I think I’ve come a long way. I have highlighted many of the problems in my manuscript and created a sort of rough guideline on what I need to do. Many of the later chapters needed expanding; two could actually be moved up in the story; and certain details can be simplified/refined. Also, in light of the changes in my personal tastes/style, I’ve decided to in fact rewrite most of the story, starting from the first sentence.
The reason for this is quite simple. When I first wrote the story, my focus was on the plot–the elements and events. Now that the mass of the plot is written, I have to hone and improve the actual style and structure of the prose. I don’t think my first draft is fundamentally flawed, but I do think a change is style would improve the story quite a bit.
Here’s an example. This is a paragraph from my original draft:
The small key clicked gently in the lock as thin, lithe fingers twisted the door open. A dark figure remained crouching in the doorway, his eyes taking in every detail of the room. Finally he moved, slowly, imperceptibly, beyond sound. He rose to his full height as he towered over the bed; there was no need for sneaking. The dim-witted guards below were completely unaware of his presence. The fat, snoring man who lay unmoving in the bed was completely in his power.
A bit verbose, don’t you think? Although it accomplishes most of my goal: introducing the scene, establishing the mood and presence of the main character, I think it rambles on a bit.
My goal for the second draft is to hone the language, emphasizing the action when appropriate, the emotion when appropriate. I want to draw my readers into the story, so they will be captivated by every character and moment. It takes work, but it’s definitely worth it.
Next post, I will update on how well I’m getting with it.