Saturday, 8 February 2014

A problem with my novel

The other night I was finally ready to get started on revisions. I decided in an instant to work on DAPHNE II. First, some history about this story:

  • I started it in 1999, and finally finished it in 2009 (DAPHNE)
  • in 2012 I rewrote it for NaNo, and it became DAPHNE II (this involved quite a transformation but with the same main theme)

(NB: Daphne is the main character, and yes, "DAPHNE II" is a temporary title)

So anyway, the other night I opened up my "Daphne" Scrivener file, and what did I see? That horrible opening to the first chapter that totally needs to be rewritten. In fact, the entire chapter needs to be rewritten.

Right now it consists of a boyfriended-up Daphne flirting with a new bad boy in her life. Which is sooooo not the intro I intended. At the beginning of this story, Daphne is starting university as a "mature age student" (she's 20). Most of the rest of her life is going to ruin, but she's determined to get through her first year at uni - and to excel. This will be one area of her life that is in perfect working order, no matter how crap the rest gets.

In short, she's not interested in flirting with an obnoxious bad boy whose main aim in life seems to be getting as many girls' phone numbers as can fit in his phone.

There's more to him than that, of course, but that stuff comes later. And right now I feel that I have a cliff face to scale in order to rewrite this first chapter and so reposition the whole story. Just now it occurred to me that maybe I should just cut off the whole start of the novel and rewrite it later, starting revisions further in. Because it's really holding me back from getting stuck in.

Anyway ... long story short, seeing that first chapter, I instantly froze, and a moment later I shut down the Scrivener file. I just couldn't do it. So I switched to SQUEAKY, which is my revision project for the time being.

Still don't know what to revise in March for NaNoEdMo.


  1. Oh, you poor thing. I can sympathize so much. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to finish a piece of long form fiction. Ever.

  2. Get rid of the chapter and just write it the way you want it! Stop avoiding it...avoiding is bad!!! Trust me, I'm an expert avoider, LOL!!!
    I'm keeping the faith! :)

  3. Good luck with your future revisions. It can seem so intimidating at the start, but it gets easier, and it's all worth it in the end. I've been really proud of myself for some radical revisions, rewrites, and restructurings, even if I'm also feeling nervous about having to do it all over again for several other older books.

  4. It's amazing what you see when you come back to a project after a little time. All the great stuff doesn't look so great, but it's all part of the process, or so I tell myself. I think once you know something is in dire need of rewriting you don't have to do it immediately, nor do you have to do it linearly. i always do the stuff that's easiest first so I get some momentum going. Also gives me time to formulate a new approach for the harder stuff.

    Moody Writing

  5. I can relate to this so much. I'm not finished with my first WIP yet but had my daughter read the first chapter. She found a snag already. Yikes!

  6. There's nothing wrong with starting in a different place during revisions. Sometimes reading further into the novel can help too. Good luck!

    Have a good weekend!

  7. I've been reworking the opening of a novel that hasn't been picked up by a publisher. The rest of the novel is great according to CP's, but this opening...grrr. Good luck. We have to keep working at it.

  8. I've done that so many times now with my first novel. The opening for the first chapter makes me want to scream, but i keep procrastinating fixing it. Ugh.


  9. So start at another point if it will help to to start at all. That will also give you time to think about how you want to redo the beginning.

  10. I think young readers might like that opening chapter! Girl flirts with bad boy! What's not to like? Think about it...

    Some of my novels have been having the old once over so many times, I'm flat out finding the latest version at times, so kudos to you for actually finding your latest version, and super kudos to you for mastering Scrivener. I've tried and just wasn't willing to spend the time. I know I should....

  11. Start anywhere in the story...start from the end and work backwards. Anything to get some momentum going, then things will start to flow. Getting started is always the hardest because that's when you find the holes and disconnects in the story that make you want to rip it up and start all over. Good luck! :)

  12. I hate it when that happens! You really have to be in the right mindframe to re-work a full chapter. But now you know what needs to be done, you can think it over while working on other projects, until you're ready to get back to it. :D

  13. Sounds daunting. I like Alex's suggestion - start where you feel you can, then come back to fix the beginning.

  14. Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you but coming back to the problem part does sound like the best idea- focus on what's working so you can come back and refocus the beginning.

  15. I can empathize. I just threw out another 40,000 owrds a few months ago, and have barely come back to that word count again. Writing you an email :)


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