• Allison Sloan

Think System

Hurrah, two agents asked to read more of my novel. One even said she’s heard fabulous things about my book! I hope they are patient, because with inspiration and ideas from the GrubStreet Muse & the Marketplace, my novel is undergoing another, and yet another serious round of editing. The ideas and realizations just keep coming. 

In an early draft, an author friend suggested a prologue, and I fell in love with the idea. I wrote something short and mysterious, from the perspective of the missing son. Then an agent suggested it didn’t draw the reader into the first chapter because it was too mysterious.

I actually agreed. I loved the content of my prologue, but knew it was too confusing. So I solved the problem by putting components of the prologue into the body of the story. Very satisfying. But that left me without an opening chapter.

I looked at it as an opportunity to write and rewrite. Who agrees with me? Love the writing. Even love editing. First attempt: I wrote a romantic, totally non-mysterious chapter to introduce the mistress and the flirtatious side of the protagonist. But when I showed it to the agent who had suggested this as an opener, we agreed it felt disjointed to introduce the mistress before you even know there is a wife. And it still doesn’t draw the reader into the story. Conundrum!

I put it down, spent my time writing emails to friends and surfing Facebook for the first time in a year. Meanwhile I was using the infamous “Think System” (as in The Music Man by Meredith Wilson?

Sparks! The Solution!

http://blog.idatix.com/manufacturing-leadership/the-think-system), mulling and meditating.

Then, By Jove! I’ve got it! An opener with insight into a key relationship that improves the flow and leads the reader right into the story… but not from the voice of the missing son, not from the scene of a man and his mistress. Aha! From a different voice, one hinted at in the book but rarely heard. An opening that introduces a pivotal perspective, builds character, peeks into a forbidden relationship. 

No spoilers! But I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. 7+ rewrites later?

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