Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Revising: Switching from Narration to Dialogue

"I think the hardest part of writing is revising. And by that I mean the following: A novelist has to create the piece of marble and then chip away to find the figure in it." ~ Chaim Potok

OK, this is the morning I settle down and get back to revising One Night in Napa. First order of business? Fixing Chapter 2, which my critique group said was too narrative-heavy. Sigh. Of course, they're right, to an extent. So that means killing off some babies today. But I do have an idea that will change some of the narration to dialogue, tighten some of the setting and character details, and bring part of Chapter 3 into Chapter 2, so we get things moving a bit earlier. We'll see how it goes.

By the way, I'm reading a short story for review right now that has some beautiful narration, but it's trying too hard to be self-consciously different and beautiful. The first few times, I admired the language. Now it's just getting in the way. One of the top rules in writing: if the sentences draw attention to themselves, the reader is jolted out of the story ~ not a good thing.

And *that* is something I'm still working on learning, myself...

What about you, my fellow writers? What do you find most challenging when you begin to revise?

3 comments:

Liz said...

I'm in thick of revising right now. Mostly it's exciting - because I know my characters so well no - holes that I had (you know 'stuff happens here' is falling into place. The frustrating part is having to delete whole sections or going back and changing stuff because you went in a different direction in a later chapter. Good luck on your revisions.

Marianne Arkins said...

My big dislike? When I decide on a change at the very beginning that impacts the entire story so I have to go through and practically rewrite the thing.

"Playing House" anyone??

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

...still first drafting...I'll let you know when I get there...[scribble, scribble, scribble]...