Tuesday, September 05, 2006
For anyone new to my blog, you can check out earlier entries to see what it's about, and catch a sense of the progression of the work. I blog about the process of writing of my current novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, a gay epic fantasy novel which I hope will be published once it is finished. I have already completed the manuscript, and am presently going through it again to edit it. If you want to know what the novel's about, there's a link on the right in the sidebar to a previous posting that gives you a "back-cover blurb" about the story.
I've been tinkering a lot with the chapters under the microscope these days, primarily 4 and 5, but also going back over 1-3. I am still evaluating this significant new addition to chapter 4, whether to go with it, how it impacts the emotional arc, whether what I wrote is really the way these characters would progress at this point. Trying to keep it real. I like what I wrote, but it seems I am needing to take a little time to step back and re-evaluate it in the context of the larger story, and the larger story now in light of this new scene. I'm almost ready to move on and continue the hard-core editing.
While I'm letting this new scene percolate, I took time to rewrite the first scene of Chapter 1. I liked it the way it was, but I wanted to try to get more quickly into the first story question. I edited out about a page and a half worth of entertaining dialogue and managed to get the first story question in by the end of the first page, which is a short page since I skip 8 spaces down then put "CHAPTER 1" then skip another space and then start the chapter text (plus the whole thing is double-spaced). It felt terrible to take out that nice banter, which builds up a sense of the two important characters in the scene, but I do like getting to the first story question sooner. So, I think I'll go with the change.
I also tweaked a few of the lines in the remainder of the scene, which I realized were too conveniently used to give the reader a little backstory. I changed the dialogue rather ingeniously to a way of expressing it that a person would in fact actually say in real conversation. Sometimes we do say what is known, but in a certain context, where there is a point to saying it. I found that context, and brought out a clearer sense of the love interest's personality as well. Getting clever!
All this tinkering, plus reading a variety of writing-related web sites, is helping me keep a focus on writing while I work through that deeper thinking. Can't wait until I sense that inside it's finally "clicking" and I'm ready to move forward again, but I know this "dream time" is important. I'm not just reflecting on the editing of Chapters 4 and 5 right now, but on important scenes later in the novel that these chapters set up. I'm looking before I leap. Doing the thinking work up front helps save time down the road.