Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Granted the tunnel is really far away. But, I can see the light.
These past two weeks I feel like I've made some progress. I started with my list. I needed to organize my thoughts and lay everything out so that I know what I've done and what I need to do. My work, school, and home life balance have been all out of whack. But somehow, I managed to find some time to stick with a revision schedule and do the work I need to do to submit my revisions to my agent, John.
I've completed two out of four of the things on my list. And that's an accomplishment. I was able through all of the chapters and move up the chapters where my main character Mya meets her Millburn friends. Which forced me to read through a lot of my early chapters and find the moments where the pace of the story can be quickened.
In reading through the story for what feels like the twentieth time I am still seeing places where I can make things better. Going back and reading the story with a different lens afforded me the ability to look at the text with a different perspective. I was able to take into consideration different things like themes, continuity with plot and characters. I also took a closer look at my peripheral characters to make sure they were holding their weight in the story. I made some tough choices and cut out a supporting character by pushing her more toward the background. I also had to weave in some moments of foreshadowing and connect some plot lines that seemed to appear out of nowhere. This is different than just writing the story out for the first time. This feels more purposeful. I have to be more disciplined as a writer. Not only am I looking at the text as the author of the piece I also have to live inside it as a reader. Asking myself the questions as if I were encountering the work for the first time. This helps me to cut add, and connect the dots that don't seem to make sense.
My characters have lived inside of my head for so long that they've become a part of me. I know them. But I have to make sure that with these revisions people that will read this work will know them too. I want them to feel for them, laugh with them and yell at them if necessary. In order to accomplish this, I have to make sure that word choice tells the story in such a way that it's not only entertaining but meaningful as well with three dimensional non-sterotypical characters.
I also started thinking about writing a forward or my author's note. I'm thinking a lot about the message I want to share or put out into the world. Questions such as:
Why did I write this book?
What am I trying to say to the world?
How is the city of Newark being represented?
What is the big picture?
Answering those questions will allow me to think about the compendium. Luckily, I have a solid idea of my next steps. Which as of right now involve writing the two new scenes. I'm praying I can get it done this weekend because I'm off on Monday. Once I get this off my plate I can fully focus on digging into what I like to think of as the heart of this work.