Sunday, December 28, 2014

Agonizing Progrees

Beta reviews of the new novel are trickling in and I am horrified at the problems they've revealed.  My thought was that I had found every singe grammatical error, punctuation mistakes, and had gotten the characters, time line, and facts corrected.  Such was not to be: Dangling plot lines, unmentioned time shifts, lackadaisical prose, wooden narrative, lack of sufficient action, no love interest, unresolved drivers, etc, etc, etc. permeated the review draft, as gleefully pointed out by my reviewers - all with encouraging comments, to be sure.

So for the last three weeks since that first review arrived, I've been back at the workbench pounding out the dents from the wreckage, painting over the scratches, polishing up the dull parts, and perhaps fitting a new piece on here and there.  I realized I needed to overhaul the plot engine while I'm messing around and maybe throwing in a better roadmap for the reader. Gives me something to do while I await the final set of reviewer comments.

In the meantime it is tedious work to reread words I've read a jillion times and see, really SEE the problems that need fixing.  Worse is trying to patch the plot holes without destroying one of the subplots or contradicting something stated elsewhere.  Fortunately my use of flashbacks were minimal and mostly served as the Greek chorus to keep the reader informed of the passage of time (i.e. "What happened.")

Thanks to the reviews the draft novel now stands at 125,000 words, which makes it the longest piece I have ever written.  What is interesting was the reviewers asked for more rather than less and none suggested cutting anything.  One even suggested adding more scenic detail to "give a sense of place" to one of the continuing stories. My fear is that such "scenic detail," once introduced, will proliferate like the commas in this sentence, and infest the entire book. Perhaps I might describe a tree, an animal, or the deep-sunk brown eyes of the sailor as he gazes at the empty, hopeless horizon, but that would be all.
After all, I'm not writing a quest fantasy.


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