Over at SisterMuses, we’re continuing our September blog fest with a focus this week on the editing process. On Monday, I wrote about Big Picture Editing — making sure that character, plot, and setting all perform the functions they are supposed to perform and work seamlessly together. Yesterday, I discussed the importance of Consistency Editing – everything from making sure your main character’s eyes stay blue throughout the novel to keeping your setting cohesive.
As promised, I want to personalize this conversation in terms of my own work on The Lords of Askalon. Right now, as I write furiously to finish the last few chapters, the rest of the manuscript is with my SisterMuse, J. Leigh Bralick. She is my beta reader — and she’s reading right now for exactly those things that I discussed in my editing posts this week. I also asked her to read for pacing — how quickly and effectively the plot moves — and to consider the balance between narrative and dialogue.
I love to write dialogue. A couple of years ago, I took up a project of adapting a novel into a screenplay (and no, it hasn’t gone anywhere further than my desk). It was an amazing project for a number of reasons, and I still have hopes that someday, once I get up the guts to submit it somewhere, it might be picked up and made into a film. But one of the most important things that it taught me was how character interaction – and specifically interaction through dialogue – can move the plot.
Think about it. Movies are almost entirely dialogue. Characters are revealed through what they say, and their conversations drive the movement of the plot. If you feel like you have a hard time writing dialogue, set yourself the challenge of adapting a few pages of a favorite novel into a screenplay format. Don’t add a lot of camera angles and description. Just focus on conveying the story through dialogue. It’s a fantastic exercise, and lots of fun!
However, writing a novel is not writing a screenplay, and I want to make sure that my fondness for using dialogue to advance plot doesn’t become overbearing. And that’s where J. Leigh, with her fresh eyes and unbiased approach, comes in.
So that’s where I am at this moment. And we’re also finalizing the cover design, which is just so exciting. J. Leigh is a brilliant artist and her design for this novel cover is awesome! Can’t wait to share it!
More updates soon…but must get writing!