Monday, February 8, 2010

[Book Update] Chapter 2 Strikes Back

Having taken chapters 1 and 2 of my novel to my local writer's roundtable to be critiqued, I decided last week that I ought to catch up on my re-writes. Instead, I ended up being sick all week, so not much happened. I did get chapter 1 done, though, which felt good. Chapter 2 is proving to be more of a challenge.

Originally, Chapter 2 was known as "that thing I'm not quite sure where to put." I think it may have begun inside another chapter that has since become Chapter 3. I realized pretty soon that it didn't fit there, so I pulled it out and put it in its own document, just to get it out of the way. Then I added more to it, but still couldn't decide where to put it.

So the entire time I was writing it, it was almost like a separate story because it didn't really have a place within the main novel. This was still pretty early in the writing process, so I hadn't yet even decided things like how to handle Point of View. As a result, the "voice" of Chapter 2 feels a bit off.

Editing Chapter 1 involved changing a few words here or there, reworking an occasional paragraph, and adjusting punctuation. Editing Chapter 2 is quite a bit more involved. It lacks emotional depth. It lacks connection between the point of view character and the narrative. It's slow in parts.

I'm not quite chucking out the whole thing and starting over - not even close, in fact. But it's the most extensive editing I've had to do of my work, well... ever. It's good practice for later and it's necessary that a chapter that hits so early in the book be rock-solid, so it needs to be done.

So that was how I spent a good chunk of the day on Saturday, plus some more time on Sunday. Next on the list - incorporating my wife's suggestions into Chapter 3, where applicable, then giving it a final once-over before printing copies for tonight's Roundtable.

I also need to find a way to gently educate my fellow writers that a long sentence isn't automatically a run-on, nor is it inherently wrong. The way I'm writing this novel includes, and will continue to include, some fairly weighty, lengthy sentences and I find the group routinely getting stuck on those. I'd rather they be able to spend their time on stuff that's legitimately broken. Regardless, I'm getting good feedback from the group, so if they can't get past the sentence structure I can live with that.


  1. If you're editing, you might find the AutoCrit Editing Wizard useful. I love it :-)

  2. Thanks, Janine! I'll check it out!