One exercise I've been playing with is having a go at writing query letters for my previous novels, and realising the reason I gave up on them was that they were too convoluted and confused to summarise. I'm going to have a go at the children's book later, see if I can come up with something there. As my tutor said, months ago, what's your book about? I think this has got to help.
However, as I've said before, reducing my rambling manuscript to a few concise, appealing lines, is actually helping me rewrite said MS. One of my lecturers recommends putting a sentence summary of your book, what it's actually about, on a post-it where you can see it as you write. How small a post-it, she doesn't say, something about A3 would do it... Seriously, I am starting to clarify for myself what the book is about and that's really helpful. Now I just need to divorce myself from the idea that the original 87 000 words must have something worth keeping in them, and get one with a proper rewrite.
The reason I embarked on this writing course lark in the first place was to work on pace. Finally, I'm starting to make sense of my writing style, realising that the balance between action and reaction is way off. Readers need a reason to keep reading, their time is precious, if they get bored or confused they won't bother to keep reading. In the first draft I have an action scene, then four static, reaction scenes where people sit down and talk about the action in scene one. Then four action scenes, one after the other, too much to take in at once. Silly me. I was too worried about swapping POV (point of view) but have accepted that this book needs different POV which will collide into Jack's at the end. I just need to establish Jack as the main character whenever possible. Now the three assignments looming up can take centre stage...
Meanwhile, I'm packing up to go back to Winchester and a different pace of life.
|Dodger working his way through a pile of paperwork|