I’ve managed to get some serious writing done since my last post. Twenty chapters of which, five are brand new, ten were totally rewritten and five had minor editing changes. That puts me back on track to have my editing done and the book submitted to an agent by the first of next year. I don’t know about other writers but for me, the hardest were the rewrites. Trying to save the good parts of a chapter, weave in the new story lines and make it seamless proved difficult at times. Lourdes cries out to be a stronger character, fearless, maybe a little too fearless. Rodriguez wants my readers to know more about him and the villains, well, villains will be villains. I’m in the process now of looking through the last forty chapters of the original book and trying to decide what can be deleted and what has to be deleted. This involves reading each of those carefully and pulling out any pieces of writing I want to save and including them in those chapters that won’t be tossed. Occasionally, I wonder if Steven King or William Faulkner ever had to go through this process. I know that all the writing books say they did but, was it this hard on them?
Dialog continues to be my weak point and I’m not sure how to work on improving that. People, my little word thief in particular, have recommended that I sit in Cafés and restaurants just listening and recording bits of conversation. Listen to the way different people speak. That’s a bit hard since I’m living in a Spanish speaking country and my book is in English. I suppose I could start going to a few of the meetings that various expats always organize, since they come from a wide range of countries that might help. Still, I need to figure out how to put tone, accent, pitch and other characteristics of speech into my dialog. I hope to make significant progress on this aspect of writing before I start my second novel.
I’m learning more and more about character development as I write. Almost all the books I have read about writing suggest that you answer at least 45 questions about each of your characters. Others suggest you write five pages on each of your main characters and two and a half on the lesser ones. Being a first time writer, I find that my characters change and grow as I write. They become a different person than the one I started with. I’m thinking that is possibly a good thing. A characters growth throughout the book can be an important aspect to good writing. I suppose that I will get my answer when I get my first critique back from an agent or publisher.
I haven’t left the apartment much since the last post either. A few trips to Wong for supplies and the Mercado for fruits, that’s about it. The days have been varied as is the wont of spring. They vary from cloudy and chilly to sunny and pleasant. I sit at my desk occasionally looking out my window and watch it all pass by. Birds perch intermittently on the roof of the house. They turn their heads, eyeing me with suspicion before flying off. Male pigeons ruffle their feathers and coo sounds to attract a mate. I watch all this for varying amounts of time. It all depends on where my thought process is at any given moment. Tomorrow my social life kicks in again. So, I’ll leave my bat cave and try to remember the rules of social interaction. Have a great week, as I am constantly urging, “do something creative.” Let’s all exercise the right hemisphere of our brains.