After nine long months of revisions, I have completed the third major draft of Unraveling. My goal was to fix 80% of the problems and create 5% new problems (unavoidable). I believe if you try for 100% you will never get started.
Draft 3 Major Changes
- Broke apart the protagonist’s massive flashback into six segments, evenly spaced throughout the novel. This keeps the reader focused on the present, and prevents the flashback from feeling like a novella withing a novel. It also provides more transitions and parallels to unify the subplots and themes.
- Stayed in the protagonist’s point of view in every scene where he appears. Removed many scenes of other characters’ point of view.
- Removed a lengthy courtroom subplot. It diverted from the plot, tone, and genre of the novel
- Reordered several plot points to improve story flow and evenly space sub plots. Merged scenes and removed some micro scenes for smoother reading.
- Shortened length and sharpened tone of the school subplot so it keeps the horror tone rather than feeling like a young adult coming of age story.
- Cut 6000+ words total length!
Draft 4 Plans
- Increase reader sympathy for all characters
- Reduce family dysfunction, improve character relations.
- Changing a main character’s profession.
- Smooth out the protagonists arc in places where it jumps or backtracks.
- Thread the subplots more closely to the central themes
- Improve voice by keeping simplifying language
- Reduce total length to under 100k. Make every word work for me!
A few beta readers have completed draft 3 with more on the way, so I will get more insight soon. Until next time.