Monday, December 29, 2008

A New Beginning

I'm making progress with The Other Side. I've been writing 1000 words per day and I figured out that if I keep up this pace, I'll reach 60k a few days before my dad arrives. (I'm at 52k now.) That allows me to spend two days editing throughout, which I'm also doing as I write, then I can send it to my next reader when he arrives. I assume I won't get anything done his first couple days here so this way I won't feel guilty.

A third reader made an interesting comment to me. She felt I did the opposite of what most writers do, and started the book too late. The way it stood, it opens in a holding cell and how he was captured is only briefly mentioned. She suggested I open with the capture so the reader is more sympathetic towards him right at the start. She also suggested I injure him so he has another thing to worry about throughout the book.

For those of you who don't write, a common suggestion is to make everything bad that could happen, happen. If they need to be someplace at a certain time, have the car break down. The money in their pocket is all they have in the world, then they should get robbed. And probably kicked in the head for good measure. This creates a more sympathetic character that readers want to keep reading about.

I've done made her suggestions and I'm very pleased with the results. Today I plan to go through and insert places where he tends to his wound. Something tells me it will get infected. ;)

How about you? Have you taken someone's advice and found it drastically changed your writing for the better? Care to share that advice?

14 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

I can't think of a specific example right off, but I'm certain it's happened to me with my writing.

I agree about making as much bad stuff happen as possible. I mean, you don't want overkill if the plot doesn't call for it, but it makes the sweet reward (whatever that may be) at the end that much sweeter.

Great work!

Nadine said...

For my last book, I had it more of a frame story where it started in the present, then went back to the past, and then ended in the present.

But a beta suggested instead to toggle back and forth throughout the book. I did and it really helped the story! I was quite pleased.

Yay for doing 1,000 words a day!

Capt Gary Hooyenga said...

Get it done! I'm a comming. But son't let my arrival interupt your patterns..

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, I was worried that a stab wound would be overkill, but it's not life threatening. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, it sounds like that advice really helped you. Sometimes we're too close to our own work and need someone else to point out what later seems obvious.

Melanie Avila said...

Gary, you won't interrupt my schedule, I'm adjusting my schedule for you. :) At least for the first couple days while we get you settled.

Pink Ink said...

Sounds like some great changes to the story. Good luck, you're almost there!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Pink. It's nice to have you back. :)

spyscribbler said...

Yay!!! Sometimes I feel I'm almost a voyeur, writing "entertainment" about this character going through HELL, LOL! I don't know. :-)

ac said...

"She also suggested I injure him so he has another thing to worry about throughout the book."

For whatever reason, that quote above tickled me. I can't stop laughing.

"Have you taken someone's advice and found it drastically changed your writing for the better? Care to share that advice?"

Aaron said my MC was too young (she was five). So I made her 11. I know his advice is good because I'm pulling my hair out making the change. Something good has to come out of the pain I'm feeling. :-)

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, I'm feeling that way right now. The scene I'm writing has suddenly turned steamy and I'm almost embarrassed to be watching, lol.

Melanie Avila said...

AC, I'm glad that amused you. :) I know it's logical for writers to do that, but it still seems weird to WANT to hurt them.

I hope the age change is worth it. I know what you mean - if it's a struggle you can't help but think it better be worth it in the end!

ac said...

Thanks, Mel. I finished my nonfiction book and this past weekend I started to edit my fiction book. I spent the whole weekend reworking the first five hundred words and it's still a mess.

I know I should move on to other parts of the book, and hopefully will do so soon...

Melanie Avila said...

The first five hundred are the most important, right? Good luck to you!