Tuesday, March 01, 2011

RED-PENCILLING MY WAY THROUGH: Another Part of a Long Journey


My journey through Alexander's world didn't end when I came to the final chapter of the novel. Now I'm retracing my steps, red pencil in hand, this time not as a writer, but as the editor.

I've actually been making good progress.  The first two parts went quickly with not many notes or edits.  Then from Chapter 18 on it began to bog down somewhat and I was marking more parts with 'OMIT'
There are places in Part 3 where I did a lot of research and wanted to use the information which I found very interesting.  Of course now I see where it was not necessary and although I had fun writing it and developing the characters further, it did not move the plot forward and in fact slowed down the pace.

I knew from the start I'd have to cut lots of the novel as it is much to long to be acceptable, so I am able to be more critical and wield that pen like a sword cutting, cutting, cutting, slashing my way through clunky prose, bits of dialogue and internal thought that are too mature for a child's mind, entertaining passages like the Persians celebrating their New Years, which was fun to write but does nothing to increase the tension.  I'm trying to be tough as a warrior here, mowing down all those unwanted passages.

Then I got to the Interlude for Part 3 and again the action picked right up.  I thought that interlude might be too long but it is packed full of action and violence ramping up the tension full-force.  And the last scene of that interlude, with the dying Regent sets up very clearly all the conflict that is about to happen in the last half of the story.

So progress is good and I'm enjoying the process, distancing myself from it as a writer but still having fun on the journey.  And because I haven't read much of it for some time, there are always surprises, and little trips down memory lane remembering when I visited places like Samothraki, Amphipolis and Pella, and I see how my research notes for setting details etc shine through and breathe life into those ancient places.

Once I finish the red pencilling I'll start working on the computer again.  And then there's things like checking name spellings, correct terminology for the Macedonian army officers etc.  It will take me awhile yet, but I can see that it is going well and that is encouraging.

Meanwhile, I'm not doing much other writing except for some travel stories.  And one of these days when I feel it's time, I'll dig the old manuscript of Dragons in the Sky out of the box and start retyping it.
Til then, I'll enjoy my journey through Alexander's world.  I miss my old friends there!

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