Notes from a Writer’s Life #6

In the last post I talked about how the edits on Bleak Waters were caught in limbo, but may suddenly have hit lift off.

Coffee! A writer’s best friend. Particularly when editing and rewriting!

Now, a few days on and the rewrites are slowly but surely progressing.

The key to unlocking the story was changing whose story I was telling. Throughout draft one, I had thought it was Lily’s story to tell, only to realise that actually it was Theo’s when I looked at the heart of the story again.

So far, this change has worked well. I’ve completed two chapters from Theo’s point of view, and have just reached chapter three, where Theo meets Lily for the first time.

I’ve also changed how much Theo knows about his situation.

In both drafts, Theo’s motivation for visiting Hickling is to find out more about his birth mother.

In draft one, Theo knew a lot about her and what had happened to her, which meant there was a lot of telling to do as Theo related the tale to Lily, who then took on the search.

There were two problems with this.

Firstly, it led to a lot of filler scenes which were, quite frankly, boring.

Secondly, and more importantly, to make the story work with Lily as the Main Character, I had to invent a secondary mystery surrounding Lily’s family that gave her a motivation to get involved.

As a result, the heart of the story always felt forced.

By focusing on Theo, and by making him ignorant as he searches for his mother, the story already feels a lot more meaty, with more scope for drama and conflict.

The back story doesn’t change, and there’s still mystery in Lily’s past, but now the story is about Theo, and the conflicts he faces as he searches for the truth.

This does mean that, as I thought. the majority of the story will have to be completely rewritten.

While this may seem daunting, it’s necessary to make the story better, and that ultimately is what editing and rewriting is all about.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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