This week I’ll be talking about my first draft from the previous week and what I’m looking for as when I made improvements. For this draft, I had my fellow classmates and my professor look at my story and help me find out what I couldn’t see with my own eyes. I’ll just talk a little about the main points that needed work for this post.
So, before I start, if you missed the first draft, or you need a reminder from the previous week, you can find the first draft of The Crime in the Essay here.
What was missing?
The first thing to be pointed out at me was character development. Is there enough in the draft to tell me who is the character? No. I don’t have much information to make me care about the character.
Caring for the character is important to make the story work. Being worried about their fate propels us forward to read more about them. Do I need to add their life’s history to make you care? Not really, but I do need to add enough to make readers sympathize with the character. The reason why someone does what they do is a good starting point, or having someone else care for the character shows that there is something worth caring about, even if we don’t see it right away.
And what about the teacher? What is the motive for the teacher to have committed such a crime?
As it stands, there isn’t much that tells me about the teacher. I really liked the second person point of view, which is one that I feel works well for short stories, but when thinking about the teacher’s motives, I find it hard to add them if the story remains in second person. So I changed it to third person as you’ll see next week. Also, following the same advice than with the main character, I added more information that might enlighten us about what drove her to commit murder. I didn’t add it entirely as description, but as a dialoge, which makes the story move faster for the reader.
What happens to the main character? Does she die? If she dies, everyone knows she was the last one with the teacher, right? These are some of the questions that I was asked. To some it actually feels like the story was cut off in the middle. What was your feeling?
This inspired me to revise the ending into what now looks like a more complete story.
Next week I’ll post the story. Editing is never finished and stories can evolve as time goes by. Some writers take more than 10 years to finish editing their stories, striving to make them better.