So, COOKING FOR THE DEAD (not sure we’ll keep that title, though I love it), the book I’ve been working on all winter, is in the final polishing stage. My editor had a few suggestions to brighten things here and there, and bring out two characters a little more. My own need was to let the manuscript become cold enough that I could spot those pesky repetitive words and images.
This is the fifth time through the entire manuscript, and the pickiest. I’m sitting down with the book every day for a few hours to read carefully, sometimes aloud, marking the manuscript as I go, and making notes on a legal pad about what is still required. I think I need to switch the order of a couple of scenes to give more sense of narrative drive. Pare down the narrative to a leaner point in a couple of other places. Backstory is very important to this tale, and figuring out how and where to layer that into the story without slowing it down is challenging. I always put in more than I need at first, then cut back.
Come to that, I don’t know why I write characters with such histories, either. Maybe we all have that much history?
Anyway, slow going. Careful, persnickety going a the moment. I did stumble over one lovely alliterative, internal rhyme in a paragraph that was sweet, and I’m keeping it. On the other hand, I’m slashing entire paragraphs in places. Smoothing, smoothing.
We have had a great time this year, Elena and I. This is like the last day of camp.
3 thoughts on “Polishing”
Backstory is tough to master. I’m working on a novella with even less opportunity to infuse it than the usual 100k ms. You sound like you have way more revision patience than I!
This is one I’m so looking forward to, for so many reasons. It’s been lovely watching your process with this one over the last several months.
Dara, I love novellas, but you’re right…there is no room at all for backstory.
Barb, I’ll be so glad to have it in the world!