Novels are perplexing projects. As I been working on editing my novel my appreciation for all the layers that create a novel grows. Beyond the plot and story structure, I’ve been working on giving my characters more dimension in my novel.
My body language vocabulary needs some work. I don’t rely on stereotypes but my characters have a similar feel in the story. As I’m editing I see that I have favorite gestures and expressions my characters do. Things like grinning, smiling, shrugging, and sighing happen frequently. It’s as if during the first draft my brain was happier with the easily identifiable gestures rather than looking for deeper descriptions, which is partly true because I didn’t have my inner editor while I wrote. I’ve made a note to make sure I pay attention to character body language when I read fiction to learn from the experts. I may need to make a body language cheat sheet just to give me alternate descriptions on how people move and interact.
The story itself is bothering me. I wrote it during a tough time in my life. There are many humorous scenes because I needed humor to cope with the major sadness that surrounded me. Things are smoother now and I’m finding that the book is one funny scene after another. I’m trying to sort out the motivations behind the scenes to see how to work in the serious things that I need to talk about. The serious part of the story is darker and I find it hard to focus on it.
The main character also spends a lot of time walking around and cleaning. While this may lead to some interesting discoveries, I’m pretty sure a reader isn’t going to feel compelled to read a story where a character does nothing but clean. It has made it easier to cut out sections because I was able to combine chapters together. There are about 36 chapters and if I can drop a few more I think the story will be better.
There are many scenes where the main character spends a lot of time walking and cleaning. While this may lead to some interesting discoveries, I’m pretty sure a reader isn’t going to feel compelled to read a story where a character does nothing but clean. Some of them have been easy cuts, but the transitions have tricky to tie other scenes together. There are about 36 chapters and if I can drop a few more I think the story will be better.
I trust that I will figure it out. On my next novel, I hope things pull together I little easier so I can write more efficiently. The way I did this one is requiring more work than I anticipated.