I have noble writing intentions, but right at the moment they’re getting overshadowed by the practical reality of continuing to polish my novel until it gleams. Whenever I think I’ve finished I really haven’t, and whenever I go back to it I’m amazed by how much I’ve missed that simply doesn’t read as well as it should. This must sound like a familiar refrain by now to any regular reader of this blog, but it’s still surprising just how much there always seems left to do.
For me, the editing process isn’t about making my sentences flow better, though. In fact, it’s often quite the opposite. Certainty contains a number of action scenes, and in my first draft I wrote in long, luxurious sentences, thinking that style was “better”. Unfortunately I’ve come to realise that this type of writing just plain doesn’t work when you’re trying to convey a real sense of pace. Most of my editing has therefore involved breaking such examples up, transforming the narrative into a kind of staccato style that makes action read more urgently and move more quickly on the page. What’s weird (or at least seemed so when I first started doing it) is that simply taking off the tops and tails of sentences, and breaking all the rules that I learnt in school English lessons, makes all the difference.
Now, then, the action scenes hopefully read like a breathless thrill ride. And I have to say, it’s been great fun to see them come together. Reading them on the page in their current form is pretty satisfying, and they’re almost unrecognisable from the early drafts. While I love writing dialogue and interesting character stuff, there’s just something about action which makes it a real guilty pleasure.