Getting the red pen out!
So, the draft of Book 2 in the DI Hellier police series is ready for a good editing. I’ve got the metaphorical red pen out, as I prefer to edit on computer using ‘Track Changes’ in Word, then proof-read on a hard copy.
When I wrote my first novel, Death and Deception, I had no idea what editing would actually entail. I thought it was a different way of saying ‘proof-reading’, but of course, it’s not that at all. This is the time to study the structure of the novel, the flow, the peaks and troughs of action and reflection that make up the arc of the whole story. To construct a satisfying whole from the many parts.
It is the time to remove characters, scenes or whole sections, which might have been fun to write, but which do little to further the story. It’s time to look at characters and their development. Are they a bit one-dimensional? Is the antagonist a mere cipher, or conglomeration of ugly characteristics? What actions/conversations might show them more clearly to the reader?
It is time to ask myself the question, is there enough jeopardy for the protagonist? What journey will he/she undertake in their own life as they follow this adventure through to the carefully worked-out conclusion?
In short, editing is the time when I get to craft a meaner, leaner, tighter, altogether better work of fiction. And, as the wonderful John Green said – ‘all writing is re-writing’.
Better get back on with it then. Publication date for Death and the Good Son is December 6th!