So, I’ve been revising Lara, the novel I wrote in 2009 – 2010, while my WIP buddies are reading my Overlook manuscript. I am halfway through the manuscript and it is going only so-so. As you can see in the photo, some sections are being completely rewritten.
- I still really love Lara as a main character.
- I still believe in the story. There just aren’t enough stories out there about how cancer really sucks and can still be a transformative experience. Bad stuff happens – it’s what happens next that is interesting to me.
- The minor characters are interesting people. I have been working on deepening their characterizations, but there was plenty of good stuff already there.
- The subplots are interesting and lend to the larger story. Frankly, without Lara’s work life to lend a little humor, the beginning of the book is a real downer.
Not so good things:
- Way too much “telling.” I have been adding whole scenes to “show” how Lara is reacting to her treatments and the people who help her.
- Too many flashbacks near the beginning of the novel. This is a real rookie mistake but an easy trap to fall into. The reader can not understand who Lara is without understanding what happened to her as a kid so, it’s tough to get rid of the flashbacks entirely. I have a feeling this will be an issue in this draft and the next.
- Being too dark. It is difficult to write about terrible things happening to people without depressing people. I am struggling to put more twinkling lights in the distance for the reader to look forward to, but it’s hard to do without being sappy or diffusing the tension.
- Passive voice. Need I say more. I am relying on my critique buddy, Grace, to help me with this problem.
I am going to keep slogging through this draft, and probably another one, before I can make a final decision on this book’s fate. I’m not sure if it will ever be ready for public consumption.