So, yesterday I sat down and began to apply all that I’ve learned in the last few weeks to what is still, at the moment, called Shore Leave. Here’s what I know now:
It’s going to be a radically different story to the one I envisaged. In draft 1, some stuff happens, but not enough of it, and various things don’t happen which need to.
I finally figured out the biggest problem, which is that while the relationship between Character 1 and Character 2 remains opaque to them, it is clear to the reader. The reader needs to be as confused as everyone else, so they want to find out.
It read more like a memoir than anything else. It needs to read like a novel.
There is at least four chapters’ worth of stuff - really good stuff - in a two-page afterthought written as a letter, which I shoehorned in to the end as a kind of deus ex machina. To be fair, I did know this already; it was something I hadn’t even thought of when I began to write the first draft, but it’s now vividly clear to me what needs to happen with it.
And finally, I need to get going with it. So many ideas in my head now…