I’m 23,000 words into the rewrite of a psychological thriller dealing with family secrets, a serious crime and a wealthy man with gangster connections. The writing’s going well, I think, but I’m finding elements of the revision hard going.  In particular, I’m finally having to address structural problems that I’ve generally tended to avoid up till now.

During a recent meeting with an editor, several points emerged:

  1. Readers might have difficulty identifying with the central character, as the character is never really developed in the present;
  2. A significant degree of confusion over two major male characters; 
  3. The central character makes certain assumptions without valid reason;
  4. Authorial voice interrupts viewpoint narratives on occasion;
  5. The central character needs to react to the rising danger in more realistic ways.

There were also promising aspects of the work.  



At present, I’m concentrating on:

  1. Building up more thorough images of significant characters;
  2. Increasing the information experienced through the senses, such as sounds, music, specific smells, etc;
  3. Delaying the central character’s rising paranoia until much later in the story;
  4. Holding back on some of the central character’s childhood memories, background information and back stories;
  5. Finding more sophisticated ways of dealing with memory throughout;
  6. Working in scenes rather than chapters;
  7. Spending several days at a time reworking the scenes before printing them out;
  8. Allowing the plot to unfold gradually;
  9. Making sure that each incident and plot development reveals something new.

4 thoughts on “The Novel Rewrite

  1. Waiting for the next lot of comments. Keep up the incentive and forget about the snow although it looks pretty.

  2. Yes, it really helped. I feel the editor was telling me to trust my own insticts as to how the story should proceed. I’ve taken the novel in several new directions now.

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