Thursday, June 04, 2009

Darlings, and the Subsequent Murdering Thereof

So, I've been doing some work on editing The Seventh Chakra for about a month or so, now. It's not going nearly as quickly or as smoothly as I'd like, to be honest, though finishing up by the end of the summer shouldn't be (too much of) a problem. I had originally had my birthday set as my target date, but I'm not sure that's quite as realistic, honestly.

By this point, the earliest chapters of the novel are ones that I wrote over two years ago, and it really, really shows as I'm re-reading things. I'm looking at sentences and thinking, "Wait, what does that even mean?" And when I'm the one who wrote it, that's a bad sign, and so out it goes. Honestly, some of it is pretty embarrassing and cringeworthy.

Character consistency has been one of the main things I've noticed. I'm looking at how all my main characters come off in these earlier chapters, and I'm alarmed at how, well, out of character they are. Again, you might think, "But if you wrote them like that, how are they out of character?" Well, just trust me: after writing the rest of the novel, I've got a much better grasp on what sorts of people these characters are, and in the early chapters, that's not who they're being. In some cases, it's actually enough to make my jaw drop, seeing how poorly-characterized some of them are ("Why does Il-Hyeong keep chuckling and smiling?!").

I also hit one of my little editing milestones yesterday: the first complete and total excision of a character from the narrative. It was just this minor side character who showed up once, was never mentioned again, and whose inclusion only served to slow down the story as I introduced him. So, instead, I conflated him with another minor character who already had a very similar (and small) role in the story anyway, and nothing of value was lost. So, yeah, minus one random skunk. Sorry, skunk-lovers. (Incidentally, the first character I stripped completely out of Thousand Leaves had a Spanish name, and so did this aforementioned skunk. I know for a fact that it wasn't intentional, on my part, but I find the coincidence kind of funny.)

Rewriting things, as I've mentioned, has been going slow and spotty, though. Chapter One got a complete overhaul, and I'm really happy with my new version. Later chapters, though, have had less sweeping changes and more just tweaks to fix poor characterization and bad writing. There's not a lot I'm cutting out, which is worrying me, because I can't tell if the stuff I already have in those cases is pretty good as-is, or if I just can't see anything wrong with it. But then, this is why I have editor-friends to look things over, too.

In the meantime, I'm starting to (annoyingly) get ideas for other stories to write, which threaten to slow down the editing process. Gah! I'm really bad at multi-tasking when it comes to writing, but I'll need to check my schedule and rate of progress before deciding anything for sure.

No comments: