In Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast with Rachel Kushner, they talked about voice being the most important thing in a novel. Many argue that structure or plot are the most important aspects of a novel. You need the dramatic arc, you need your plot points, you need the inciting incident, the point of no return, the denouement, etc and if you are missing those literary landmarks your reader will never get to the end. But as Bret Easton Ellis and Rachel Kushner both agreed, there are a lot of books that lack conventional plot or do not follow any of the story structures made famous in Vonnegut’s “The Shape of Stories” that still are compelling and moving to read. These stories are built on a strong narrator with a memorable voice.
I have not yet found my narrator’s “voice” but felt in today’s writing that I was getting closer. Hopefully, in the coming days, I will find more of her voice.
I know already that I need to rewrite the first chapter entirely. There needs to be more of a conflict introduced. The setting needs to be more clear, the events need to be better written and the stakes need to be set. Right now there’s nothing at stake, the conflict seems small and the details are shaky. No one other than my mother and my closest friends would read past that first chapter.
Before I get too far into the book, I may need to go rewrite that first chapter. Then I need to clean up the second chapter and then also the third.
As for tomorrow, day four, Chapter Four, I’m in a tough spot. I don’t know what will happen next. I have an idea for some plot points but don’t know how to move the story forward. Do I write a scene about Shelly and Lydia to explore that relationship and the conflict there more? Do I show Lydia back at an event with the Lady Lionesses, exploring that dynamic and why she is having a change of heart about her participation there? Or do I introduce another key character, Karolina, and older and wiser woman who becomes an advisor to Lydia. Decisions decisions!
In the meantime, here is Chapter Three