It’s amazing what you see in a manuscript if you haven’t looked at it in…oh, a year and a half! I finished reading through I am Anna Winkler now. I still like the idea very much, but wow, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
The main problem (beyond the sloppily written scenes) I see is as my friend sarahprineas would say: my protagonist is not protagging! There’s a lot of action in this book (probably more action than I’ve ever had in one book before)…and I did a really good job of ending most chapters with a cliffhanger (if I do say so myself)…but my main character isn’t ACTING. She’s REacting.
This is a problem. Reaction does not equal plot.
Can I fix this? Yes, I think so…but it will take some restructuring and, as my Peachtree editor would say, some “recasting.” (I didn’t even know what that term meant a few years ago.) But I think it can be done.
I never outline when I start a new project. In fact, when I was in high school, I would write my paper and THEN I’d write my outline. Now I find outlining helps me in the revision stage. It helps me focus.
But before I can even start outlining, I have to figure out how I’m going to fix this mess. I’m starting by asking myself lots of questions. This is a mystery, so I think it would also help to write out a brief narrative of “what actually happened” and then take that narrative and figure out what order my character will learn what happened. As I do that, I’m hoping my main character will MAKE A PLAN…and begin to protag…once she’s protagging, I can write my outline.
That’s my plan…