Oh my, now the real writing starts!
My first draft isn’t total dreck. There are some bits that are okay, and the ending had me teary when I read it, so I must have done something right.
But it’s not good either. I start waaaaaaay too early. The first scene is slow and the story probably needs to start with a later scene that’s alluded to but not shown. As it’s the inciting event, I guess I better show it and not the rest of the heroine’s day up to that point!
I have a lot of scenes that feel aimless- things happen, but the characters aren’t being proactive, they aren’t going in with a clear goal and a plan. Both hero and heroine have such wishy-washy goals! Really, neither of them as the story stands has a goal beyond getting back to their “ordinary world” without falling back in love, when her mother’s illness throws them together again. I think I better come up with something stronger than that! I don’t think I need to change my basic premise, just strengthen how their needs and wants are expressed in the interactions between the characters. And think for each and every scene- what does the POV character want here (and how can I stop him or her getting it!).
The conflict needs a huge amount of work too. I don’t need to add anything new, what’s already there is plenty strong enough. It’s just how it works out in the story that’s weak. Like I kept saying as I was writing it, they are all being too nice to each other. I know there’s a lot of potential for conflict in their situation that I haven’t explored. I need to dig down into it, mine the possibilities. What I want to capture is that deep inescapable yearning for each other despite the past that pulls them back together even though neither of them want it. But there’s all these layers of “stuff” in the way. Anger, doubt, fear, guilt, misunderstanding… (not necessarily in that order!)
Then there’s all the “telling not showing”. Don’t get me started on that one.
But I’m happy! I have a first draft to play with. I’m recognising what is needed to fix it. That’s a good place to start.