Lesson 1 – HTRYN (second pass)

13 Feb

How to Revise Your Novel is designed to be a one-pass revision, and this is my second time through with the same book. However, the original ‘book’ was never planned; I had no idea about scenes, plot, conflict, or anything else – other than my vast experience of reading books starting with little ABC cotton books when I was four years old. (That’s made of cotton so they could be washed :)).

After going through HTRYN I had an actual draft – with plot, characters I loved and lots of conflict. I still had some serious problems because I had not been ruthless enough cutting out every bit of story which did not belong to the plot and its sub-plots. You know, all those other story-lines which somehow creep in and make your characters do all sorts of things which are really not related to your plot in any way.

By Lesson 17 I was in serious difficulties – the scene where everyone meets up and pools their knowledge, and the reader fills in a few gaps, was impossible to write because of all those other story-lines!  That’s where I left it for a year.

So, time to get in there again and, with my new-found skills from writing a novelette with HTTS and taking it through HTRYN, hack those other story-lines out to leave my novel gleaming, squeeky-clean and closer to that glorious book I have in my head.

Lesson 1B is a test of perseverence; of facing just how bad the story is. In the first pass it lowered my spirits and required gritted teeth and determination to get through. This time, IB is not so bad. The first scene, taken from three quarters of the way through the book is poorly written. No matter. That can be fixed much later. I can forget about this scene for now.

Chapter two knocked me sideways! I love it! Difficult to imagine how I could write this any better. That sounds boastful but it’s true. It’s the best I can do. It was easy to write as it’s about my MC before life brings her disasters and grimness. She is young, optimistic and fun-loving; she fizzes with life, she’s mischievous and loving.

If only I can carry the way I wrote that chapter, its style, through the rest of the book I would be happy – even if that book didn’t sell. It seems a tall order! Especially as chapter two plummets me into a muse-originated mire from when she decided we were going to write a murder mystery. However, she’s thrown me a few ideas about how I can change the chapter without totally rewriting so I’m happy and I hope she’s happy too. I’ve promised we will write a murder mystery next book.

So, onward! An hour of 1B working my way through the novel. And yes, I can call it a novel now, thanks to Holly’s course 🙂


Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “Lesson 1 – HTRYN (second pass)

  1. Kirsten

    February 14, 2012 at 2:02 am

    You have no idea how much your fortitude inspires me!

    And don’t feel that you are being boastful, when you say you love what you’ve written. I do the same thing, attributing the writing to someone other than myself on those good days. But you yourself told me, it is I who made that writing. Those words, those characters are yours alone, and you have the privilege of making this story the one you wanted from the beginning.

    I’m sure with all the skills we’ve learned in the course, no revision will ever be as daunting as the first one was. I’m cheering for you every step of the way, and can’t wait to read more about your wonderful main character!

  2. Prue

    February 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you. Thank you for pointing out that I have fortitude because this last year it’s so often felt very different than that! Sometimes it takes someone else on the outside to see what’s going on. I feel buoyed up by that comment of yours.

    And thanks for reminding me of what I said. I forget to apply my view of life to myself at times 🙂
    You’re right. They are mine and it’s my story and I love it and all my characters.

    Thanks Kirsten. What a lovely post to read when I logged on today 🙂

  3. rae101049

    February 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Your enthusiam is wonderful to hear. Believe me, I’m with you on every level. Don’t you love it when you write something – a phrase, a scene, or a chapter – that makes you glad to be a writer? Being able to share the wonder of your particular world and your fascinating characters with the reader is a treasured gift.

    You go, girl. You’re on an awesome roll now!

  4. Prue

    February 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks Nancy!
    I don’t know about a roll – it feels more like a slither at times 😀
    It’s made easier by having such good support from people like you and the others who post here who are busy and trying to fit writing in and still have time to drop by to offer encouragement and cheers.
    It really helps. Thank you 🙂


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