It’s time again for another Waking From Innocent Dreams author update. In my last email, I wrote about some of the encouraging feedback I received from early readers who reviewed the first 12 chapters of my book. If you missed that update, you can find it in the newsletter archives on my website.
I’m writing to you this month from Lake Skatutakee in southern New Hampshire. Keen readers of the first three chapters may recognize this setting as the place where my adoptive parents informed me of the existence of my biological family. Being here has served as a nice getaway from everything that has been happening in the United States recently, and has allowed me to spend some time in nature. This is the view from my “office” while I’m here.
Over the past month, I have been working on one of the most challenging parts of any story to write, the middle build, also known as Act 2. What makes the middle build so tricky to navigate is its size, and its complexity. It typically accounts for about 50% of a book’s length and has to deliver on the premise set up in the first act.
The middle build of my book spans 11 years from 2000 to 2011 and covers everything from failing out of my first college, to searching for a suitable career. Throughout this section my character has to juggle the expectations of two very different families, and on more then one occasion takes on the role of peacekeeper to settle family disputes.
To make the middle build easier to manage I’ve broken it into two parts, Act 2A and Act 2B. This month I was hoping to finish or be almost done with Act 2A, but I didn’t quite get there. One reason for this is that I’m working with some of the oldest and least-developed material in the book. The text was of a 3rd draft quality, and it needs to be of a 5th or 6th draft quality. This means I’ve had to improve both the plot and writing quality. I’m hesitant to say I’m running behind, because writing always takes longer than you expect, but I was hoping to be a little farther ahead.
Despite the challenges, I’m feeling really good about the work and can tell that my skills as a storyteller have improved. In the past, it might have taken me a few days to figure out a solution to a story problem, and now it takes me a few hours. This has created the feeling that I’m writing, instead of struggling to learn the craft, which makes the whole process more enjoyable and free-flowing.
Next month is more of the same for me. I've got about four more chapters to complete in Act 2A before I can move on to Act 2B. The back half of my book should be in better shape than the first half, so I'm hoping that I can pick up the pace and still hit my goal of completing the manuscript by Thanksgiving.
I hope you are having a wonderful summer, and I will talk to you again in a month!