Monday, August 12, 2013

A Time to Think

Congratulations to Linda Phillips who won a 10-page critique from Rebecca Petruck. For those of you who know me personally, Linda is my best writing buddy, friend, and prayer partner. But, I want to assure you that this drawing was not rigged--although I'm glad that Rebecca will help Linda with her current WIP, a middle grade book about a boy with learning disabilities.

If you follow this blog, you know that Rebecca has been sharing her revision process for her forthcoming book, Steering Toward Normal. (If you're just coming back from vacation, you can find Part I and Part II here.) 

I recently received Rebecca's editorial comments on my second full draft of Half-Truths. Now I'm following her advice and taking time to think about where to go from here. Here are a few snippets of her feedback to me, along with my current "to do" list. 

Rebecca:  Lillie’s anger is too strong and too consistent throughout. We need an arc.  We need to plan how and why Lillie’s anger will build, and if that really is the primary emotion we want to focus on. For me, I’m less interested in Lillie being angry than I am in her growing awareness of her own social circumstances and how that makes her feel frustrated, hopeless, depressed, galvanized, stubborn and eventually determined to be a part of the change.

My challenge: create a character arc that shows Lillie's "normal" life including her goals, what happens that opens her eyes to the world of white privilege around her (including meeting Kate, the granddaughter of her grandmother's employer), and how she tries to reach her goals.

Rebecca: Kate’s arc is disjointed and too much about Lillie’s arc. Kate needs more of her own story if she’s going to take up half of the novel. The elements are there, I think, but need to be developed. What is Kate’s internal journey? Then what events will hamper and what will help that journey? I don't really "see" her very well. 

My challenge: Rebecca is right. Even though Kate was the character I created first I haven't really figured out her story. For that matter, I don't have a complete sense of who she is and what she wants! As Rebecca said in the last post, "Character and plot are Siamese twins." In order for me to plan her character arc, I need to know her better. So, I'm going to take the time to ask Kate these questions and if I need more help, I'll make her answer the questions on Janice Hardy's blog on Character Tips too.

And while I'm at it, I'll probably do more work in Donald Maas's excellent book, 


Then, I'll take two really long pieces of freezer paper and stretch them out on my dining room table. I'll place one on top of the each other and start drafting each girl's character arc. I'll think about what are the important events in each girl's story and how one story will affect the other. From there I'll construct  my new chapter by chapter outline. (I guess this means that I'm a plotter, not a panster!)

And then, I'll start draft #3. Meanwhile, now I know why I bought two of these at the grocery store. I might need a lot!












15 comments:

Rebecca Petruck said...

Enjoy the process and good luck!

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks for the reminder to enjoy the process. That's so easy to forget! :)

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

I'm looking forward to getting my WIP in shape (putting some of Rebecca's ideas into action) so that I can appreciate the critique I've just won. Thanks, Carol and Rebecca.

Carol Baldwin said...

I wanted all my friends to win a critique with Rebecca--but am delighted that you did, Linda!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I'm definitely a panster. I do think ahead about what needs to happen and how the story arc needs to evolve but plotting it out on freezer paper is beyond me!

Have fun!

Carol Baldwin said...

I knew the freezer paper would make it into your comment, Joyce!!

Linda A. said...

Congratulations Linda Phillips! I know this critique is going to be one fantastic gift.

Thanks for sharing some of your editorial notes, Carol. Lots to think about! Hang in there. You can do it.

Rosi said...

Some good ideas here and great examples. Thanks for the very useful post. I'm looking forward to getting my crit notes from Rebecca as well.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda and Rosi! Glad it was helpful.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Freezer paper!!! Great idea for drawing those arcs. Sounds like you got some very insightful advice from your coach. And it sounds like you're energized to jump in and start tinkering. Excellent!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kim, for your enthusiasm. HOpe it will carry me through this next phase!

sheri levy said...

Wow! I love Rebecca's comments. I will relook at my manuscript and see if I can use some of her ideas. She is very thought provoking. let us know how the process goes, Carol.

Carol Baldwin said...

Sheri,
Rebecca is a jewel! Her insights are amazing! I'll keep everyone posted on my process. thanks for your interest!

Carol Baldwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janelle said...

Great post, Carol. Thanks for sharing your revision process! I love it!