For the last few weeks I have been immersed in Gavin’s world; re-drafting and editing with the support of Sandra Glover, my Cornerstones mentor. It has been very hard work, scary at times, but so rewarding.
In my previous blog, I wrote about experimenting with ways to show my main character’s thoughts. After trying out the various methods, I hit upon the version that suited me (and Gavin) and in doing so I found my all elusive ‘voice’.
The key aspect for me in this whole process has been about really seeing everything from the main protagonist’s point of view. I am totally in Gavin’s head! By doing this it has also made editing much simpler. If Gavin doesn’t know something, then neither does the reader. The reader is therefore going on the journey with him.
Cutting whole paragraphs, or even chapters was a very scary prospect. Would I ruin the whole thing by getting rid of some much loved chunks of writing or even, dare I say it, characters? The simple answer is, no, quite the opposite in fact.
Having another pair of eyes, someone who really ‘gets’ my story, has been invaluable in helping with the re-drafting and editing process. Sandra has made me think about and question my own writing. She has guided me to be able to self-edit.
All the way through the editing process I have kept three things in mind:
- Does Gavin know this, or need to know this, yet?
- Does this chapter/paragraph/sentence add to the story?
- Are the stakes getting greater?
With these questions I mind, editing became straight forward. Sticking to what is essential to the plot has made the writing much tighter and more exciting. Sadly, the Prime Minister and a Great Aunt just had to go as they weren’t contributing enough to the story. A whole section, which had been lovingly crafted to show just how messy a heap Gavin’s bedroom is, also went … along with much more. Unfortunately, this led to one or two of Gavin’s favourite gadget inventions also being “uninvented”!
Whole new sections have been written as a result of the tightening up of the plot. However, I found that they came relatively easily because I knew where the plot needed to head and how Gavin would react I each situation.
What I’m left with, is a clearer, more focused adventure, full of quirky, eccentric characters and inventions. The reader experiences Gavin’s many disasters and triumphs, alongside him. They are with him in his darkest hour and feel his despair; his questions are their questions as he battles with his lack of self-belief; and they celebrate with him when things actually go right for him.
The next stage is to write, the dreaded one page synopsis … if you have any tips for doing this please comment below.