“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, WD
I am truly feeling this quote at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s because I hate this aspect of writing or because I haven’t got my mojo back after a very difficult year. I’m hoping it’s the latter.
As I slowly edit Living in London I realise that I only have two dimensional characters, those who exist and have actions but who do not think. So I am now adding thoughts to my characters whilst making each word count and it’s very slow work.
Just as I was thinking I would leave it for another week Book Baby had a blog about 3D characters, which was very fortuitous, and meant I couldn’t put it off for another week. I fully intended to work on my characters’ profiles in Scrivener, starting with Ellie, however, she is in my head and i have decided to complete the first three chapters just writing Ellie’s scenes then move onto another character. I’ll let you know if it works!
As for reading, I have read quite a bit, and enjoyed each book, for its own merits. After reading a “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara, (not a little book), I felt moved by the way she was able to weave graphic content into a book that certainly would not be described in those terms. It started slow and to be honest Yanagihara could probably have done away with the first quarter of the book, where she spends considerable time describing the lives of the four main characters and their backgrounds, however, she hints to hidden secrets for each one, with Jude St Francis having the greatest secrets, lies that he struggles to hide. The highs and lows of Jude’s life become the main topic of the novel and even though much of it is hard to read due to the disturbing events that occur in Jude’s life and the graphic descriptions, however, Yanagihara balances this out with lighter moments, showing the good side of humanity. Despite the well written prose and the content I still find it hard to believe that Jude would climb to the lofty heights he does with such a secretive past of torture and abuse, surely his confidence and ability to succeed in the cut throat career he chose would be curtailed through his constant state of stress and suffering. The most annoying and redundant facet of the book is the number of times he feels the need to apologise, even when much of the wrong doing is not his fault. I would highly recommend a read. It certainly is a book I won’t forget in a hurry.
Anyway I’d better get back to my editing.