When I finished my first draft, I had a mighty sense of pride. I had written a book. So when I received feedback telling me that my characters were shallow and unbelievable, it was pretty tough. But I was willing to accept the truth, examine the examples given to me, and reassess how I represented my characters on paper (figuratively speaking, since my work has been digital for the most part). My characters haven’t changed. Derek will forever be the suave yet reckless ladies’ man in my mind, but I accept that doesn’t make him very likable. I’ve taken measures to help fix that.
Of the many resources I’ve referenced during my quest for constant improvement is a book called “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder, suggested by a wonderful author named Patrick E. McLean. Mr. McLean’s books are quite entertaining and he knows how to weave a good story. Anyways, in regards to “Save the Cat”, this was a most helpful resource that I would’ve never considered, since it was written for screen writers. But I have taken it to heart and applied it to my writing. A number of things have and will change. The ending will be more complete. The relationships will improve. And, most of all, I’m attempting to implement the tricks from the book to make my characters more likable. So far, it’s been working.
In other areas of character improvement, I’ve focused on the relationship between Derek and MaTisha. Though in my mind, I had envisioned a passionate love, what came out in the first draft was nothing but lust. I’m in the process of thinking up the little things that make a relationship blossom. However, what this means is that the first half of the book is going to drastically change. Hopefully it’ll be for the better.
Another note I wanted to write on is length. When it comes to selling books, shorter books sell better. This is a fact that many different resources have touched upon. I acknowledge it, and realize that I don’t particularly care. I’m not writing a book to make money. I love being a programmer. I don’t have any grandiose dreams of becoming a world-renowned author that can write for a living. Don’t get me wrong. I’d accept fame and fortune if it came my way, but I’m not expecting it. Instead, I want to write my books, make them the best possible books I can, and be content to know that I did it. Yes, they’ll be long. But they’ll be complete.
I am still revising my second chapter. It has been slow progress, but I want this draft to be as close to final as possible. I’m addressing sentence structure, word choice, and grammar. I have joined an online community called Ladies Who Critique and found myself some wonderful critique partners who are providing valuable feedback. All in all, I think things are going well.