Posted by: Kathleen Mix | January 2, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board

Writing can be a pleasant experience when words flow from your fingertips to your computer screen and pages add up quickly. Or it can be a frustrating task where you’ve hit a brick wall and your story is inert and unconscious.
A few months ago, one of my manuscripts hit a brick wall. The story was finished, or so I thought. But I still felt something was off. Missing. Just not right.
I filed it away on my computer, let it cool, and went to work on something else. And one day, while I was working on another plot, the truth came to me. That story is far from right because my heroine appears to be stumbling along without an important goal. Even worse, she has a weak character arc.
For non-writers, let me explain. A character should have a weakness or inner demon holding her back at the beginning of a story and learn to overcome it as she progresses toward the end. When she’s conquered her inner demon, she can succeed in her exterior goal. Writers call the growth process or learning experience of the hero or heroine their character arc.
My heroine had an arc, but it was anemic because I’d focused too much on the exterior plot and neglected to develop and show her interior growth.
My manuscript needs a rewrite. I know her arc, but I must create scenes that show her recognizing and overcoming her flaw and let my reader see it too.
So, I’m headed back to the drawing board to pinpoint the components I need and then fit them into my story. Some scenes will be cut, others will be strengthened or added. But even before I have a plan in place, I’m anxious to get started.
By identifying the flaw in my manuscript, I’ve scaled the brick wall that has blocked my path. Ideas and words are flowing freely, and I can picture those new words and pages pouring from my fingertips.

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