The process of editing my novel has been educational on many levels. I’m not only enjoying the editing, but the novel itself as well. I’ve learned that I definitely have a preferred sentence structure and that I manage to keep my points of view pretty clean. I’ve learned that when I try to lighten the mood in scenes between two of the characters I have a tendency to descend into cartoonish slapstick. Guess what got cut.
Today I learned that even the most intense action scenes have to have heart. My favorite chapter of the book so far was filled with tension and action, and the chapter I worked on today (reading while my infant son napped on my shoulder) was supposed to be a reprise of sorts. I thought the action flowed well and the pacing was good, and yet it didn’t give me nearly the shivers that my favorite chapter did. That bothered me, and it took me a bit of ruminating to figure it out. My favorite chapter was rife with emotion, even as the action was taking place. I still need to go back and clean up for any clichés, but that chapter really sucked me in and left me thinking about it for days afterward. I think the terror of the characters was palpable. In this most recent chapter, the characters have even more reason to be afraid, and yet the scenes were reduced to the action. Where was the fear? Where was the anger? Sadness?
Upon reading the chapter, I, of course, know what the characters are feeling. But the action has no meaning if the reader can’t feel the impact of the action upon the characters, in my opinion. My challenge to myself this week is to go back and let the emotions run as high as they need to in that chapter, making things more exciting for them, for me, and for the reader.