I’m still revising. Funny, I thought this book was nearly ready to ‘go’, but the more I look at it, the more I find to tighten and the more I tighten, the better it seems to be (to me anyway). I’ve chopped out a lot of names, as I said I was going to do, and not quite so many of my characters nod their heads then say ‘yes’ which, when you think about it, really is a waste of words.
Then I found this post on the Internet and started sweeping through the novel again. Sure enough, my characters ‘look’ and ‘turn’ and ‘feel’ on just about every page. So the scissors are out again. It’s not always easy to get rid of the ‘looks’ and ‘turns’, though it can be done and I’m getting most of them out. In fact, I’ve been concentrating so hard on it that yesterday, when P was listening to the cricket and the commentator said “Oh, he turned that ball nicely to the offside,” I thought ‘hit the ball? twisted the ball? manoeuvred the ball?’ before I realised it wasn’t my job to get rid of that particular ‘turned’. I’ve had people point out my use of these words before and thought maybe they were being over-picky. But reading it through, no they weren’t.
Having characters ‘feel’ things is a tricky one. I write in very close third person. So when I say something like ‘He felt the perspiration trickling down his neck’, I’m really wasting words and taking the reader out of the character’s head, which I don’t want to do. They’re supposed to be inside his head, so all they need to know is that the perspiration trickled down his neck. Saying it implies he felt it.
The same goes with him watching something. Eg. “He watched the man take the book off the shelf.” Obviously, if I say ‘The man took the book from the shelf”, I’m implying that my character watched him do it, because you’re in his point of view, so I wouldn’t be saying it if hadn’t seen it.
The word count is going down nicely. Obviously I don’t want to edit it down to nothing, or edit it so far it loses its flow, but there is still a lot I can do.
Back to work!