I spent a lot of time rethinking T.J.’s Story last week. Then I started over. TWELVE times. Yes, I really did write twelve different beginnings. I didn’t like any of them.
So…after getting some feedback from one of the members of my critique group (we weren’t able to actually meet face to face last week as originally planned, so knowing how stressed I was about this project (and about my editor’s response to my new outline), she was kind enough to e-mail me her feedback so I wouldn’t have to wait…), I went back to my original beginning. (Well, “original” being the one I wrote at the beginning of the month…when I started following my new outline…the one my editor had some problems with.) My friend LIKED the way I started the story!
And well…I realized the problems my editor had with the new outline had nothing to do with my beginning. There’s no reason I can’t keep that original beginning. So…for now, it’s back.
(That could change if I hear back from the other people in my critique group and somebody else hates it.)
I haven’t actually written up a NEW new outline (I don’t think I will)…but I did go through my first draft (and the 50 pages I had of the second draft) to see what, if anything, else could still be salvaged from those drafts. I ended up with 97 pages of “somewhat usable” stuff. Now “all” I have to do is fix what’s already there, connect it, and then write the last third or so of the book. All in about six weeks.
I got an e-mail from a girl named Stephanie last night. She says, “I want to know if sam’s mom does get custody of sarah!…What happens at the wedding?…Do TJ and sarah grow a real relationship?…” Maybe I should print the whole e-mail and stick it up by my computer to help me focus. THIS IS WHAT THE STORY SHOULD BE ABOUT!!! This is what readers want to know. (That’s what my editor was saying all along…)