Friday, December 19, 2008

Chapters Fifteen through Eighteen Today.

I mentioned to you last week that a fellow member of one of my writing sites, where we all publish online, suggested that my opening chapter was too full of backstory, glimpses of Karen's past, that might confuse the reader. I was a bit surprised, because I thought it read quite well, but then a second writer at the site said the same thing. So, whether or not you've noticed, I chopped a couple of chunks out of the first chapter, reducing it somewhat, and plopped them down farther along in the manuscript. It all seems to look fine, but I keep having this niggling doubt that I've dropped slivers of narrative from Chapter One more than once in the following chapters. If you should spot such duplication, please tell me immediately. When you are working on re-writes, it's so hard to spot something like that. I find myself looking at a paragraph and thinking, "Hello, haven't I seen you somewhere before?" But there is no way I can start at page one and scan through to find its twin, if, in fact, the twin exists. You would see it immediately, because the story line is all new to you. Help! I would appreciate it.

I want to tell you about the huge number of fantasy and horror manuscripts floating around out there. On one of the afore-mentioned online writers' sites, we are encouraged to critique each other's work, but I've found it difficult to find many books that I enjoy reading. The fantasy/horror books outweigh the classic literary novel about ten to one, from what I've seen. I gather, from other blogs, that this is a general problem for agents and publishers right now. How many more vampire books can be written? It's not to say that the books aren't well written, just that there are so many of them! If you are considering the genre, think about this carefully. If you believe yours is the one vampire story that hasn't been told, then go for it, but I would recommend you browse a few writers' sites for yourself to see what the competition is. Everybody's doing it!


Kit Courteney said...

Oh Fran, I know exactly what you mean!!!!

While I'm involved (Oh, so VERY involved!) in my final edit I'm finding this feeling all the time.

Initially I had a fairly lengthy prologue which 'centred' the 3 main characters/plotlines at the particular point that lead them to being how they are while the novel is taking place.

Then, in a moment of madness (or sanity) I realised that it might be an idea to have a completely different prologue - and to shuffle the originals around a bit/delete a lot.

So now my brain is whirring with 'did I just say this?', 'does that make sense?' etc.

I find the editing harder than the flipping writing!

Fran said...

I agree - this causes my neck pain, which I don't have when I'm free-flowing.

I had a fairly passionate affair in the early chapters, and decided to dump that, but the guy keeps popping up in further chapters, making all sorts of suggestive remarks to the heroine, as if they're still at it, which I keep having to change. When it comes up, it sort of shocks me - why is he talking to her like this? It's really quite funny.

Su_H said...

Hi ladies
I'm having the same problems with my novel, but after reading "Hooked" by Les Edgerton I've ditched the prologue completely and then like you Fran have had to edit my way around it. But actiually though the axe fell rather ruthlessly I'm now feeling much more comfortable with it. :-)

Kit Courteney said...

I am *SO* looking forward to having the time to read it!

Fran said...

I so sympathize with your chunk removal - I have a separate page for dumping this stuff, just in case I can utilize it later (even another book!), This has nothing to do with the writing side of the brain, but more the bit responsible for spatial thought, and it's tiring! Just so long as I don't repeat things, I'll be happy.

Fran said...

Kit - the whole book will be ready by the end of the year. Reading it will be unmarred by sudden pauses.

I do hope you are going to make some writerly comments for me. It's scary enough just putting it out there, but I'd hate to have some glaring errors that didn't get picked up. Lord knows, it's there for critiques. I welcome it. So far I have had some amazing suggestions, which have improved it enormously. (Taking out some of the chunks was one of the suggestions.)