creates great characters. Nice bit of synchronicity there, me having been reading lots of de Lint tales lately.
So I'm feeling really good about that novel, and in the back of my mind I'm still thinking about new novel ideas. We went to see "Return of the King" last night at the last minute after our plans were changed at the last minute due, and as I was watching that and quite loving the imagery and characters and settings (the first time I saw it I was in a bit of a crappy mood), I kept thinking of stuff I could use in a novel. And then Peter Jackson was on "Sunday Morning" this a.m., and that was inspiring as well. If he doesn't get an Oscar for Best Direction, it'll be a huge shame. He's worked his hobbit ass off for those films.
And in a way I'm inspired by all my fellow writers getting stories accepted for Polyphony 4 -- Jenn, Tim, Greg, and everyone else (I'm sure I'm forgetting someone). I wish I wasn't out of stories to submit (I think I'm down to less than half a dozen!). Way to go, folks.
Tapping the Dream Tree, Charles de Lint
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