Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

editing fill time

I'm sitting at my dining table sipping Panadol decongestant hot lemon, still editing chapter three. I've been editing chapter three for weeks now. I've been editing with a summer flu during this time, which I suspect has slowed me down. More so than my visiting cousin, who actually hasn't seemed bothered at all by my spending copious amount of time writing (and sleeping to break the fever). He's managed to occupy himself quite nicely. Gotta love low maintenance self-reliant tourists who cook delicious meals for you when they are at home.

The sample chapters (one and two) were posted to an agent last Monday. I finished editing those chapters a while ago to incorporate my editor's comments so decided to continue rolling the ball along even though I was still working my way through the editorial comments on the rest of the manuscript. It will be at least five weeks before I hear back from the editor so may as well be efficient with my time. Will write more about the agent process next time I blog.

Chapter three has been a real challenge. It is, as they say in the business, the pivotal chapter. It is the point in the story that either keeps the reader going or loses them so an engaging story is critical to hook a reader to read on. My editor had a lot of "please clarify" questions for this chapter. She knew that many of the questions related to things likely to be explained in the yet to be written prequel but it is very important that each novel is able to stand alone as a story in its own right. So she told me to take advantage of the fact that I still was over 15,000 word shy of what publishers expect these days for a fantasy novel (minimum 100,000 words) and to fill in the blanks.

I have been filling in the blanks for almost three weeks now. I've written three whole new scenes for the chapter and it is now the longest chapter in the manuscript. (This of itself will probably need some refinement but I'll tackle that issue another day.) I've squeezed out almost 9,000 extra words and have humanised one of the main characters that my test readers have previously told me was too misogynistic. It wasn't obvious to me why they thought so, especially given I had meant him to be one of the most sympathetic (though misunderstood) characters in the story, but now that I've filled in some of the gaps as they pertained to this character's motivations, I can see how they might have not connected with him in the beginning.

Now that the editing of the chapter is almost done, I am very satisfied with the product. The chapter is a neat stand alone story within the story and visually cracking. It offers the colour and movement my editor has been trying to extract from me.

Time for a little rest. I will be travelling to Jervis Bay, the place where I grew up, later in the week for a short break and taking my cousin on to the next stage of his visit to Australia. He's been pining for warmer weather than what has been on offer at home. Not much I can do about the remnants of cyclones, flooding and an unseasonally cool summer.

I will be travelling without my laptop. Scary.


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