25 January 2014

Editing Update #2

Two weeks ago I celebrated adding THE END to The Bull At The Gate and wrote a post explaining my editing plan. I thought I'd offer an update. Of the 1-9 steps I am up to No 2. Okay, so I took a few days off to allow my brain to clear, but even so...?

Step 2 is the structural edit. The Bull At The Gate has three parallel storylines, two contemporary and a Roman historical. It is this historical that has caused the problems due to it expanding from a minor subsidary storyline into a major subsidiary storyline during the writing of the novel.

Anyone who writes fiction will realise that this is a recipe for disaster if allowed to stand, as it will unbalance the entire book. The remedy is to rewrite the storyline thread until it meets its true depth and then dovetail the ends. Easier said than done.

Let me be clear about this, I'm not referring to fairly straightforward multiple viewpoints of the same storyline, which can be easily tweaked. Multiple storylines need to be balanced, not just for pacing, but also for tone, reflection of theme, and of the emotional constraints of the characters. Add in the seeding of information, and the harvesting of it at the optimum point further along the storyline - all without disrupting the other two storylines - and it becomes obvious that this is not just a case of writing a few linking scenes.

Remind me to next time write a first person novel. Far less hassle.

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