Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Fiction Day - Reading an Entire Novel Aloud

This is the day I vent, brag and elaborate about whatever stage I'm in leading up to my novel's publication. Today, I think my book sucks.

It doesn't help that I've been reading, writing, editing and rereading, rewriting and re-editing for two weeks. And I've been on a Lisa Gardner reading marathon (I read for 30 minutes before bed), so I go from reading her mysteries to writing mine. Big envious sigh.

I finished one full run through and several partials of particular chapters, but now I'm doing what I always do with my fiction and that's reading it aloud. Luckily I have a husband who's patient enough to watch an oak tree grow. He shuts off the television and lets me read. Monday I read 34 pages. Tuesday 107 pages. Wednesday, today, I still have time to knock out another 50-100 pages, but I also have my writing group at 6:30 when I need to read aloud a chapter for critique. Yes, I'm hoarse.

The more I read, however, the more I see - and the more frustrates me. I notice I've become a fan of the following words: threat, (33 times), case, (136), drama (14), breath (58), tremble (8), flinch (8), and wait for it . . . look (172 times). I'm forever circling LOOK on others' stories in my critique groups. (Red face.) Control F, here I come. On top of that, I'm almost fanatical about not overusing HAD. My editor inserted it all over the place after I'd deleted as many as I could. Apparently I overdid the HAD exorcism to the point of altering flow.

A few of the suggested edits bothered me, but mostly her notes for change were sorely needed. Yes, I may have overdone the cursing in spots and the analogies might exceeded the norm. Hey, I'm Southern. It's what we do. I look study the changes and marvel. This book has been rewritten from scratch several times - I mean, tossed out and redesigned. It's been edited at least a dozen times by different people and me. Heavens . . . what if I'd published this on my own?

So if I'm not on Twitter as much, or commenting enough on Facebook, bear with me. Imagine me in my recliner, ice water on my side table, pen in hand, reading . . . reading . . . reading.

As a good writing friend of mine said just today when I apologized for being preoccupied:  "this is what you've been wanting, the deadline turmoil and rush of publication. ;) "

Yep, I got that now - got it in spades! And actually, it's really cool.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Paint me green and call me envious.

Linda O'Connell said...

A dash of bourbon or a throat lozenge should ease your hoarseness. Read on, and congratulations on coming so far on your book.

Hope Clark said...

Ah, bourbon - good idea. Of course, not sure I'd be catching too many errors by the time I got to the 100th page of the day.

Kathleen Basi said...

I have a crit partner who is obsessed with "was." You could search her 400K novel and never find the word used once. I think she takes it too far, but I have to admit that her obsession has caused me to look for better options more often. I'd say I've probably cut half of the "was" language I used to use. Just had to share that, after your comments about "had." ;)

Call it a good day's work when you get done!

Lane Diamond said...

Ah, the joys of revision!

I not only read my work aloud, I act it out, complete with different voices for different characters. Really helps me identify issues of weak or ineffective dialogue, not to mention opportunities to enhance characterization because I now know the characters better.

Besides, it's fun.

widdershins said...

yep... really cool and strangely addictive!

Anthony J. Langford said...

Sounds like an enormous amount of work.

I don't know how you find the time.

Hard work no doubt.

Best of luck.
May you maintain your sanity.