Minor Breakthrough

Yesterday I emailed my CPs with an uncomfortable confession: I didn’t have anything new for them to read for our next meeting. Since their feedback on a full draft, I’ve been spinning my wheels in the revision mud; I just can’t get any traction on rearranging, cutting, and adding the necessary plot points. But today I had a minor breakthrough.

As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been trying to cut off relatively bite-sized chunks of novel on which to focus; right now, it’s those troublesome opening chapters. My CPs have accurately pointed out that the action is quite slow to build, and suggested one plot thread that could be moved up as a way to counteract that problem. So, dutifully ripping the old plot structure to tatters, I started writing a new scene to introduce said thread three chapters earlier.

There was a spot that struck me as needing some low-grit PlotPaper™ to smooth it out, so naturally I began there. Excising lines that no longer fit, I began to weave in my new narrative. Eventually I got in a groove, and before I knew it I had over 1400 new words. I just had to find a way to make the scene fit seamlessly with what I already had, and I was golden.

That’s when inspiration hit. I’d sewn my new scene into the wrong part of the chapter!

Giddy with my discovery, I made another copy and started hacking the chapter apart again. The new scene went here, the pieces I’d been sad to take out went back in there… And now an issue I’d had in a completely different point in the novel—again, with the placement of a new scene relative to old material—melted away. Everything seemed to slot naturally into place.

I’m doing my best to ride the high of this tiny triumph. Heaven knows it’s not likely to last long. As soon as I show my changes to my CPs they’ll probably have insightful reasons I’ve not yet considered as to why this arrangement isn’t optimal, either. But when you’ve been slogging through the trenches of revisions and gaining no ground, any little advance is cause for celebration; I’m taking my victories where I can.

Time to reward myself with another pot of coffee!

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