Revising One Character At A Time–Plus A Giveaway!

Revision time!!!

Yes, that does deserve multiple exclamation points because I love to revise. I let this manuscript sit the self-imposed month before even doing a read-through. What surprised me as I was reading was that the part of the manuscript I struggled with the most as I was drafting actually isn’t half-bad. However, there was a very messy plot point I needed to clear up, and I wasn’t sure how to approach it.

Normally my process is to make notes during the read-through (still did that) and then start plowing through revisions from the beginning. But this plot issue was too convoluted for my usual method. At first I started jumping around, making little fixes in various scenes. But then I realized the plot problem was rooted in a character issue–because in the first draft, the boy was really just a foil for the girl. You see, the whole reason I included his point of view initially was to reveal some important information in the opening chapters the girl didn’t know. He didn’t deserve to be an afterthought, a boy without his own story to tell. I knew it was a problem, but I couldn’t deal with it in the draft. At that stage, my goal was just to power through to the end.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.20.27 AMSo here I was, ready to revise but not sure how to bring him into the spotlight, until–ta da–light bulb moment. In the past when I had two POVs, I did a round of revisions where I focused on one character at a time to check voice, character arc, etc., but it was later in the process. For this manuscript, I realized it needed to happen in the very first round of revision. Essentially, now that I had a draft, I needed to revise each character’s scenes as separate novellas, if you will. Thanks to Scrivener, it’s super-easy to move scenes around. I grouped all of the boy’s scenes together, and after I’m finished revising both, I’ll put them back in the correct order. (Yes, this is a screenshot from my Scrivener file, but I don’t think it really gives much away …)

I just finished revising the boy’s last scene. It was a bit confusing at times since I was changing plot points in the boy’s scenes that I will later have to fix in the girl’s scenes, but I have a much better understanding of who he is, what he wants, what he’s willing to do to get it, and ultimately what he’s willing to sacrifice. Only about half of that was present in the draft. It’s likely I’ll do another round like this later, when I’m more concerned about voice than plot and character arc. In any case, I think it’s going to make this draft so much stronger than if I’d worked through the story linearly, alternating between the two characters.

Because I’m in such a good mood–and also because I haven’t made time to write any reviews the last few weeks–I thought I’d give away a couple of books from my Scholastic Warehouse Sale haul. In honor of the boy POV I’ve been revising, I’ll do a middle grade book told from a boy’s POV and a young adult book told in alternating boy/girl POVs. I really enjoyed both of these books but just didn’t get around to reviews. They are: THE HEARTBREAK MESSENGER by Alexander Vance and THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith. Oh, do you need to know what these are about before you enter? Here you go:

The Heartbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance

Quentin never asked to be the Heartbreak Messenger, it just kind of happened. The valuable communication service he offers is simple: he delivers break-up messages. For a small fee, he will deliver that message to your soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. If you order the deluxe package, he’ll even throw in some flowers and a box of chocolates. You know, to soften the blow…

At first, Quentin’s entrepreneurial brainchild is surprisingly successful. But as he interacts with clients, message recipients, and his long-time best friend, Abigail, it doesn’t take long for him to wonder if his own heart will remain intact. Quentin discovers that the game of love and the emotions that go with it are as complicated as they come–even for an almost innocent bystander.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithLucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

Hmm … both of these make a nice Valentine’s Day tie-in as well :). To make it fun, you can choose to enter for one or both of these books. Just click on the Rafflecopter here, and it will ask you. When I go in to pick winners, if the first person it randomly chooses wants both, he/she will be the only winner. If the first person only wants one of the books, there will be a second winner for the other book. Sound good? Happy writing, everyone!

Note: This giveaway has ended.

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