I spent November away from working on the Dancer’s Tale novel. During that break, I had an epiphany. Well, sort of. I considered welding the first and second novels together. I spent a few days considering my options. But, after being depressed and much deliberation, and a book that helped considerably (see the link at the end of this post) Elizabeth Lyons explained why that would be a particularly bad idea. (Lopsided on protagonists and split loyalties).
In the end, my true Epiphany, after talking to my editor over dinner, was that my opening chapter needs another look and some serious revisions. Whew! (Don’t tell anyone I had already started weaving the two together!) Is that all?
Well, that sounds easy. Fortunately, I happen to love revisions. Without a fascinating first line (paragraph, page, chapter) most people aren’t interested in turning pages. Rare is the one who wants to read an exciting book past a dull opening. And can I be honest? I had a terrible opening. I didn’t like it at all.
Revisions are the answer. A trajectory shift. Not a 180 degree, heck not even a 90. You might be surprised how much difference a subtle shift of one degree would make. It wasn’t necessary to shuffle the bones of the book, just a few tweaks. It will take time like dieting takes time, but, I was glad for this little reference gem: Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.
If you haven’t begun a reference book stash, this is not a bad first book to snag for your shelf. If you’re serious about writing, it won’t take you long to accumulate a dozen or so titles. Over the course of the next few months, I will share the ones I have found most helpful. I hope you will share yours with me too!