My heart, am I reveling in the current on-line class I am taking through Boston’s famed GrubStreet creative writing center–a spiritual sister to my beloved Richard Hugo House, in Seattle.
I’m taking the six-week Novel Revision Intensive w/Kate Racculia, author of Bellweather Rhapsody and, most recently, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. Naturally, I am ironsmithing my Crappy Second Draft of Crazy Medicine. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve done thus far:
Our first step was to review each other’s opening pages. Next–this was a killer–we each re-read our book and wrote a letter to ourselves describing what worked and what didn’t. Apparently, it’s a Stephen King Thing. We weren’t suppose to edit; although, of course I did. You won’t tell anyone, will you?
Another part of the letter was to “To Do” list of what needed to be done with the subsequent draft. I came up with: splitting in half two chapters; and adding three chapters, one of which is from the point of view of Lena’s love-nemesis, Ella.
We haven’t discussed Ella, you and I. I need her to be more of a presence, but I’m not sure who she is, except that she comes from Donna, Texas, population 9,ooo, and she would be played in the movie by a young Charlize Theron. Oh, and she’s a leggy coke whore who becomes a meth addict. Character arch!
Next, we wrote a synopsis of our novel, up to 3500 words. This as a fantastic exercise for a novel-in-progress. I saw many places where I had to address transitions, character motivation, oh! All sorts of fun stuff. (And some not-so-fun realizations that I’ll get to, in a different post.) Finally, we had to read each other’s synopses and give feedback.
This week, our assignment is to write a query letter for an agent. During all this, we are continuing with our To Do list.
Next week is our final assignment. What will it be, what will it be?