Friday, August 11, 2017

Chapter 8

by Jody Feldman





This past Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I threw aside my revision schedule, took a deep breath, and fully rewrote Chapter 8 three times. Three unique times.

Why?

Feedback from very reliable sources told me they couldn’t relate to my characters. Not good, the reaction. Good, that it made me think.
Did I know my characters well enough?
Did I understand why they acted the way they did?
Did I truly realize what formed the foundations of their emotional motivations?
In three words, no, No, NO.
And so I took the time and the effort to rewrite a new Chapter 8, each day, from the point of view of a different secondary character.

Why Chapter 8?

It’s the one where all four (those three plus my main character) are present for all but the first couple minutes. More important, it's the one where they start forming a relationship that will last for the duration of the book.

The outcome?

Those for-me-only chapters? Some of the most empowering writing I have ever done.
Suddenly, these kids came alive to me. I could hear their voices. I could feel their vulnerabilities. I could see where they would excel. And I can tell you exactly why.
That the very excellent news. The less-than-excellent news is not so bad either. On Wednesday, I restarted my revision, necessarily changing some of my favorite dialogue lines and altering about 80% of the actions and reactions. But this little bit of time, in the scheme of things, has brought me such clarity that I’m still floating on a cloud of character knowledge. And I’ve never been so eager to get back to work.

2 comments:

  1. This is interesting. Always, when I rewrite a chapter, it's using an existing draft. I've never written a chapter multiple times from a blank slate.

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  2. I love the idea of writing the same chapter from the narrative point of view of every character in it.

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