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Monday, 14 May 2012

Joys of editing - and extracts from chapter 1

The editing process has been an interesting and helpful experience. It can be difficult at first to have someone tell you that a particularly descriptive passage you’ve written has come across to them as a little confusing, when it makes perfect sense to you as the writer. But in most instances I haven’t had to remove the descriptive passage. I have just had to change a few words, reorder something, or put in a little extra to clarify.
I have worked on the story for two and a half years now and I am very close to it. I know my characters well and can pick up inconsistencies. But being too close means that you sometimes view your writing through rose-coloured glasses - like being attached to a particular phrase or passage because of its poetic ring or descriptive tone. Sometimes other things need to be discarded because they add nothing to the story or might even bog it down a bit.
Having that fresh pair of eyes not so closely bound to the story helps to weed out the flaws that you can overlook when you are too close. I am hoping my story with entertain and excite, and anything that gets in the way of that needs to go.

Hoping to whet the appetite and pique the curiosity of potential readers, here are two extracts from the edited first chapter:

Extract 1 -
Nina knew that Nicholas was looking forward to seeing his younger brother again and was grateful for this diversion in their lives. For three months now, Nicholas had been troubled by something, but he hadn’t confided in her, keeping his worries to himself.
As well as being withdrawn and secretive, Nina noticed other things that puzzled her. Nicholas was overly preoccupied with their financial affairs. At first, she gently asked questions to try to find out what was happening, but was brushed aside. She sometimes woke at night and heard him in the study, working at the computer and opening cupboards and drawers. Once she even heard him sobbing quietly.
She remembered that there was some talk of insanity and mental breakdown in the men of her husband’s family. Her husband’s father and uncle both disappeared mysteriously years ago, after months of odd behaviour, and nothing was ever heard of them again. The police assumed they had both had a breakdown and committed suicide. Nina was possessed with the fear that this awful thing was now becoming apparent in her own husband.

 Extract 2-
Suddenly they heard a plane flying low overhead and they looked up, shading their eyes with their hands. They couldn’t see the plane, but it sounded close. Seconds later, there was a sickening boom, and the ground rumbled beneath their feet. It was 8.46 a.m.
Everyone on Liberty Street stopped to stare in disbelief as a plume of puce-coloured smoke curled its way skyward from the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
The family gasped with horror, along with many other people standing nearby, as they realised that the plane had flown straight into the side of the building.
Nicholas was the first to speak.
‘Nina, take the children back to the hotel – quickly. Theo and I will follow soon.’
Nina looked anxiously at her husband.
‘Can’t you come with us? Why do you want to stay? What are you going to do?’
‘Don’t be scared,’ said Nicholas, hugging her. He bent down to Alethea and Mila and put his arms around them.
‘Mila, Thea, go with your mother. Theo and I will come soon.’
The children waved at Theo and Nicholas with one hand, the other holding tightly to Nina as she hurried them away.
They continued to look over their shoulders until the growing crowds hid their father and uncle from sight.

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