Today I’m expanding my new rough outline for my second novel. I’m still leaving it big and rough and loose; I don’t want to invest too much time in it in case the editor pooh-poohs my course of action.
After I get the outline onto Pages, I’m going to tackle the more important task for today, which is answering the specific questions outlined by my editor in her letter. They were questions about motivation, especially character motivation, and structure.Â
When I say “answer” these questions, I don’t mean arguing with my editrix extraordinaire that everything she thinks is missing is actually there, somewhere. As I tell my students, it doesn’t matter what you think is on the page, it’s what the reader gets from the page. Not from you; from the page. It’s hard to make that leap into understanding that the essay in your brain isn’t the one on the piece of paper in front of you, and that you have to step back and read it as a stranger would. All of a sudden, when they succeed in this step, my students notice all the lack of specification, the naked “thiss” and “thats,” the weird word choices that made so much sense in their own head, but are actually misleading.
Anyway, this happens in my fiction, but in more hippy dippy ways. I know Jane like I know my left arm. I adore the chick. Seriously. So I find that in this second book (as I did in my first and as I’m trying, really hard, not to do in my third) I don’t really feel like I have to go into her head too much. After all, it’s Jane, and we all know Jane, right?Â
Obviously, the answer to that is “wrong.” I know Jane; readers are getting to know Jane. And it’s my job to make the introductions.Â
So what I meant by “answering” my editor’s questions is more about reiterating, for myself, what I want a certain structure to accomplish, or what I want a certain character’s motivations to be. And then making some connections between what I want and how I’m going to do it. For example, explanations such as, “scene A will help clarify this about Ryu and Jane’s relationship, while scene B will help us understand Anyan a bit better.” That sort of thing.
I have coffee, smoothie, and the whole morning/afternoon to git ‘er done. I’ll let ya know how it goes.Â