Ugh. Editing my book is taking a lot longer than I expected. I thought I’d just read through the proof copy, make my typo corrections and call it done, but I find myself re-reading the entire thing and tweaking—adding a few sentences here, taking a few out there. One thing I’ve done, based on recommendations I’ve read from agents and editors, is I’ve taken out long blocks of description of my characters. I have always loved dialog better than anything, so I can go on for pages without ever describing the scenery around my characters. So, after writing scenes of almost nothing but dialog, I went back in (in one of my earlier editing sessions) and made a concerted effort to describe my characters and the setting around them a little better.
But I have since read, in multiple places, that nothing makes a book boring like long descriptions in the beginning of a book. Everyone was all about keeping descriptions of the characters to a minimum in the first five pages (or first chapter), and then it’s better to throw out a detail here and there, rather than describe all of them at once. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Cutting out the descriptive paragraphs is easy, but adding the details back in here and there is what’s taking a long time. I hope that the process will speed up once I get past the first two or three chapters, but who knows? I may have a lot of this in store for me.
Yesterday it took me all day to edit one chapter, and even now I’m rereading it and tweaking it, because I put so much new stuff in that I want to make sure I give it an additional read-over. Although, in fairness to me, one of the things I changed was I made the first chapter into two chapters—so, once you take that into account, I did two chapters yesterday. One of the critiques my husband had was that there weren’t enough chapters—although he did admit he is used to reading people like Robert B. Parker, who might have a chapter consist of a page or two. I don’t want chapters that short, by any means, but relative to my other chapters, chapter one was quite long, so I think breaking it up was definitely justified. I have 33 chapters at the moment, and that seems a good amount to me—not too many, but not to few either.