Postcards from Planet Rewrite

I admit I’ve been sidling up to my editor’s requested rewrites on Guardians of Paradise. It’s not that I don’t want to do the work, as I am that rare beast, a writer who enjoys rewrites. It’s just taking me a while to get back into work mode. Plus, going on past performance there will come a point when I’m sucked into the novel to the exclusion everything else, and I’ve had sufficient other stuff on this week that I wanted to avoid that just yet. (That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)

About a third of the work J has suggested I do is to clarify or improve a specific passage. As she’s indicated the where and the what, that’s where I’ve started, easing myself back into the book a sentence or two at a time.

Most of the rest of her comments are things I’ll need to bear in mind as I read through and tinker (I’m a compulsive tinkerer). These tend to be plot points that need a bit more elucidation or background issues I need to think through the implications of  – one in particular may have a major impact later*, and I’m kicking myself for not spotting it, especially as it actually happens – albeit ‘off camera’ – in Consorts of Heaven, which means there’s no going back now. There’s also a couple of warnings to keep an eye on specific characters’ speech patterns or reactions to make sure they don’t slip ‘out of character’.

As far as I can see at this stage only three of her requests will require significant rewriting. Two of these involve character interactions: the first between two minor characters, and the second between an existing major character and a new major player I’m introducing. J points out, quite rightly, that I’m not giving these relationships (both of which have Issues) the space to develop. More scenes will need adding.

The remaining request is the only change that’s got me worried. It concerns that bugbear of the SF writer, infodumping. I’ve got a lot of back-story to get across early on; I have characters who need to tell each other what they’ve been up to, so I have a mechanism to do this, but J doesn’t feel my current approach, which is to spread the exchange of information over several scenes, works. She’d prefer a single scene. My first thought is that I’m not sure, but I trust her and respect her opinion. I certainly need to think about it.

My read-through has just reached infodump territory, so as I’m still enjoying an outbreak of social life (I’ve got a re-enactment event, a BBQ and a party coming up in the next few days), that’s where I’ll be leaving it until next week. 

(*Guardians isn’t the last book in the series by a long chalk. However, it is meant to work as a stand-alone, as, I hope, will the remaining books)

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