I finished the ‘new’ Chapter 3 of Hansel and Gretel yesterday. It’s a lot shorter than my new Chapters 1&2, more like the length of the original chapters, and I decided that the length feels right. My current note on 1&2 is to go back and break them into three chapters again. However, I won’t backtrack until I’ve reached the end of the story for this revision round because that could change again. If I continued to go back through the first couple of chapters, I’d never get to the end. It’s a joke in one of my writing critique groups that the first chapter of a story is revised the most, like 30 times, while the rest of the story might get tweaked two or three times.
What I feel good about is that this new Chapter 3 (which will become Chapter 4 again) is where I finally feel like I hooked into Gretel’s personality. She’s a snarky lass with abandonment and abuse issues. I call her official psychological diagnosis ‘Evil Stepmother Syndrome’. Classic Grimm, right? Many of my main characters will have Evil Stepmother Syndrome, but not all of them. I plan to cover jealousy, pride, etc. Any you’d like to see?
I also expect to do a little less rewriting and a little more revising for the rest of the story. I do think I have a couple scenes to add, which may be their own chapters, and overall I want to take the story from just over 14,000 to 20,000+. Not that it’s a hard, fast rule, but I want to create a collection of these fairy tales and have a general length range in mind for some consistency.
You’re getting a peek at my revising process. I outline the story to start with, and I organize and plan my revisions as well. I’ll give you a more organized map of where I started and where I ended when I’m done.
While I’m an outliner, I know you all spread the range for style. What does your revision process look like? Do you ‘pants’ revisions like you pants the drafting? Are you a planner like me? Do you have a mix?
(Hint: Here’s a chance to plug something you’re working on or something you’ve completed.)