Since my last novel is now safely in the hands of a professional developmental editor (more on that later – and let’s hope it’s good news), I have decided to tackle that first mammoth overflowing diarrhea of a work, FINDING CADENCE.
A few months ago, I took a peek and it wasn’t pretty. Who would have thought it was possible to use one word (family) 2,358 times in the first 72 pages? (Okay, that’s a gross exaggeration… Well, maybe not.) After taking out every -ly word — including ‘family’ — and most of the ‘that’s, I still had 530 pages of mindless, endless garbage, and over 175K words.
Yes, I can recognize the fact that my first effort is far from my best. *hangs head in shame*
My initial reaction was to close down the file and delete. Some things are best left in the dark. The light of day would not have been kind to this novel or to me. I could see my children laughing at me as I lay in my pink, Venetian lace-lined casket. “Get a load of this!” and “She thought she could write?”
I’m so very glad that I’m basically a lazy and forgetful person and failed to do execute the delete. Since Novel C has been in the capable hands (I hope) of Mr. Ed It, I have had a chance to use Novel A (Cadence) as material for an online writing class I am taking, and believe me, there is more than enough material to work with.
The premise is good. The story is good. The telling of the story — meh, not so good.
I started slashing by deleting everything up until the first lines of relevant dialog. That occurred on Page 73. (I had a phobia about writing dialog when I first started writing, which is why it took 72 pages and a year to get to the bones of the matter, but that’s for another post.)
So far, I’ve only inserted the dialog and tightened it up, with very little back story making the cut. I also made an executive decision and flip-flopped on the person. It’s in first person now. This is problematic in some respects, but a relief in another. By the end of the first draft, I had a total of seven (7) POVs, way too many. Keeping Cadence in the first person gives me an opportunity to showcase her naivete and flaws.
I also took the characters and hardened them a bit. The lawyer is slimier, the best friend is more shallow, the girls at work are not as forgiving and are part of the conspiracy. Cadie’s father is going to the dark side, too. Why not?
I’m happy to report that it is coming along nicely. I actually want to work on it. I’ve been going home from the day job early for the last week or so and am enthusiastic.
Will wonders ever cease?