My blog silence over the past month is due entirely to the fact I have been spending hours editing the first draft of my second Caitlyn Jamison mystery. Right now it is over 83,000 words filling 230 pages. That’s a lot of words to read, mull over, and decide – is each word, each sentence, necessary to move the story forward? Does each word, each sentence best describe what I want to convey? Are there better words, better sentences I could use? That is why we edit multiple drafts.
I look at writing a novel similar to an artist developing a painting. The first draft of a manuscript is like the artist’s first outline sketch. An artist then applies layers of color, layers of detail until the painting is complete. So, too, does a writer layer in “color,” and detail in the form of description, setting, action, and character development until the story comes to life and is complete.
As I work through my first draft, I consider have I provided enough layers of character and setting description to bring readers into the story. That is something I ponder at the end of each day. And at the end of each day, thoughts come to me about what could be added that could better describe a character, setting, or move the plot along. I keep my writing journal close at hand and jot down those random thoughts as they come – then consider them at the next day of editing.
Of course I worry. I worry about whether the picture I am painting will satisfy my readers. I think about them a lot. They let me know they are still out there waiting. In the last week I have had four people ask about how the next book is coming and to make sure that I am continuing with the same characters.
My challenge is to “paint” a picture of the characters and setting that will get readers back into the characters and setting, as well as providing them with a story line they will enjoy.