Reworking Dialogue

The big work on my editing this week was focussed on dialogue. What I had originally written had felt stilted and disjointed and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was in the exchanges that was wrong. I was beginning to think that I was going to have to throw out a couple of chapters of my book and start them over again, when I finally managed to find the flow that I knew was there between the characters. There are a couple of earlier chapters in the book which might yet still need a rewrite, despite having gone through editing a couple of times over.

Another benefit to improving the flow of the dialogue is that it made the characters more three-dimensional and believable. I hadn’t set out to create my characters as cut-outs, but I couldn’t get the feel that they were alive from the pre-edited version. This was a big problem, as one of the characters has had a life-changing trauma take place a matter of hours before the discussion, but I couldn’t get the feel that they were anything more than flat through their words. Where was the terror? Where was the fatigue? Where was the emotion at having just seen their life completely change?

Thankfully, after the editing (and some rewriting) I have a couple of characters that the reader gets emotionally invested in. For someone who avoided dialogue like the plague for much of their early writing, getting things working again between characters in a conversation is a relief.

It also helped show what was wrong with my original version of the manuscript -- I knew something was off, just not what it was.

I’m thinking that, while the improvements have been great up to this point, that there is probably another two rounds of editing to follow before I’m happy that I’ve got this particular (very much non-Erotica) story tied down.

Time and Energy

Research and editing over the last few weeks has been a battle of energy and time. When I have the energy to get into the writing, I don’t have the time. When I have the time, I don’t have the energy. I have been making slow progress, so it’s still good steps forward. No timelines, though -- they’re for later on. I do want to have more than a snatched couple of hours here, couple of hours there, to get in and do things. As long as those scattered hours remain the time I get, I’ll just have to make the most of what I can do with them.

In the middle of it all, I had my main writing computer take an unexpected nosedive after a system update refused to take. Hours of effort to get the system back online were wasted, and I was worried that I was going to have lost absolutely everything...

Thankfully, my backup hard drive had been quietly working away in the background over the last few months, and I had what appeared to be a perfectly good backup that was only a few hours old prior to the corrupted update. A nervous night of waiting followed as it slowly rebuilt my system but, come the next morning I had my old system back and running again. Only a couple of minor things had been forgotten when the rebuild took place, but the important thing was that I had all of my writing and archived research back.

I took the opportunity to update some of the software in my writing workflow, which I really should have done prior to attempting the system-wide update, but I had the opportunity to fix things with a relatively clean slate.