After printing the 194 pages of the first draft of my novel, I broke it into 27 chapters – some are too long and a few are too short, but Chapter 4 is just the right length and also makes a better Chapter 1 so I made that switch. I’ve got a working title (to be revealed at a later date) and the cat has a new name. Chester was already famously taken, but not Chauncey.
I still haven’t figured out whether my antagonist’s wimpy sidekick is a botanist or suffers from agoraphobia. While that may be totally irrelevant to the story’s theme, it’s important for consistency – same for the name of the town park that is the setting for a third of the action. In the read-through, I discovered that I’d given it three names. The one with “ville” won out. For now.
Character flaws and temporary adverbs
Bud needs more reasons to be despicable, other than the fact that he’s a school bus bully. And Penny needs more page time. After all, though a minor character, she does manage to save the day at a critical point. My lead characters, Hunter and Abigail, are finding their true voices in the rewrite, each one becoming as real as the kids my middle school age daughter tells me about on our long drives to and from volleyball practices and games.
I’m deleting the words suddenly, anxiously and nervously as quickly as I come across them. They were only place holders in the first draft until I could spend more time showing the rumbling, black clouds smudging the starry sky, causing Abigail’s heart to pulsate like a humming bird’s wings as she grabs for the oars under her seat on the swaying boat and doesn’t feel them.
That last sentence took me an hour and 23 minutes to write and rewrite. Will I keep it? Maybe. Maybe not. Noted in margin: fix this.
And so the editing process continues. Red ink. Yellow highlights. Writer’s workshop applications. Working my way to The End. Again. But this time, with a cat by a different name.
More to come…