Thursday, February 13, 2014

Read-Through Done

I'm finally through the initial read-through. Man, it was a struggle to just read the thing without going to town with the line editing, but I really wanted to just read it as a reader-- as much as possible, anyway.

Here are my general impressions of the draft, act by act:

Act I:
This is the Act that will need to be the most aggressively edited. There's a lot of dead wood to be cut: actions that don't need to be on the page, beginnings of threads that got dropped later, unnecessary dialogue tags-- that sort of thing. The dialogue in two scenes needs to be rewritten (because now that I've written the rest of the book I know there are more future-plot-relevant things for them to discuss), and I need to add probably two pages' worth of backstory and worldbuilding in order to explain things that didn't make it from my brain to the page. I have one plot hole that I've already figured out how to fill. And the pacing needs to be sorted out-- some scenes are longer than they need to be, some are shorter.

One strength of this Act is the tone. It has this kind of low-key folksy cadence to it that's close to how Willa would actually speak. I like it a lot, but it totally vanishes after Act I. So part of my line editing for Acts 2-4 will be to bring more of that tone back into the writing.

Act II:
More dead wood, more pacing issues, although neither as extensive as in Act I. I'll need to cut and add, and make some decisions about how deeply I want to portray the other envoys at the summit, but it's mostly line editing here, focusing on tone and on more authentically exploring emotions.

Act III:
The pacing, plot elements, and emotional resonance works for me here. There's one unnecessary minor character that I have decided to combine with another minor character, and one scene that is currently summarized and needs to be dramatized instead, but other than that it's line editing-- tone, and general polishing.

Act IV:
The writing gets stronger the further I get into the draft. This Act is basically fine. Some of the angsting will have to be cut (it's tiresome), and I have had a change of heart about a minor character introduced here that will mean completely re-casting the part and changing the scenes s/he appears in accordingly... but other than those tweaks, just line editing. Except for the final scene, which I wrote at the beginning of the process, and therefore kind of sucks. That thing is going to need to some Extreme Makeover shit.

And now I have exhausted and slightly depressed myself.

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