When A Bad Guy Forever won the mystery/suspense/thriller category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler contest last week, believe me, it was a badly needed shot of encouragement. Sort of like those B-12 shots my mother used to give my old granny. Those shots kept her kicking for a good number of years. I’m hoping and praying to stay kicking long enough to get this manuscript revised and circulating.
For the past three days, I’ve been working nonstop. The first thirty-six hours, I read with pen in hand making notes where things didn’t make sense or where I needed more dialogue or internal thought. I haven’t read my manuscript in its entirety since I “finished” it the first time. Won’t tell you how long that’s been! My score sheets from the contest are invaluable. Much of what the two finalist judges said helped identify problem areas. It's amazing how different "professional eyes" (should I say an editor's eyes?) are from our own.
I’ve lived in fear that the rewrites I’ve been involved in during the past year were creating an unfixable mess. I’m tickled silly to say that’s not the case at all. I feel more positive and encouraged than ever! The thing didn’t read half bad. Oh, there are glitches and holes and a few problems, but they're all fixable. FIXABLE! Hooraaaay!Now I’m taking the notes I’ve written on the hard copy and I'm rewriting. The only thing that’s truly scaring me is how much I’m doing away with. Entire scenes are being discarded but they don’t work so they have to be dumped. I’m almost half-way through the book. Once I’m finished, I’ll pass it on to mystery writer Barbara Colley and let her mark it up. She’s excellent at spotting holes and asking questions that have to be answered. After fixing what she says is broken, hopefully, I’ll have a marketable manuscript. Do you think I should have more than one reader? Seriously now, cut me some slack. But do you?
I’m still having a few problems adding description and a sense of setting. Why is that giving me fits? I have to make a conscious effort to do it when it seems, at least to me, a lot of that should just appear naturally, then be tweaked. It dawned on me today that maybe in the future, I should plan my setting in detail before I ever start writing. What do you think?
Teach me something about setting and description and revision. My book is set in Louisiana. Am I just making sense of place difficult because I’m not really from Louisiana? Now that's a thought.