Been working diligently on my current WIP, Throwing Rocks at God, and the momentum began on day one and continues. Yesterday, I reached page 102 in the final draft, which I’m thinking now that I should write until completion before sending it off to interested agents. That puts me a little under one-third of the way through.
What I’m enjoying most about this draft is that I completely restructured the plot, which has created a story that even I’m excited to read, which doesn’t always happen. By this time in the process, I’m typically so sick of looking at it that I want to set it afire and dance naked around the pyre. (sorry for the unexpected visual…and all the rhyming)
The original began with a pivotal hanging scene of the main character, Luther, a fourteen-year-old plantation slave in pre-Civil War Alabama. While that particular scene is intense and exciting, it is not the best beginning. For one, that event happens square in the middle of the book (as everyone’s story arc changes dramatically there), and forced the story -in earlier drafts – to then switch to backstory and retell events leading up to that point. Awkward, to say the least.
In this draft, I’ve deleted all the trite “Africans captured and forced into slavery” scenes (I mean, come on! How many times can such a thing be written about?), removed a lot of the cluttery backstory, and began with an event that sets the hero’s story into motion. It’s a quieter opening, but no less impacting on the reader, I feel. I have not yet contacted my beta readers to view this draft, as I’ve made that mistake in the past. In this way, the build-up to the pivotal hanging scene is much more intense.
As a writer, I’m far too influenced by others’ input, and tend to find myself writing for them instead for the betterment of the story. That realization precipitated my departure from my 12 year critique group. I miss the camaraderie terribly, but cannot honestly bring any incomplete work to them for fear of trying to please them instead of what my focus should be: a great novel.
I’m not setting any concrete goals for completion at this point. It’s enough that the momentum continues. I wouldn’t want to interrupt that by placing unnatural and unnecessary boundaries on it.