Second stage of the twelfth draft done. All the new chapters I had written to introduce the new character have now been revised, to make them even more reflective of that character. Some had already been re-written for writers’ groups. But it now means the forty-two chapters with her in them are up-to-date.
Which leads to the next stage. The novel is told from two characters’ points of view, by alternating chapters. By my estimate there are about twenty-one from the established character and now forty-two from the new one. Somehow, they’ve got to fit together.
One the reasons for the disparity is that, in writing the new character, I allowed myself to follow hunches and go off-piste, meandering away from the boundaries of the original structure. Very good for creating the freedom for the character to flourish; not so good for putting it all back together again.
Which is why, yesterday, I stood in the Rymans opposite Charing Cross Station, looking at their full range of Post-its: heart-shaped, arrows, full traditional squares, little flappy ones, colourful spirals. I picked the pack of small-squares. Four different colours, one for each character and the extra ones for their subplots.
I’ll go back through the chapters, write a brief account of each on a Post-it, then see what it all looks like when I arrange it all on the table. The advantage being that they are easily moved around.
I’m looking for a clear structure and perhaps new insights into the ways in which their stories intertwine. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to let go of some more writing I like.
I’ll let you know how I get on.