I've been rewriting my novel for 1 year now. I just got through the 3rd draft revision of the first part, which I'm now considering book #1. Each part is about 80,000 words, so that seems to make sense.For the past year I've been obsessed with structure. What is novel structure? Why does my story feel so meandering? How do I craft a cohesive, fast-paced, inevitable-feeling narrative? So I've read tons of blogs and books and listened to podcasts all about the topic. I've mapped out my story and deleted characters and reshaped scenes and shifted things about, all in pursuit of a story that feels like it's naturally and logically progressing.I did this because I felt confident about other things. My protagonist is amazing. The quasi-co-protagonist is as strong as I can make her, and I'll worry about improving her later. The villain is terrifying, and as long as I make him the consistent villain throughout the book (rather than changing villains halfway through, as I did in drafts 1 and 2), he'll make a good foil and frightening specter that motivates characters and readers.Well, guess what?Over the course of my 3rd draft, new problems with my novel have presented themselves. Some were pointed out by readers who read the first 2 chapters; some I'm starting to suspect myself. These problems?
- My protagonist is inconsistent and not all that endearing, being not very firmly drawn
- My villain is one-dimensional at best, as we have no sense of who he is or what is motivations are
- Speaking of motivation...my protagonist has none
That last is a pretty elementary writing error, common for novice novelists. The other two are probably not too far off either.Besides that, the other major problem that presents itself is...my writing. As in, the quality and clarity of my sentences. My diction. My ability to describe a scene, movement, action, thought. Writing sins that need to be corrected. Messy, wordy sentences that can be cleaned up.Talk about elementary, right? But the truth is, I couldn't focus on the quality of my writing until I'd finalized the major components of my story. So if that's the point where I find myself now, as I'm wrapping up major revisions, then I'm right on track. I've completed my structural changes. I'm not making any more until I get multiple readers, maybe some professional ones.The only thing that gets to me is timing. I want to be done. I want to be querying and moving on to the next project. It's been over 3 years, after all. But as impatient as I am, I can't bring myself to skip the above corrections.I'll revise the first 2 chapters to help strengthen Evgenia's character at the start, and establish her motivation (which I already know). I'll build out one or two scenes in which we can learn a bit more about the villain.And then I'll move onto the next, exciting phase... sharing my writing! That's when I'll share the draft with my 2 lovely beta readers, and start sharing more chapters with my writing group. It'll be fun! As long as the feedback is positive.Ha.