April Update on the Novel

Editing Troubles
Image ©Alyssa Mayley

I’ve had quite a few questions about how my novel is coming along, and I figured it would be easiest to just tell everyone at once, on here.

The Answer?
I want to take my protagonist and shake the stubborn right out of her!

Bits About Editing

From the image above, I am sure you can gather which stage of the writing process I am currently working on…

    The deep, intensive, line-by-line edit. The one that requires a gargantuan cup of coffee, a dab of fairy dust, a compass that doesn’t point north and wool arm socks. Yes, I really do use all of those things when I dive into writing. Well, except the compass—that’s a bit of a metaphor.

Really though, it is ‘Serious Business‘. This type of edit is the one where you make sure your voice remains consistent, scenes continually move the story forward, all the tiniest details are spot on and much, much more.

If you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter, than you already know that I struggled with Chapter Eight for a couple months. Unfortunately, I had to do some serious gutting in earlier chapters and this was the point in which I had to carefully stitch in tiny fragments from the shred pile. Cutting and pasting with great care, like I was creating my very own Frankenstein-like concoction.

Did I mention it was intense?

Bits About the Emily

But the intense editing part is small potatoes when compared to the struggles I have faced with my main character. Emily Leonard, a thirteen-year-old, that at every turn attempts to assert her independence—even when there is no need for it.

    I seem to be stuck in a perpetual battle of wills with Emily and the only thing I can figure is: that she is in that early-teen, angst-building, rebellious stage of adolescence.

I can understand her need for it occasionally. Like when she is dealing with her adoptive parents. I even get why she uses it to lash out against her peers sometimes.

At times like those; I have a lot of fun writing the tension that her stubbornness creates.

But to turn and use it against the writer?

Everything will be sailing along smoothly and suddenly she refuses to say or do something that I believe will add more spice to the story; only to have her suddenly apply the emergency brakes.

After spending the last handful of years with Emily, I have learned—for the most part—that I just need to let it go. But, instead of letting me know what she wants to do, she will just stand firm in her dislike of my idea. I get no hints or ideas on how she would like to have it change.

I keep trying to tell her to calm down; I am her advocate. But, she never listens! Most of the time—when she goes off on one of her rebellions—I have to get up and walk away from it. At least until I can find a solution that she is willing to live with.

Yes, I realize how strange that all sounds. But, that is what it is like to write this character.I am just thankful that none of my other characters are anywhere near as stubborn.

Where Am I in the Story Now?

Once I finally dug my way out of chapter eight and then blew through the next few quickly. I hit another snag on chapter eleven, but I forced myself to just write through it until I pushed into twelve.

    Once I reached twelve, I realized I am still dealing with plot issues that should have been wrapped up in eleven.I don’t want to sit idol for another five months, so now I have to go back and (hopefully) rework chapter eleven, without any more fuss from Emily.

Total Word count is just over 19,000. So, I am about seven thousand shy of the halfway point in this edit.

Wish me luck!

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