I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the Breakout Novel workbook, now.
The exercises seem to be getting easier. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m resisting them less, or because I’m just getting used to the idea of needing to punch up the book. Definitely not because they’re any less work; most of the exercises end with a variation of “all that work you did? great. now repeat it ten times, for other parts of your novel.”
Things are starting to fall together, though. Changes inspired by one exercise are rippling through the others, presenting new opportunities for making the book better.
For example, one exercise had me work through the story from the perspective of my antagonists. Thinking about what would make their lives harder pushed me to change the occupation of one of my protagonists, and that opened up new ways to make her story intersect with the other characters in interesting ways.
I know that each change I contemplate is creating more work for myself down the line, when I start to actually implement these changes in the novel. But I’m excited about the work, actually, not intimidated. I feel these changes really will make my novel better.
I might not succeed in pulling them off, true. But if I don’t push myself, if I don’t try to make them, I’ll never get any better at this. And that would be worse than failing.