Saturday, January 7, 2017

Home Stretch

I just may be in the home stretch of this last set of major revisions to The Single Eye.

I've done some minor rejiggering to make my female protagonist's motivations clearer as she convinces herself to do what she does at the novel's climax. A lot of that involved taking scenes out of the male protagonist's point of view and putting them into hers. All this is good for the book in general because it highlights her character arc. And I'd wondered if that was getting obscured.

One of my latest beta readers complained about the way I switch the POV back and forth between my two main characters in the course of a single chapter. She's pretty sure, she said, that that's not something an author should do. I paid no attention to this. Good and great authors do it all the time, and it's particularly kosher if you put a line/scene break between the POVs. Which I've done.

But as I communicated further with this beta, I learned the POV shifts that bothered her particularly came at the novel's climax. Far from speeding up the action, the switches between the female main character's point of view and that of the male MC only slowed things down. My reader kept having to stop and wonder, "Whose head are we in anyway?"

No other beta has mentioned that, but I think this one is right. So I've rewritten that bit so it's entirely in the FMC's point of view. This has enabled me to cut out a chunk of business from the MMC that wasn't really material, making the scene tighter and more dramatic. (Besides, the more I can cut out, the happier I am.)

I've also cut out a plot wrinkle I put in about a year ago. About that same time I got into listening to the Writing Excuses podcasts, and more than once they've emphasized that it doesn't really work to throw in one more challenge after the climax. Your reader's reached the big climactic high, they want to release their tension, and it's not fair to make them ratchet their emotions up yet again. More than that, it's hard to make them care enough to try. This point was reiterated in an episode I was playing this past week, and the penny finally dropped. I edited that plot wrinkle out today. I'd only put it in to keep knowledgeable readers from picking holes, but I'll deal with that another way.

The last challenge has to do with my FMC's character arc. To get that right involves rethinking the personality of a minor character, a county sheriff. I have to transform him from a generic intelligent nice guy into a by-the-book hardass who'll grudgingly concede a point when the facts tell him he has to. My FMC has to come out of the conversation struggling with herself over whether she did the right thing in the climactic scene or not--- and come to terms with the fact that everything in life is not cut-and-dried and under her control.

. . . Just writing that last line has got me clearer on what her arc is about. Which I hope makes this really long post worthwhile.

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