Goal update – January 2015

The passage of time has really helped me to take an objective view of my novel. Now I know what to do and am making the necessary changes.

5 Year Writing Goal: January update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published. This is my update on progress this month with my novel, The Reluctant Scribe.

My most recent – and most helpful – critique was by a retired professor of English literature. She suggested my character needed more reflection and more internal dialogue in certain places. And she thought the ending was too abrupt (another reader made the same comment).

I printed off the whole thing and read it through again. It’s 5 months since I last did this, and the passage of time really helped me take an objective view.  The final decisions made by my main character seemed obvious to me at the time of writing, but with the benefit of distance I realise that the story would be made stronger with more exposition.

Showing is great. But sometimes you have to do a little telling too!

I am making the following changes:

  • Inserting some introspective reflection to more clearly explain my main protagonist’s final actions.
  • Inserting an additional scene, towards the end, where my hero interacts with his brother and demonstrates his own growth as a person.
  • Creating a further extra scene which deals with the main villain of the book. This was something that had been nagging me for some time, unconsciously, and I realised the story would be far more satisfying to the reader if my young Tang boy managed to get his revenge.

These changes should be completed by the end of next month. My only fear is that I get distracted by Birkbeck projects. But the end is definitely in sight.

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

12 thoughts on “Goal update – January 2015”

  1. Hi Ruth, writing a novel is such hard work isn’t it? I’m glad you’ve decided to make changes, and I agree the passage of time really does give you a different perspective. I’ve distanced myself from my novel, I’d just reached a point where I was too close to it, and in honesty I needed to escape for a while. Something wasn’t working, and I needed the escape so I could think about it properly. Its time I got back to it now.

    I wish you all the best with your manuscript. 🙂


  2. It’s funny how it’s common to say “show don’t tell”, but you seem to have really expanded on that so-called rule, Ruth! Introspection is telling. It’s all about hashing out the problem/conflict(s) a character is facing… I never really thought of it that way.

    But hey I suppose rules are meant to be broken (slightly in this case).

    Best of luck with the rewrite!


    1. It’s easy to get hung up on rules, isn’t it, without thinking of the reason they exist in the first place. Too much ‘telling’ can make a boring read. But with no telling at all, you can end up with a series of action sequences and no heart to the novel.


  3. Walking away and coming back to a project is sometimes the best thing you can do! Sounds like you’re on your way! Congratulations!


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