Things are going well, but I must be the only writer in the world who edits a book and ends up with thousands more words. Most people say they tighten it up and remove at least 10%, often more. I mentioned recently (possibly in my review of Fingersmith) that I don’t do enough description to create atmosphere, so I’ve been working on that, and also ‘show not tell’ in my descriptions. I also decided it needs a punchier opening, so there’s a new start to the first chapter. I have a new ending still to write, and I woke up on Tuesday thinking of something else that needs to be included late on, and how I might do that.
That’s all very well, but we get useful tips and tricks while we’re at camp, and this one really resonated:
In fiction, the reader expects that every detail of a scene will connect to the story. If you spend more than a few words describing your main character, Ray Santiago, watching a brown and white spotted dog with one blue eye trot down the street with a bone in its mouth, that dog better bite Ray before the end. Or that bone the dog is carrying better be human.
(Camp NaNoWriMo Camp Care Package 117, Karen Sandler)
So, I need to go through yet again to check everything has a purpose. On my first read-through I highlighted lots of sentences where I know I had a hidden purpose when I wrote them. Now I can’t remember what they were. My MS is stuffed with comments either saying ‘what this is for?’ or telling me what it sets up!
Here’s another one I’m using as a check…
Dialogue needs a purpose; it can’t just fill space. Every line of dialogue must do at least one of these:
1. Move the story forward.
2. Reveal info.
3. Reveal character.
Keep your dialogue full of direction!
(Camp NaNoWriMo Camp Care Package 120, Karen Sandler)
It’s hard work, this editing lark.
Hope your July is going well. Does anyone want to beta-read The Perihelix?
3 thoughts on “Postcard from Camp – 18 July”
Me! Me! As in, yes, I end up with a longer book after the first edit, and yes, I want to beta-read! I tend to write straight as an arrow to the point. I have to add flesh later.
Never fear, my dear, I added quite a number of words to my second book. Ah, the moans and groans of re-writing and editing. I feel your pain.
Yes! the pain! I am often simultaneously adding and deleting words, as I usually need to add whole scenes or at least more flesh, while also removing the unnecessary parts. Confusing!
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