Slow, Steady Progress

I’ve only been working on editing my novel for a couple of weeks, but I’m already halfway through.  While this means that maybe I’m not editing everything I should be editing, I still think it’s encouraging progress.  I’m enjoying the book, and the characters are pretty much like I remember them.  I’ve taken some schmaltzy parts out.  I haven’t put much extra in.  The story’s already plenty long, after all.

Chapter six was especially rough for me.  Melodrama, melodrama, melodrama!  I didn’t know if I wanted to slap my characters or slap myself.  In the end, I just cut a bunch of stuff, and I think that transformed the chapter into just regular drama.  On the other hand, I was three-quarters of the way through chapter seven before I even realized I should be editing it.  There was a lot of tension.  I found myself holding my breath while reading it.  I hope that others enjoy that chapter as much as I did.

While the rest of the novel seems to be going pretty well, I think I would like to bring more of the intensity of chapter seven into the rest of it.  My husband, who is very generous and kind with his positive feedback, said that chapter gave him goosebumps.  I can see why, now.  Good for me.  Now I just have to figure out how to bring the rest of the novel up to that level (although not necessarily with the same level of tension; that would get tiring!).

One thing that I felt could be improved after I reread the the first time, which was several years ago, was the setting.  Because of the point of view, and because of the characters’ familiarity with their surroundings, I took a lot of things for granted that the reader might either need or want pointed out to them.  I decided before I embarked on the edit that I could accomplish a better feel for the world by introducing more elements of commerce.  Now, upon editing, I realized that I actually included a lot of that from the start.  Now I’m back to trying to figure out other ways to bring the setting information into the story.  I refuse to embark upon long, lengthy descriptions of how the light hit blah-de-blah building just right and the trees swayed blah blah.  I want to show, not tell.  It’s a good challenge.

A friend of mine has the first draft of the novel and is going through it.  We see her in about a month, and she’s going to try to have it read by then.  I really look forward to hearing what she thinks the strengths and the weaknesses are.   My husband will get another crack at it, too, so the three of us can discuss it.  Hopefully more chapters than just chapter seven will give him goosebumps the second time around.


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