Ten days left to finish the GPRP!
Here's what I've been up to:
1) Voice exercise. I took a first-draft page from the opening scene, which was written in a fairly neutral third person voice, and re-wrote in first person. The first person version was stronger and more engaging. But! Then I took the first person version and translated it back to third, retaining some of the flavor of Willa's speech and thought processes, but with a little more distance. And THAT version was better than the first person one. So for now my plan is to stick with tight third person limited, but to try to incorporate more of Willa's soul into the writing.
2) "Highly Motivated Antagonists" exercise from The Fire in Fiction: determine the biggest, worst, most improbable thing your Antagonist does, then work out 12 reasons why someone in real life would never do this-- or would be prevented from doing this. Then for each "objection", work out why in this case all these reasons fail to stop the Antagonist from doing the big bad improbable thing.
3) CUT TO's. This is an exercise from The Weekend Novelist Re-Writes the Novel (which is a pretty damn awesome book). You zip through the plot with a series of images-- "We open with..." "CUT TO:..." Each scene gets 1-3 images, depending on its complexity. This makes it easier to look over the plot as a whole, and to spot where you have boring or pointless scenes, where you need to add a scene, and where you don't have a strong enough picture of what happens. Which leads me to:
4) Scene order. I've fiddled around some more and have what I think is the final version of the scene list. I've got one or two more little holes to spackle, and then I'm ready to move on to the next phase.