How my novel is progressing

I haven’t written about my work on my novel for quite some time. So, I thought I’d bring you up to date. Yes, you’re right. I’m still working on it after all these years – about seven at least. However, I think I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, I’m working on draft number eight.

  Papa’s Shoes (working title)

A few months ago, I hired an editor to do an assessment critique, and after a thorough reading, he provided me with ten pages of single-spaced notes, with many rewriting assignments. Before I embarked on any of it I asked him to honestly tell me if I should put the book on a shelf and forget about it, or keep on working. He suggested I keep working, and that’s what I’m been doing.

For the last several weeks I’ve been working steadily to accomplish the editor’s suggestions. And while I work on the novel, I totally ignore social media of every kind. That was hard at first, but it gets easier with time.

The first thing I did was abide by the editor’s suggestion to change the narrative from present tense to past. That took many days, and even though I thought I did a thorough job, when I go back through the book to tackle other suggestions, I find many places where I missed changing the tense. That enforces the need to hire a professional line editor before  a book is finished and ready for querying or self-publishing. Fresh eyes other than one’s own are so important.

Other things I’ve been working on are:

  • Structure: making sure that the story is about all my four main characters. As it stood when the editor saw it, it was first the father’s story and later the daughter’s.
  • Pacing: Some less important things get more attention than the more important things. Also, some events happen too quickly
  • Data Dumping: instead of the narrator telling about historical events (my novel is historical), have the characters muse about these things in their own voices.
  • Confusion as to whether the narration is omniscient or limited
  • Avoiding mundanities
  • Avoiding clichés
  • Give events more color to help bring more life to the characters
  • Dialogue: use body language rather than spelling things out in dialogue. Also turn some dialogue into internal monologues

This is a sampling of the editor’s comments. However, one more assignment stands out:

Write new, pivotal scenes that take place within a given timeframe that will show the passage of time. I had the tendency to race through time. This assignment has taken a lot of time and thought, and as of today, I am far from being finished with it.

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I know a lot of you are working on novels or memoirs. Where are you in your process? Have you sought professional advice as well? Please share your experiences with us.

 

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