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  • Writer's pictureKevin Rothert

My manuscript is ✨ FLAWLESS ✨ - July 2023 Writing Update

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

I have been working NON-STOP this past year to complete my next draft of The Fourth Wall. I needed to deliver a solid opening punch, fill out the A plot, and make my main character Andre sympathetic. I researched, drafted and redrafted, and have crafted a perfect, flawless manuscript...yeah right.

I started with the biggest problem: making Andre sympathetic. I wasn't sure how to tackle this issue so I started researching what others have done before me. If you're interested in how to make your characters sympathetic, I highly recommend checking that video out. From that research I developed a plan.

  1. Give a good first impression based on one of Andre's core values. Weave that value back into the story throughout

  2. Embed Andre deeper into the world building

  3. Give the characters around Andre their own stories and their own lives

With my plan in place I got started. The way I write is with the end in mind, but if I don't have a solid foundation I can't function so I put a LOT of effort into the first two chapters. Making sure that BOTH of my POV characters had a solid first impression and making sure that both the A and the B plot had absolutely solid foundations. Below is the old introduction to Andre compared to the new one. The new one leaves a much better first impression despite having many of the same elements.

"Andre Intro" from previous draft New "Andre Intro"

With a solid foundation in place I pushed forward. The drafting process for me, especially in this draft looks a lot like a rising a falling tide. I push forward then see a problem that's causing me issues so I go back and rework and reshape then press forward again, back and forth, back and forth. Surprisingly, despite most of problems in the previous draft being in the A plot, I struggled the most with the B plot and had to go back several times to work on it.

As I was drafting, A couple unexpected but AMAZING things just appeared all on their own including one my favorite plot twists. (Maybe that's why its my favorite, because it plot twisted me.) I'm insanely proud of what I've accomplished. My previous draft was already the cleanest and most elevated draft I'd ever written of anything and this one is far beyond that. And it's soooo gooooood.

I know I said it's flawless, but spoiler's not. I've done a couple of readthroughs and there are a couple of things I'm nervous about. Due to my writing process, the third act has had the least amount of attention, so I'm nervous it's not up to the same level as the rest of the book or that it lacks some POW. There is also a 3 chapter segment in the first act that feels a little long and slow to me. I've tried cleaning it up EVERY time I've gone back and I don't feel like any of my fixes are really working. I'm hoping to get some help from my critique partner on this section. My final concern is that in this draft I was much more vulnerable. I obsess over how people perceive me. The possibility of disapproval holds me back a lot and freezes me on a regular basis. So it's insanely nerve racking to think that I'm going to put something as intimate as a story from my own head and heart out into the world for people to rate and judge me on and that reality is getting MUCH closer.

In writing this draft I also had a kind of "wow" experience. I almost don't believe what I've accomplished. Previous stories I've tried to write have never felt so satisfying. Plotting just really clicked for me this time. The Fourth Wall is coming together and I'm stoked (and nervous!) to one day, hopefully soon, be able to share it with you!

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