Well, the rewrite is done. I didn’t cut nearly as much as I though I would. I think I eliminated about 7k words, and then added about 3k new stuff. The flashback is now three parts, spaced out at what I think are logical points. It’s also shorter by about a quarter, and I think I managed to keep all the parts that let the reader really get to know the characters.
It think it flows better, we’ll see what my readers think. Assuming they can force themselves to read it again. Reading a book twice or more is not something a lot of people do. It takes time, and time is not something folks have a lot of to give away. So, thanks!
I’ve received some good feedback on Solar Storm, with more to come. The result will likely be a slight reorganization of text and the elimination of something like 10-20K words. Yikes!
There is always a balancing act between character development in depth and keeping the story moving forward. As it stands, the novel stalls too early and for too long. I’m trying to decide if my, rather too long, flash back should be two smaller flashbacks several chapters apart, or if it could survive being broken into a few conversations.
While a conversation seems more natural, the effect can be pretty heavy handed when you actually read it. It ends up being long paragraphs of exposition punctuated by brief reactions by the listener. I tried it and I think it’s safe to say – I’m not good enough to pull it off. There is a hidden upside to that. I no longer have to take my third person voice and turn it into first person description – I tried, it sucked.
So, here I am, trying to figure out what information has to go in the bit-bin. It hurts – to see the hours of effort come to naught – to see bits of story that I really liked, sacrificed to it gods of pacing. Can you imagine what Jules Vern (and no, I’m not comparing myself to him – I just happen to be rereading Twenty Thousand Leagues.) might feel if his editor told him that his extensive discussions and lists of species or his descriptions of geography and the places visited by the Nautilus under the command of the Mysterious Captain Nemo were, gasp!, slowing the pace. Yet, I can hardly say the criticism in my case his harsh, it’s simply true.
Ultimately, telling a story is not about the teller, it’s about the story and the reader. It matters not how much the teller likes the sound of his own voice.