Saturday, January 18, 2014

In Which I Catch Myself Cheating!

My editor is incredibly good. He has brainwashed me into clearly identifying instances where I'm being a lazy writer. He sent me his suggested edits for the first 7 chapters of Heraclix & Pomp.  In several places he showed me that, by using an intrusive narrative voice, I have pushed the reader out of the character's point of view (whether the character is Heraclix or Pomp or a minor character). For this, I am grateful.

In the process of cleaning things up, I came across these sentences from chapter 9, wherein Pomp has just entered Hell:

Bits and pieces of her . . . "past" is the word, float all around her. She cannot comprehend the many images and events, but knows they are hers.

It made so much sense when I wrote it, but now I look at it and I hear the word "LAZY" being screamed into my brain (don't worry, my editor doesn't scream - my conscience takes care of tone and volume control in my head).

Here, I'm telling, not showing. To make matters worse, I'm telling the reader what she intuitively knows. Now, there's nothing wrong with 3rd person omniscient POV, but it really robs the reader of the joy of discovery. My readers are smarter than your average bear, I like to think. So why not provide them with the information in some other way that lets them discover Pomp's intuitive feelings and thoughts with her? Then, the reader is a part of the story and feels more of a bond with Pomp, allowing sympathetic and even empathetic feelings to come into play later on in the story.

Now, how am I going to fix this? To be honest, I don't know. That's the struggle of editing - identifying what's wrong, then making it right. I suspect that the second sentence will have to be exploded into a larger description of what she sees that clearly shows to her that these memories are owned by her

Wish me luck! Later this year, you get to read the results. :)

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