I will admit this post might be too niche for most readers. I bring it up solely because I haven’t blogged in a while, and this is the main reason why.
Deep into my book I decided to do something kind of silly. My book is present tense, so I’ve been very careful not to start any chapter in a flashback. However, for some reason, the way I wanted to talk about one particular section went like this:
1st: Start off in present and establish that everyone is miserable, based on something that had just happened.
2nd: Tell the story in past tense of what just happened.
3rd: Continue the story.
My readers consistently pointed to this chapter as something that struck them as strange. I could see why, it would make much more sense to merely start at the event, and continue. Thereby avoiding this strange flashback to something that happened minutes ago. To resolve this, I began working on converting the flashback into present tense, and it has been kicking my butt! With each sentence I attempt to fix, it becomes clearer and clearer to my why I chose to do it this way. I wanted to hit the highlights of what happened, instead of walking the reader through the entire experience. Of course, there is a way to do that in present tense, but it is much more difficult.
Still, I’m committed to resolving this, because it was a consistent note from my betas as a “problem area.” Unfortunately, there is no magic trick to doing this quickly. It is a painful process, and one that I wish I didn’t need to go through. I think it was the right decision to initially write it that way, because it helped me get on with the story.Now that I’m in the “fine-tuning” stage, this is perhaps the most difficult thing I will have to fix. My only other BIG changes will be revising the first few chapters a few more times, and adding a few scenes that will help support some parts of my novel that are not quite solid.
I think what annoys me most, is that it is taking me days to work these few pages over. I had hoped that those days were over, and I hope that once this is done, I am right. This novel needs to be ready to send to agents soon!