Sunday, February 7, 2010

mulling over my first novel: CCBFA

I suppose I should refer to my first novel by it's title, or at least the working title, which is Cosmic Control: Bronwen's First Age.I'm still in the exploratory stages even though I have written over 50,000 words, had a friend read the draft, talked about the process to everyone I know, written a second companion novel, and had a professional review the first 10 pages. It's still evolving, mainly because it's an epic fantasy/scifi educational transformative plot. So, rather huge. Sometimes I think I'd be better off working on one of the other two novels because they are smaller stories. Sometimes I think I'd be even better off writing a screenplay because that's even shorter.

In the meantime, I did receive excellent feedback from The Editorial Department. They liked the premise, said I had a certain flair, and pointed out that my syntax needs some work. So, skipping the reading aloud part before sending the sample off was not good. I feel encouraged and overwhelmed. So much to do and learn. They pointed me to their book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers, which I had perused — obviously not seriously enough.

I've been mulling over the novel plot points and character development in light of their suggestions. I suppose I should actually write some of those mulled thoughts down. I am not looking forward to improving my syntax nor to refreshing my grammar skills. Hence the mulling. Also, they recommended I axe the first chapter. I hear that's a typical criticism for most first time novelists. However, I feel there are a few points in the first chapter that are pertinent. What that suggestion really points to is that I haven't put enough of the main character into the beginning of the book. And the main protagonist ought to also figure a little more strongly as well. Hence the continued mulling.

Transformational Story
As part of this mulling I have looked at my three favorite stories, the ones I think should most definitely be movies (and when I win the lottery I'm going to make them). As I compared the plots I began to realize that all three are transformational or transformative stories. Oh, I know. All good stories are about some kind of transformation. What I'm referring to is what Robert McKee calls an "Education Plot" which focuses on "deep change within."* I suppose from one perspective that sort of path could be called education. I feel that if there is education going on there ought to be an educator involved. Without the educator there is only experience which offers learning opportunities and not so much education. I prefer transformative. And there's also something spiritual about that sort of deep change within.

Mulling over transformation has sent me on a tangent to discover just what makes a story transformational and what pieces and parts I need to have. Which has sent me back to books and research, as I continue to mull.

 *Story, Robert McKee, Harper Entertainment, New York, 1997, pg. 81.

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