Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Re-draft.

I've been hard at work since my meeting with Luigi at LBA, trying to make sure that I have a completed manuscript ready by September 2010. Fortunately, despite the amount of work, I'm well on target.

Cutting a 150,000 word novel down to between 110 / 120,000 words is no mean feat in itself, but it's surprising how easy it becomes once you get stuck into it. In my particular case there is a change of story and plot-line to consider, which allows for judicious cutting and editing along the way, but none the less I'm already down to 130,000 words without having lost anything I need.

Harder to achieve is the tremendous amount of research that the story changes require. Years of studying certain aspects of scientific endeavour ( chiefly cosmology and Einstein's General Relativity ) have given way to rapidly gathering information on genetics, mtDNA, Biblical archaeology ( honest! ) and cellular biochemistry. It took me two years to understand relativity. I have two months to master my all of my new subject material, ensure that it's accurate, and incorporate it into the story.

But it's FUN! And that's in addition to Luigi's request for "more action". This has required me to subtly change my hero's motivation and character, giving him a more determined and driven edge to account for his willingness to go on the attack as well as use his wits to achieve his goals. I like my leading characters to be believable, not Uzi-weilding Terminators of the ( yawn ) ex-SAS type, so his actions must be justifiable in the eyes of the reader. To me it's always a disappointment to read about a hero with his back to the wall facing three adversaries, wondering how he's going to get out of the situation, only for him to drop them all using some bloody Vulcan death-grip or something and walk away unscathed, all square-jawed and invincible.

For once, editing and redrafting is a joy, and it's great to see the novel taking its new shape. The pace of the story is almost doubled by removing the things that Luigi felt were unnescessary, and I still have 6-8 weeks to complete the work and polish it before sending it back to Luigi. Onward and upward!

4 comments:

Col Bury said...

Hi Dean,
I've just read all your previous blogs on the search for representation, and I can only tip my hat to you, as I'm going through a similar process.
Looking forward to reading your novel, fella.
Regards & respect,
Col

Dean Crawford said...

Hi Col,

Thanks for your comments. I'll be posting examples of my submission letter soon, along with anything else I can think of that will help other aspiring authors.

Keep pushing mate - it's taken me around 10 years to get an agent, and it still feels 'odd' as I keep forgetting I'm represented now. But it's all worth it! :o)

Matt Hilton said...

The hard work will pay off, Dean. And trust, Luigi: he knows his stuff.

Who needs ex-SAS tough guys anyway? LOL

Dean Crawford said...

Thanks Matt,

Funnily enough Luigi and I debated the main character in my novel - Luigi wanted him to be ex-Special Forces so he could handle guns more etc in the story. I agreed about the guns, but felt there were too many ex-SAS heroes on the shelves already and wanted him to remain a former investigative journalist, thus being a bit different.

The result? A former journalist embedded with the military in the Gulf War and thus trained to handle himself. Job done, with Luigi's help :o)