This week I jumped into an old YA manuscript that I completed five years ago and never submitted to any agents, although looking back I see that I revised the silly thing nine different times before giving up on it. I’ve reworked the first chapter several times for contests, but haven’t touched the rest of it since 2010. Wow! I am realizing that I have learned a lot about writing since then. I still like the voice and the characters a lot, but I’ve learned so much about story structure and making my prose clean and clear. So the huge, insurmountable job I’m leaping into…make this old story shine. I started with the story structure. That is huge. I cut 6,600 words right out of the center of the story because they comprised a fun side-story, but did not further the plot as a whole. That changed my story structure immensely and gave me a new mid-point and new focus. I was able to find my 15 vital beats (although I hadn’t put them into this story intentionally) but really had to boost my first plot point at the 25% mark. So that is where I am at this point. I’ve gone through the story and made sure that the structure is sound. Now I am reading the whole thing through and implementing the plot changes that I deemed necessary (some big ones…like turning the main bad guy into a pseudo-good guy) and I am smoothing and polishing my prose. Shortening my long rambling sentences and taming my chatty voice. It is a big project but I am 25% of the way through this polish. I just reached the first plot point and emphasized the things that needed emphasizing and had my character encounter and notice the things she needed to and reject a very clear word from the Lord, which will cause her trouble for the rest of the book. Ha ha! So yeah, this is a tough and different kind of writing but I’m jumping into it and seeing what might happen.