Living the Dream(land)

I’m in the middle of my first round of major revisions for GLAMOUR, and I find myself living in my character’s head(s): inhabiting their houses, going to their bars, dining on their, um prey.  Only in my dreams, of course, but that’s gotta mean something, right?   

This didn’t happen in the first draft.  Oh sure; I knew who my characters were, and where they lived and all, but they acted more like pieces on a chessboard.  I moved them around and made them talk by flexing my fingers.  They weren’t much more than Howdy Doody puppets.  And when I finished that first draft, I wasn’t feeling much of the emotions of the characters.  I wasn’t living in the land of La Vida Loca, if you get my meaning.  I knew that first draft wasn’t telling the story I wanted yet. 
I spent a few weeks taking the story apart, analyzing each chapter and focusing in on the core essence and purpose of every scene.  Duh.  This is Basic Fiction 101, right?  Easy to say, but the more you do it, the more you get it.  Doing it as part of my first round of revisions (even before sending out to early readers) was a first for me, and the process has helped cement my vision of the story world, characters, and main plot. 
Likewise, I went back and made sure that each of my main characters’ wants and barriers conflicted with each of the other characters, and enmeshed them deeper into the crucible, to the point where none of them could walk away.  I sketched out a little chart with four of my major characters names next to three columns labeled WANTS, BARRIERS, and NEEDS. One of the four characters doesn’t even get much air time, but by adding his wants and needs to the list, I was able to escalate the conflict between the other, more major characters.  That really helped me develop some plot twists and subplots I hadn’t considered before. 
The new, resulting beat sheet (aka outline, swing sheet, whiteboard, you-name-it) resulted in a dozen new scenes, a couple new POV characters, and the birth of a clear theme. 
And dreams. 
Last night I dreamed I was sitting in a bar, next to a guy I knew.  To my surprise, it was one of the guys from GLAMOUR.   Stray Cats was playing on the jukebox, and the smell of blood and beer was in the air.  As I watched him, he did some really cool stuff I hadn’t thought of before…
Can’t talk now, I gotta get back to work!
This entry was posted in beast, beat sheet, characterization, emotion, fiction, revisions. Bookmark the permalink.

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