I finished the tutorial, uploaded my work and have been editing my series–everything seems to work very smoothly. I am very pleased with Scrivner. And, today, recognizing that my teenage heroine needs to be put a bit more in jeopardy, I killed off her protector in Chapter 2. It will mean quite a few edits through the rest of the book, but I think it is the right thing to do. And I had the perfect spot for it: instead of surviving the monster attack as the guardian had done before, she’s killed. Shows how dangerous those monsters are!
Funny how that goes: I’d written a couple of scenes of a short story, and this week, I re-wrote the entire thing in one day–with different characters, plot and setting. Edited it yesterday. Now it needs to sit for a week or two, and have one more pass before submission.
Retreat at the Rainforest is, as always, awesome. Took the critiques from my beta readers, organized the comments and rephrased them into positive scenes, determined where in the novel they go, and copied the notes above each appropriate chapter. Have re-written the prologue, mined old chapters out of previous versions and inserted them, interwoven two stories and edited chapter one. Nothing like a few days with nothing to focus on but the novel.
Had an excellent writers group meeting on Tuesday at which we discussed blurbs: each of us wrote one or more for books we are working on, and we sampled several published ones. We each made a list of qualities that seemed to be important in a blurb, discussed our list, then applied these criteria to the blurbs each of us had written. Then we discussed whether we’d buy the book based on the blurb, and if it gave an accurate indication of what the book was about.
It was very cool, not only for improving our blurbs (which are notoriously hard to write), but for focussing on what the book is about. We told one of our members that the inciting incident was buried toward the end of his blurb and should be closer to the top. The author said, “the increasing violence in the world IS the inciting incident.” No, the point where his brother goes missing is the inciting incident, because this makes the world’s problems personal: the increasing world violence is only setting, but the personal connection turns it to plot. The author had a real “aha!” moment and decided to go back and re-write chapters 1-3, but was very happy to do so.
Here’s the list we generated:
- short but clear, readable (no long elven names); not a plot summary
- present tense, active verbs
- instant, fresh images
- surprise: a sense of normal and change, a “shock” word (eg; Mars) or a key word that indicates tone / genre
- central character choice; what drives the character
- strong voice
- one classic, short line
The central idea we came up with is: if the protagonist is the entry point for the reader to everything in the book, then the main thing the blurb must accomplish
I know. I don’t believe it, either. But it was a lot of fun. It is a “one ring to rule them all” poem for the opening of the novel, and it is a sea shanty, so of course it is sung (and it rhymes), but it is needed to help the protagonist figure out how to defeat the mermaids at the end of the book. But the coolest part was how much I enjoyed writing it.