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Hello everyone!

I have a question/request for some input.  I started my WIP about a year ago.  I am new to writing YA fiction, thus along the way I have had a lot of learning and reading to do.  I still have a lot more!  I feel a bit stuck as I have learned more about the craft.  I would love any help/input you have.

A) I would like to start my first revision even though my manuscript is not completely done.  I have around 80,000 words (yikes).  I have thought of things to add depth to my story and I feel I cannot complete my story without going back and adding layers (while taking some out as well).  Is this an unwise idea?  I feel like it is my best option. . .since I feel my story has changed a bit.

B) As I have learned more and read more, I have an urge to change my narrator to first person.  Is this completely crazy?  Or doable? 

C) Can anyone recommend a book on craft that focuses on narrative voice or first person narration?

I would greatly appreciate any input or advice!  Thank you so much!
#1 - December 16, 2013, 02:05 PM

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Well, everyone writes a bit differently, so if you feel your story has changed enough that you need to get the earlier bits straightened out before you finish, go for it. There is no "wrong" way to write a book. What's "right" is the process that works for you.

You want to change to first person? Go for it! I would save it as a new file so that you can go back if you find you don't like it so much. But you'll never know until you try, right?

Two books that I highly recommend about craft are Cheryl Klein's SECOND SIGHT and Mary Kole's WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT. They're both great on voice, character, plot, etc.--really a lot more in depth than any other book I can think of, and their examples are all from kids' books. Another thing that really helps me when I'm stuck, craftwise (besides reading--yes, you definitely should read bucketloads of books that excel in what you're trying to develop!) is critiquing someone else. Because the things they do well will open your eyes, and the things they don't do well are sometimes the very things you're struggling with, and in trying to explain just how something succeeds or is weak will help you figure out your own issues.
#2 - December 16, 2013, 02:37 PM

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I second olmue's advice (Cheryl Klein's book is great!), and also agree you should GO FOR IT! You could open a blank file, and start over with the printed ms right beside you. Try the 1st person out for a few chapters and, if it doesn't work, you'll probably know by chapter 4. Starting over will help you naturally infuse what you've learned about craft in the past year.


Starting over has led to some of my best revisions. Good luck!
#3 - December 16, 2013, 02:43 PM
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(A) I'm one who revises as I go. Yes, if I felt I had new ideas for layers, things to add and things to take out, I'd go back and do that. If I just plowed ahead, I'd feel like I was writing an ending that wasn't going to work, for the most part, anyway. I should note that this is how *I* work, and that each writer arrives at his or her own process. Many would not recommend starting any revision until they'd pounded out a draft. But if you think you need to, I tend to agree, and I wouldn't discourage that at all.

(B) Very doable. Major revisions like this take place all the time! Save the third-person draft, of course, but definitely try first and then compare the two. Which is working better? If you have a feeling you should try this change -- you should.
#4 - December 16, 2013, 04:44 PM
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I think it's completely doable to change your narration, especially if you're starting back at the beginning. I had to do that for a novel and it was a real learning experience for me as well. I would totally do it again just to learn more about what works for my writing style.
#5 - December 16, 2013, 06:01 PM
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I am also a constant reviser. Just do what works for you and your novel!

I've found WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK (Donald Maass) to be incredibly helpful during revisions. It's an actual workbook, so I scribble answers to the various questions, brainstorm in the margins, and re-imagine plot points, character arcs, etc.
#6 - December 16, 2013, 06:08 PM

Hi Terral,


1. I belong to the "write your first draft first" camp and always get the whole story on paper before starting the editorial process. Why? Because I read somewhere online (can't remember where) about how the first draft is like mixing clay for a sculpture... the clay should be mixed and kneaded in the right consistency - not just parts of the clay but the entire clay needed to make the sculpture - and only then should the sculptress start her magic and start shaping and chipping... oh there was more to it naturally, I'll search for and post the article link here in a while but that analogy stayed in my mind. However, if you are 80k words into the novel and feeling something is terribly wrong, best to correct it right now. Otherwise - just finish your tale, let it "sit" for a few weeks, and start the revision again.


2. As the author, you should do what you feel is right for your story. If the hunch is very strong, go for it. Most YA books (at least the ones I have read) are in first person anyway... including mine  :)


3. WRITING AND SELLING THE YA NOVEL by K. L Going is an absolute treasure, I swear merely keeping it beside my work station inspires me! Here is the link [size=78%]http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Selling-Young-Adult-Novel/dp/1582975159[/size]


HTH,


R
#7 - December 17, 2013, 06:15 AM
12 books in 12 months! Follow my Chapter Book 12x12 journey at www.childrenswriter.in

« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 06:46 AM by writingale »
12 books in 12 months! Follow my Chapter Book 12x12 journey at www.childrenswriter.in

Thank you all so much for your very helpful input/responses!  It really means a lot.  I appreciate the book/link information as well.  I am in the process of finishing up Writing The Breakout Novel (Maass) and it has been very helpful!  I was, however, unaware that a "workbook" existed as well?!  I will look for that.

Thank you again for your help!!

-Terral
#9 - December 17, 2013, 09:23 AM

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Yep, there is a workbook as well! Love it.

#10 - December 18, 2013, 09:10 AM

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