Friday, May 22, 2009

Deep in edits

I'm madly doing edits and requested rewrites for Lions' Pride. I'm delighted with Linda's comments and suggestions overall; they'll make the book stronger without changing my tone.

A few things I've found especially interesting in this process:

1) How much Sophie Mouette's style slipped into this book in places. We were finishing Out of the Frying Pan when I started Lions' Pride--I wrote the first chapter in Oregon, across the table from Dayle while she worked on the next installment of OOTFP--and working on other projects together on and off. Sometimes I fell the style that works so well for romantic comedy--short paragraphs; clever breezy dialogue, lots of cute, conversational asides--which doesn't work so well for a dark paranormal. The tension in a romantic comedy, aside from the sexual, is largely verbal, and clever word games works. Past a point, they distract in something with real suspense.

2) Things that seem obvious to me aren't to other people. This is because the inside of my head is a strange place at times. I had a bit where a character was thinking the phrase "her One True Love (capital letters and all)." Now, I think this was an example of #1--while it seemed natural for this particular character to have wise-ass thought patterns, even under deep stress, it was too flip for the moment. But I was also reminded from Linda's reaction that thinking in typography is not something everyone does--and was certainly not something this character, who's smart but not bookish--would do.

3) In real life, I try to diffuse tense situations with humor. In writing, I do the same thing for my characters. Joss Whedon is brilliant with this--think Xander or Wash, who can come up with one-liners that add to the tension because they remind you how much you love these characters. But I don't always do it deliberately and brilliantly like Joss does. Sometimes my subconscious pulls back from the drama and pain of the moment and injects something that lets me get on with the dirty business of torturing my characters. Which is fine as long as I recognize these moments in the editing stage and fix or axe them.

4) I use like too often, and rely too heavily on adverbs. I also use She heard, she saw instead of stating what she heard and saw more directly. Hrrm.


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