Revising a novel gives me the same dread I felt when writing the saggy middle of my story. I was standing at the beginning of an unending cracked desert and had no idea how to get to the other side. Mouth goes dry. As does every impulse. But in order to get from a crappy first draft to a polished manuscript, you have to go through the storm—the parts that hold your story together, the big stuff. Luckily, I've pieced this process into three steps that keep me sane.
Often revealing character can feel like you’re showing your poker hand prematurely and it’s especially difficult to balance when the plot is character driven (meaning the primary conflict comes from within the protagonist). So how do we help readers understand our characters if our characters are unwilling to share or if sharing runs the risk of weakening conflict?
When I was in middle school, we had an assignment in our English class to read a book and give a ten-minute speech about it at the front of the classroom. *gulp* I absolutely hated talking in front of groups of people, even small groups. I was not only socially awkward, but an extreme introvert with a side of nervousness—the kind of nervousness that makes me lightheaded. I used to think that if I stood very still, like using a reptilian defense mechanism, people’s attention would pass over me (and I could slowly back out of the room). Not so.