Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Over the last couple of months I've made some major changes to Reckless. Well, planned to make some major changes; I'm just beginning to implement them now.
I joined a writing group earlier in the year and, honestly, this has made such a huge change to my writing. I haven't been part of a regular writing group since I graduated university, though I do exchange bits and pieces with friends to workshop every now and then. Honestly, if anybody out there is looking to improve their writing then do go and find a writing group online or in your area - they are so much fun and really do make such a difference. My writing group, recently dubbed the YAvengers (I'm working on the capes), is made up of a great mix of people, all of our novels are completely different but we've gelled so well and I look forward to our monthly meetings so much.
My main issue with Reckless is the pacing, as I've known since I wrote the first draft this time last year it was completely off. It meanders in places, then feels too rushed towards the end. There is so much story I want to get on the pages but I know I need to get the pacing absolutely perfect. Particularly with the beginning, it felt too slow and there was definitely too much info-dumping - basically, a classic case of writing myself into the story. I knew it needed a complete overhaul but I couldn't quite figure out the best way to do this, without losing the information I needed to be included. Luckily, my wonderful writing group came to the rescue and suggested a brilliant solution, which I'm working on now. It's only a relatively small change but has completely changed the pace of the first few chapters and has cut a chunk of 10,000 or so words out, which I desperately needed!
I'm planning on entering Reckless into a competition that closes next week, so I'm going to spend the weekend polishing my new first 5000 words and crying over my synopsis, which is basically a synopsis of DOOM because it causes me that much pain. Whether I get into the shortlist or not, having this deadline has been great for getting me in gear to rewrite my beginning, so I'm really pleased about that.
I'm going to be taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo throughout August, though I'm only going to be editing so not officially taking part. I'm hoping to rewrite the entire manuscript by the time I go to Vegas on September 1st - hopefully I'll manage, as it would be great to fly off and have something huge to celebrate at the same time. I wrote the first draft of Reckless as part of the August Camp NaNoWriMo last year, so I thought it'd be nice to have pretty much finished almost a year to the day after finishing the first draft. We shall see, though. I've kept August pretty free, to give me as much time as possible to write, though most of my weekends are already full. I've got Segway rally racing on the first weekend, my mum's birthday on the third weekend and my university reunion over the bank holiday weekend. Luckily I work part time, though, so should be able to get some serious words produced during the afternoons.
I say I'm 'rewriting' but, really, I'm starting from scratch. There are so many scenes I want to add in and so many I need to take out that I'm basically starting from scratch. I'm so excited about telling the new and improved story; I've been doing a lot of work on my plot over the last few months and chatting over things with my writing group has helped me work through so many problems and figure out the strengths and weaknesses in my writing. I also definitely need to work on my visual descriptions as they're distinctly lacking from this version. Description is one of my big weaknesses, so this is a great opportunity to work on that.
I've also been working on an epic research and planning scrapbook for Reckless, which I'll show you guys as it develops. I was definitely in danger of spending more time sticking in pretty pictures and decorating the margins than working on the book, so I need to keep that in check...
Hopefully posting more regular updates on here will help me, as well, as I always work harder when I know I have to face up and admit to my woeful lack of progress. I'll try and check in once a week, though we all know how great I am at sticking to deadlines when it comes to blogging!
If any writer friends out there are interested in having a look at parts of Reckless for me, do let me know as I'd be grateful for your help!