Saturday, April 19, 2008

Working My Way Through the Notes

I mentioned earlier that I have six pages of critique notes to plow through. I've now almost finished with Page One, which has six items.

I've addressed the first five--deciding not to make changes relevant to one--and am working on the sixth, which needs to be dealt with in several places in the novel. You can imagine that just finding the location the notes relate to takes time. Yes, it's slow going, but I'm picking up speed.

Some of my notes are quite cryptic, like "Inconsistent: Brother Jeff & Miss Becky". Others give me clear goals: "Heppie and Jessie look daggers at Ned for swearing in cafe--make it clear." Okay, that may not mean much to you, but it works to jog me into clarifying the wording of a sentence that is currently a bit ambiguous.

Other notes say things like, "Becky needs to coo over the baby." A small thing, yes, but a detail that will bring additional warmth to that scene.

Oh goodie! I can check off this note: "Ned's curly yellow hair? Put in somewhere earlier. Does Jessie like it? So different from James! George, sandy hair?" I found a place early in the book where I'd already mentioned Ned's hair, but it was light-colored and straight. Oops! I fixed that, and found an appropriate spot to talk about George's hair color, too. Check mark!

I believe I've addressed part of the "lament . . . the pain of broken ribs again" problem, but can surely add a word or two there. Half a check mark!

This final tinkering process is part of the work of re-writing and fleshing out the characters and their actions, and it's a fascinating part. I owe a great deal to all the critiquers who have helped me make my book stronger. Thank you!

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