I wasn’t going to post anything more about it here, but I just discovered something striking while editing. Writing is how I learn to express myself. How I learn to craft the stories into something akin to art is via editing. Edit, edit, edit, edit. If you think you’re finished, it’s only because you have reached the limits of your skills. There is always more to learn and more to apply once you’ve mastered it.
That being said, today I realized where I struggle with books I’ve written or read. Each chapter is like a short story. Just as the start of a book is important, so is the start of each chapter. If I can connect the two points — not with plot or character but with feeling or emotive tenor — then I pull the reader fluidly from one chapter to the next.
In Discovery, Chapter 9 ends with a brief, but poignant event concerning an elderly lady. It is emotional, especially for the characters. The next chapter explains what is going on inside, and needs to make the emotional connection — in fact, it needs to ramp it up. This is where the book fell short before.
Here’s the old section at the start of Chapter 10:
With her eyes closed, she could hear Charlie chattering excitedly, and Abraham — she was the only one who got away with calling him that — was whistling softly.
And here’s the new text:
With her eyes shut, she was flooded with sensation. The aroma of chicken wafted delectably across the lobby, even washing away the tang of disinfectants and excreta. There would be leftovers, there always were, and the ladies were salivating in expectation. Mrs. Habersham was smacking her lips the way she did when eating. Above that sound, Mary could hear Charlie chattering excitedly, and Abraham—she was the only one who got away with calling him that—was whistling a soft melody.
Same scene, same events, but now, we are deeper in Mary’s head. That’s where we need to be, because I’m about to take you inside a dark place no one but her has ever been. You can’t just leap from an old-folks home to a nightmare fugue without making those little connections.
I’m actually excited about this project now, even if my Angel was the one who convinced me to take it on. I hope people read Discovery and then read the revised (renamed) book. I think the differences with be subtle, but worth the 2nd read.