Writing is hard.
Now that my whine is out of the way, I really thought when I sent the severely rewritten Act One to Krissie and Bob that I was done. I knew it was kind of slow, but you know, it’s Act One, so there’s some set-up there . . . .
Nope, it’s slow. I have analyzed this sucker, charted it, looked at conflict boxes, I’m ready to scream. And the horrible thing is, I can hear the wrongness of my rationalization even as I make it: But I need that information.
Readers don’t need information, they need story. Must tattoo that on the inside of my eyelids.
Here’s the first part of Act One:
1. Nita in car vs Button (intro Nita),
2. Nick in Bar vs Vinnie (into Nick),
3. Nita in Bar vs Nick and Vinnie (first meet),
4. Nita vs. Rab, finds scupper,
5. Nick vs. Belia on phone,
6. Nita vs. Nick (scupper),
7. Nick vs. Nita (passes out in his arms).
It’s a romance novel. It starts when Nita meets Nick, which is Scene 3. Every scene that N&N aren’t together is going to slow this down. Act Two and Three they’re together most of the time, but Act One, there are big stretches where they’re not. That’s not good in a romance novel.
But it’s also Nita’s book. It’s about her evolution, her arc, so I think the first scene, where she’s trying to deal with a lot of things, may be necessary, possibly with more cuts (argh, now I have to break down the scene into beats). Nick’s first scene, the second scene in the book . . . maybe not. But there’s so much information in there, who Nick is, the impact of scupper, smiting Binky . . .
Readers don’t need information, they need story.
Story doesn’t happen in that scene until Nick torches the teddy bear. He can’t do that in front of Nita. (Expletive here.)
The last two scenes are all action, Nita and Nick together. Leave them alone. Shorten the bar stuff, especially Nick’s scene, Nick’s talk with Belia, Nita making the toddy with Rab. My brains are bleeding out my ears.
Then Part 2 is Nita vs Button (talking about Nick and the shooting), Nick vs Jeo (talking about Nita and Jeo as heir), Nita’s home invasion (all action; she thinks Nick sent the guy). Cut the whole thing? It solidifies Nita’s relationship with Button, an important subplot. It’s really about Button . . .
Part 3 is the breakfast scene, which goes on too long but at least it’s N&N. Then the Mayor warns Nick and the captain warns Nita, so symmetry about authority figures trying to block relationship, plus they’re short scenes (cut the one with the captain).
Part 4 is the black hole. Nita talks to Button, Nick talks to Vinnie, Nick goes to the Historical Society, Nita asks a lot of people questions . . .
Part 5 is the two bombshells, Nita at the Motel and Nick in Hell, intro Max. They’re apart, but it’s story and it moves. Leave that alone.
Part 6 is dealing with Forcas and the act climax with Richiel, N&N together the whole time, definitely a romance novel. Leave that alone.
But those two parts only resonate because of what’s been set-up before. Okay it’s Act One, there’s gonna be set-up, damn it–
Readers don’t need set-up, they need story.
Okay, fine, I’ve got to go back in Act One and do beat analyses.
I’d say “Screw it” and go on to Act Two, but I got a good look ta Act Two last night, and it’s worse.
Writing is hard.
I put the first scene up again here (it’s on the Works in Progress page above, but you have to do a deep dive to get to it so just hit that link below):
If you have time, tell me the places where you skim.