Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ROW80: first Weds check-in

OK, I'm feeling a little guilty for not volunteering to be a sponsor . . . but still appreciative of those sponsors who waved their virtual hands and said, "Yes!" Thank you!

Here's my progress on this first check-in for Round 3.

WRITING: Revising Rivers of Stone and having fun along the way. Today, my doctor said she loved Books 1 and 2 and asked when Book 3 would be ready. Still so much work to be done. Today I discovered Great Beluga Whales. I didn't know they were white -- perfect for blending in to those ice-crusted waters of Hudson's Bay. Progress: 100% (started revision July 1). See stats here on Pacemaker.

School of Great Beluga whales (Wikipedia)
Taken by Ansgar Walk at Hudson's Bay

I'll check in Sunday to report progress on those other goals -- blogging, reading, reviewing, volunteer work (2 meetings this week, one last night). In summary, so far, so good.

Now to the fun part: ideas about revision. I was reading an engaging story when it hit me that what pulled me into the story was the RELATIONSHIPS between characters -- their feelings, their actions, reactions, and attachments to each other. Since I'm in revision mode, this made my editing pen quiver. 

How do my characters reveal their relationships -- through action or thought? How does the story drill down to their emotions? 

Then I hit one of my chapter openings that seemed flat. I knew it was flat, a real place holder. So I took out one of my favorite books, Ken Follett's Winter of the World, to see how his chapter openings worked.

Surprise! Every single chapter by Follett begins with a focus on the point-of-view character, specific images, and sensory-based description! Here are a few examples at random:


  • "Ursula Dewar had her own small suite of rooms in the old Victorian mansion on Delaware Avenue" (116).
  • "It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in May 1936, and Lloyd Williams was at the end of his second year at Cambridge when Fascism reared its vile head among the white stone cloisters of the ancient university" (149).
  • "Volodya Peshkov bent his head against the driving snow as he walked across the bridge over the Moscow River" (226).

How could a reader not be curious about the lives of these characters? I'm drawn into Ken Follett's story every time. 

So here's my new opening for a chapter in the first 25% of Rivers of Stone (1840s, historical fiction).

OLD: As the Prince Ruppert sailed north, Cat, Dougal, and Colin saw the first ice since off the coast of Greenland.

NEW: Cat was grateful to be on the deck and out of steerage. After Captain Herd read the gospel on this clear and cold Sunday morning, the crew, passengers, and those in steerage had a few hours of respite. While the passengers strolled along the quarter deck, Cat leaned on the bulwark, next to Dougal and Colin to watch chunks of ice floating atop the waves by the hundreds, each chunk two and three feet across, the first they’d seen since leaving the coast of Greenland.

Have a great week of writing. Check out what others are up to for ROW80 here, and if you haven't jumped in, why not? 

1 comment:

  1. Beth, your revised piece is so much more evocative--great job! *stores that hint away for writing and revising*

    Don't feel guilty about not being a sponsor--I have taken Rounds off here and there. Sometimes there is just too much on the plate!

    It's good to see you on this Round, and I'm sure I'll run into you again. (I'm also waiting for Book 3 from you!)

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