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:
- Readers might have difficulty identifying with the central character, as the character is never really developed in the present;
- A significant degree of confusion over two major male characters;
- The central character makes certain assumptions without valid reason;
- Authorial voice interrupts viewpoint narratives on occasion;
- 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:
- Building up more thorough images of significant characters;
- Increasing the information experienced through the senses, such as sounds, music, specific smells, etc;
- Delaying the central character’s rising paranoia until much later in the story;
- Holding back on some of the central character’s childhood memories, background information and back stories;
- Finding more sophisticated ways of dealing with memory throughout;
- Working in scenes rather than chapters;
- Spending several days at a time reworking the scenes before printing them out;
- Allowing the plot to unfold gradually;
- Making sure that each incident and plot development reveals something new.