Monday, October 10, 2011

The fine 'art' of revision

Am slogging through the manuscript now, generating second draft by the "drop dead" deadline of November 1. Next step: send it around to readers, then do another draft incorporating their comments. After that, the agent. Scary stuff.

Sometimes revision can be pure joy,  a wonderful feeling of improving on what's already written, like adding a vase of fresh flowers to a dreary room. Sometimes it's pure drudgery, though: making sure that someone's who's been sitting isn't suddenly standing up without my having mentioned it, etc. Then there's the surgical incision of paragraphs that "don't work." Today, once again, chopped off some of the novel's beginning. Have to make sure to capture reader's attention from first page, there being so much competition these days for our attention.

The main point of this revision is the plot line, maintaining  suspense as my heroine, Rebecca, balances her love for the British officer she's been spying on --Major John Andre--against the rebels' need for military intelligence. And then the grand finale when she learns that an American general, known only as "Monk," is about to defect to the British. But she can do nothing, unable to discover his identity. Then comes disaster....

Will be really interesting to finally get reactions from those who've volunteered to read the manuscript. Thus far, my friend Sally has read each and every version, my husband only the beginning sections. It's weird to toil away every day on a work without knowing whether I've pulled it off. Guess I'll find out soon.

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