Friday, September 23, 2016

Storyteller's Journey

Photo credit: Public Domain
  This Author's Humpty Dumpty Rewrite

          *     *     *     *     *     *     *
  Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
  All the King's horses,
  And all the King's men,
  Couldn't put Humpty together again!

    ~ An English Nursery Rhyme ~

When I received my editorial notes last winter, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that I do have skills as a writer; the bad news was that my light fantasy novel needed to be restructured, etc. While that might sound simple enough, nothing could have been further from the truth! And while Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall and could not be put back together, my middle grade manuscript has been torn apart, and indeed been put back together. It's been restructured, strengthened, tightened, and given a much needed dose of magic. It's taken me eight months to complete - and it still needs revisions & edits!

Tackling a major rewrite is not for the faint of heart.

Here is a list of traits required to achieve a Humpty Dumpty rewrite:

*Perseverance - being a stubborn soul helps!

*Conviction - that your story is worth the time and effort.

*Knowledge - you must clearly know what is wrong with your story.

*Organization - to  improve your manuscript you must have a plan.

*Love - you must love your protagonist & your story to see it through.

*Belief - you must believe that once completed, the novel will sell.

*Drive - you must be driven, single-minded, not easily distracted.

The above list is clearly not for the casual writer. So why bother?

As I mentioned above, I did just complete my rewrite, but it still needs revisions, beta reading, and possible edits. Then there's the crafting of the dreaded query letter. Submitting to an agent is still months away. However, I'm already reaping rewards from the painstaking process.

Over the last eight months I've developed more writing muscle!

It's not difficult to sit down with a cup of coffee & jot down a few action scenes with your favorite character. However, a major rewrite is like tearing down a house, picking up the pieces, then reassembling the house into a better version of itself. Being a nerd/student-type helps.

Note: I recently purchased THE MAGIC WORDS by Cheryl B. Klein; the timing of that book's arrival could not have been better! While I have completed my reading of the informative resource book, I have not yet completed the exercises included in its pages. I plan to slowly reread the book and then complete most of the exercises. I strongly recommend that every writer of MG, & YA fiction, read the book - it's that good. Ms. Klein even includes the key elements in a manuscript that she always looks for when considering an author's submission.

We'll see if my Humpty Dumpty rewrite gains me agent representation. If not, I'm still a much better writer for having gone through the process.

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