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February 21, 2011 / Chersti Nieveen

RIP dear Gresham

Awhile ago, I blogged about how Ally Condie mentioned she’d revised her first page and the changes that brought about (see blog post here). So I thought I took this advice, as I’ve revised my first chapter like a billion times . . . though that might be a slight exaggeration.

But it wasn’t until I got this amazing brilliant idea suggested this weekend (a big thank you goes out to Jeni for stating the obvious. And even Jeni’s read this chapter dozens of times!).

You see, I have this pointless character name Gresham (whom I just love — isn’t that always how it happens?) that shows up in chapter one of TLO. He’s perfect for the scene, and such a fun character. But he NEVER SHOWS UP AGAIN! Now Jeni had this brilliant idea that I take him out and give that scene to Dr. Brennan, who is Mykelle’s mentor while in the colony. And I’m just like: Gee . . . how is it that I never thought of this brilliant idea. That way an important character is revealed earlier on, and I don’t give stage time to some (practically) nameless person who has no point.

Of course, this brilliant idea switched things up a bit, since Dr. Brennan’s character is different from this now dead-to-my-story Gresham. But it also added a bit of spice. So I spent hours and hours perfecting this first chapter (again). And here’s a picture of John Grisham (from his Random House UK author page), whom I *slightly* named my Gresham after. RIP dear character . . .

 

So that’s my success story for the day. How’s your writing been going? Any small stories of success (or rather ‘duh’ moments)?

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10 Comments

  1. Amie Borst / Feb 21 2011 5:49 pm

    i had an a-ha (or a DOH!) moment back in the fall. caused me to rewrite my ENTIRE manuscript. added 75 pages 🙂 was SoOoOoOo grateful to my crit partner who simply made the comment in passing. she could never have known how that would have impacted my story. but it filled in a thread that was missing all along!

    go team CP!

  2. Leisha Maw / Feb 21 2011 6:07 pm

    Oooo, I like it! That would add spice. 🙂 I had one of those kind of moments this week, too. But instead of replacing them, they get to tag along for the whole journey. Sigh. Now to rewrite. 🙂

  3. Chersti Nieveen / Feb 21 2011 6:21 pm

    Amie: I just LOVE Critique Partners. They are worth all the pearls of wisdom they spit at us! And it’s amazing how their little comments just bring out huge elements of our story. And 75 pages — wow! I’m actually trying to cut, and so far all the changes I’ve made I’ve managed to keep within the word count (and even cutting in some areas). So I’m excited that despite the changes, my manuscript has actually lessened in word count. But it took a lot of (much needed) pruning!

    Leisha: I’m glad you like the idea 🙂 I have to admit I am a little nervous about how this chapter will be received, but still excited at the same time. I do think it’s great advice, though — sometimes if you have a small character, you either have to take them out or make them stronger. I am so excited to see your revision, though!! Good luck with the whole thing.

  4. shalleemcarthur / Feb 21 2011 6:23 pm

    Me likey. I read it just after you sent it, and it works so much better! Just ties everything in. I had an “aha” moment after group last time, realizing I needed to start my new wip a tad bit earlier. It’s likely to still change a ton (it is, after all, the first draft), but I’ve got something better to work with now.

  5. Chersti Nieveen / Feb 21 2011 6:28 pm

    I am so glad you like it *huge sigh of relief*

    Starting a WIP can be the hardest thing — just knowing that exact moment to start. This one I knew right away, but with my other one I’ve changed the first chapter over five times trying to find that right spot. It’s that darn first chapter that keeps the manuscript in limbo, too, because the rest of the book is shiny!

  6. Joel Smith / Feb 22 2011 8:11 am

    My a-ha moment didn’t come to me, it came to Chersti. And then she told me, and I was like “Oh. You know what? You’re absolutely right!”.

    It wasn’t a small thing, either. I went from writing a YA sci-fi to a Adult sci-fi, and it works so much better! Of course that does change a lot of things, including who I submit this novel to, etc.

  7. Chersti Nieveen / Feb 22 2011 8:22 am

    Joel, I am sooooo glad it is working out for you though! Seriously, you are just an amazing writer, and I can’t wait to see how the book comes out as an adult SF. I’m making HUGE changes on my book, too, and the revisions are going pretty fast, and I think it’s just been fantastic with how it’s come out. But I am just so excited for you!

  8. Karen Krueger / Feb 22 2011 10:58 am

    Ha. So you know…after reading your manuscript in the last FNR, I totally thought that it was Dr Brennan. (I thought this later in the book when we see Dr Brennan in the colony. I was totally thinking he was the one we meet in Ch 1).

  9. Liesl / Feb 22 2011 1:25 pm

    Oh how I love those aha moments. They just make the world a little brighter.

  10. Chersti Nieveen / Feb 22 2011 2:18 pm

    Karen: That’s great to know. Maybe a lot of people thought that, so it never came up. Alas, Gresham was indeed pointless. I guess I was just in denial for all those drafts in which he lived in my first chapter. Gresham was always just a recruiter, though. I’m pretty sure he made it into the Colony, even though most recruiters wouldn’t have made it, but Gresham is just awesome like that.

    Liesl: Only took my five tries to get my fingers to type your name right this time! And I have to agree — those aha moments make the world a brighter place. They definitely make me feel smarter!

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