Tuesday, 22 May 2012

PAINS OF EDITING - Fixing the Story

Tightening the Structure 

My Distraction -
So far, I am not doing that well with the editing of The Jeweller's Daughter! I'm getting distracted with personal matters, family matters, domestic chores, and other "important" things...

My lovely son just got married - still on honeymoon, and I'm just about returning to a normal state of a balanced mind and body. It was a fantastic day though!

So! To date, I have done pretty poorly - got up to pg 48 out of 396.

But I must have edited the first few pages a dozen times ...Can't seem to leave it alone.

My Resolve and Focus for Draft 2 -
I have decided that in this draft, I will concentrate on the STORY. 

Fixing the story is crucial, before doing anything else, like sorting out character development, improving dialogue, working on language, even imagery, and historical content.

Here is my focus for the duration of this draft :-

1. Fill in the Plot Holes. 

As I already have subplots, I will not be looking to write in any more of them. Besides, I am already too close to the maximum words (now 114,758), so I don't want to add many more.

What I will be concentrating on, is reading and looking out for anything that seems incoherent, unbelievable, unexplainable, too good to be true, impossible, too bad to have happened, sudden goings on that need prior introduction - and fixing those.

Because The Jeweller's Daughter is set before memory of most alive today, 1918 Trinidad, a country and culture that most of my readership will not be familiar with, I will focus on enlightening them without teaching them. I will check that I am drip feeding information and facts, or showing it through one of my characters in their thoughts or dialogue. But I will not ignore the narrator's voice. My narrator will be doing some telling too, to provide some relief from continuous dialogue. After all, my narrator is the oracle - she has the last word where necessary. I have decided on that. And my personal preference as a reader, is a good narrator, one that fills in the blanks, fleshes out the backdrop, and puts things in context.

2. Pruning.

This has to be the hardest for me. I am a hoarder by nature. I don't give away my creations that easily, and I certainly don't like to discard anything....as it might be useful one day!

But, I will be strict with myself, and be on a permanent lookout for any piece of script that diverts the attention from what is important, what is useful, meaningful, and what is getting carried away or just going off on a tangent.... We are not playing psychological word association!

So there will be much cutting and pruning, and maybe burning of dead wood. (I might keep a few bits that seem genuinely useful for later in the plot).

My main focus here is to make sure that the plot deepens.

3. Lengthening and Shortening.

This is paradoxical, as I have already said that I will not be looking to lengthen the script. But some bits inevitably will have to be expanded on, whilst I prune away the weeds ...(and non flowering, non productive plants).

So as I edit, I will be on the lookout for any extra twists that are needed, and improving those that are not working well enough. I will also be looking at any description of scenes, background, and characters, that would develop, deepen, and sharpen the story.

I will let you know how I'm doing!

Thanks for stopping by.

Please leave me a comment. Would love to know what you think as a writer, or a reader.

Question to readers - What annoys you most when you read? 


  1. Hmm. good question. Possibly people who seem to be showing off using complicated words without really seeming to know their correct use or appropriate places.
    Oh and brands. That really annoys me. Using a clothing brand to convey something, which will be obsolete or forgotten in ten years. The current fashion for say, Converse trainers will date a book completely. It's a lazy way (in my opinion) of description. It only tells me the author is focussed on brands and labels.

  2. Hi Viv,

    Thanks for stopping by! I so agree with you on the use of big words. As I don't know that many, I tend not to write them in. But as a reader, I too find them excruciatingly annoying.

    I also take your point on the use of brand names. They do tend to date contemporary work. However, with historical writing, it might just do the job of placing the writing in a particular era. Good point though.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Good to hear from you!