Saturday, August 15, 2009

"C" is for...

I've been rereading an old version of a novel I really, really need to sell. (My salesperson friend is giving me all these visualization hints, the "acting as if" advice, and the whole shebang--which I already know how to do!--but that's another post for another time.)

This version is much longer than my present 95K--almost 10K longer (which is, any way you look at it, quite a bit). Some of that 10K extra comes from an extended, and unnecessary, denouement at the end of the book, a habit I've learned since not to do. I mean, we don't really need to sit though reading how our heroine tells our hero all the details of what he didn't know for the first 90K words...we can assume that since our hero and heroine end up getting married, that she probably fills him in on what we've watched unfold! :-)

But some of that 10K comes from extra words that serve another purpose entirely, one I had forgotten about--and one I suspect I shouldn't have.

I spent a great deal of effort cutting and trimming what I thought was "romance speak" from the book in order to make it a straighter thriller, years ago. And, to be fair, while I was writing this BIG version, I was reading a lush historical book, and you can tell a little more "historical speak" crept into this book than should have. But that aside, I was struck when rereading this how many emotionally in-your-face sentences I had utterly discarded...and how many of them I really liked when I read them again.

Sure, I would rephrase them now. I had my heroine asking endless questions before. Was he warning her of a sinister force from beyond...or from himself? Things like that. Endless examples of things like that. Almost--dare we say it?--a book that edges dangerously close to melodrama.

The problem is, now I'm wondering if maybe some of that melodrama was actually something readers enjoyed. Some of it may have enabled a reader to get into character better, to understand where my characters were, what went into the decisions they made and how those decisions cost them...and that when I cut those "excess" sentences, I cut away a layer of emotional painting that might now be making a difference in how this book is being received.

Which, to put it bluntly, ain't great.

And it was better before.

So in the interests of bringing this book to the point where it gets good attention again--where it makes people sit up and take notice more--I'm going to experiment with undoing my cuts, putting some of those sentences back in, and see how I feel about them. Some of them, in present form, are a bit "purple"--but I can fix that. In an effort to make this book into something it probably was never meant to be...I "overfixed" it. So now I get to undo that. Unlearn the subtle. Unlearn the sterile. Unlearn the sparse, and let myself and my readers enjoy, savor, and fret--at the proper time--a bit more.

"C", in some schools of thought, is for cutting. And, make no mistake, this book will more than likely not be 104K anymore. But "C", in my case, needs to stand for compelling. As in what I need to bring this book back into being. As in "getting the feeling back."

And, it is to be fervently hoped, as in finally getting a contract.

Wish me the proverbial writer's luck, I guess....


1 comment:

Deb said...

My thoughts are: go for the un-subtle. Even if it turns out to be light purple prose. A nice shade of lavender is always good...