I had my first thesis meeting of the semester today.
My advisor, having read the first 80 pages of my rewrite, was scratching her head, trying to figure out why my story doesn’t seem to have a heart. She seemed genuinely stumped.
The structure is good, she said, as is the writing, and yet something is missing. Once I got over the shock of hearing that my story (the story I pour my blood and guts over every day) has no heart, we got busy brainstorming about why that might be.
Again, it seems to come down to my main character. Talulah has no flaws, and she doesn’t have any strong reactions. Life just kind of happens to her. That’s not to say that the things that happen aren’t interesting. I feel I’m being plenty hard on her, it’s just that I’m not getting much reaction out of her, and therefore, I’m not getting her onto the page effectively. As my advisor said: “if this were a screenplay, it would be perfect. The actor would fill that in.”
But it’s not a screenplay.
So the second thing I’m dealing with is fighting off discouragement. The pep talk in my head goes something like this: I am in the process of revising. This is a draft. I never had any illusions about this being my final pass. This is the process of writing a novel. Take comfort in the fact that so much is going right.
Then I just think it’s time for a glass of wine and at least one episode of “Lost.”