Fifteen

That's somewhere around chapter five
What a beautiful neat number.

It’s right there. A number that makes me want to punch the air with elation.

Overall, it’s not a big improvement. I’m not even halfway done with the rewrite, but it is continuing. Rewrites are strange.

I guess it’s not really editing if you’re moving bits and around and rewriting almost everything. The scenes are more or less true to their original versions, though the outcomes are different. A solid example of that would be the chapter I’m currently on, number five.

There was no stated history between two of the major characters in my original draft. RE and MW were due to meet later, but there was no visible reason for RE to a) know to look for MW, and b) where to find MW. With the additions brought about by the new prologue introduction, point A has been settled, while point B now has avenues. It’s important to me that whatever the surprises thrown before the reader might be, they’re shown to be as they are for good reason. I think it’s a complicated ride that I take people on with this novel, and I want to make sure that every reader is right there with me when I get to the end.

I don’t mean that I want them to keep reading. That can be assumed.

I don’t want them to be lost.

I may want to drop the floor beneath them and make them question what the hell has been going on throughout the entire sequence but I want them to see what’s going on and understand it’s all been leading, possibly foreshadowed, and most of all, hopefully not happened in a predictable manner. Maybe it will be, but it’s all about balance.

It’s for that reason that I’m going through such a widespread rewrite process, and yep, killing darlings all over the place. There’s sequences I liked in the original draft that haven’t had a place this time around. Little details, like a character scrunching up a ball of paper and throwing it past the head of another the way reasonable adults don’t. There’s fine-tuning of characters. One of the characters is also now more emotional, more affected by something that happened in the past, resulting in a kind of plot-blindness to him.

While I’m only at the 15% mark of what the previous draft was, chapter five itself is an important one. It represents the first moment when the three concurrent stories begin to converge. This didn’t really happen until much later in the previous draft, which led to the emergence of a villain being fraught with confusion, and a revelation in the ending that was understated and obscure.

The feedback I have so far on the rewrite (the limited bits I’ve shared) are that it explains things better and more gradually, the relationships between characters are better, and there is more balance to the characters besides.

All that said, I’m keen to finish this chapter. Getting through this one lets me return to the next storythread that has had a bit of a shakedown, plus once I finish chapter five I’ll type up what I have written so far and send it through to my alpha reader, and get all excited to be able to discuss it.

The biggest struggle is not getting impatient. Need to take the time to get it all as good as I can for this draft, so that there’s less chance of structural changes in any drafts that follow, and I’ll be in a position where I might consider it good enough to submit to an agent or publisher or whoever else handles that kind of thing.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from all this is that I need to plan more. I’ve gone from overplanning to negligible levels of plandom, and balance is needed. The main area that needs planning? Structure. Pacing. The WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FINAL THIRD. Sometime soon I’ll start planning for my November (which will also represent a break from FMTEE), but hope to get it solid enough that any rewrites of the next novel do not involve shuffling things around.

But yeah, greatly looking forward to ending chapter five, hitting 20%, and then anticipating the next round of milestones.

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