I am working on another read-thru for the novella. For the most part, I’m doing a good job of restraining myself from making major changes, lest my editor’s hard work be wasted.
But there was one page.
When a character is disconnected from the scene and people around them, a description of a setting reads like a list. That bugs the shit out of me.
The character doesn’t necessarily need to be physically engaged or interacting with the scenery, but they should feel some way about it, otherwise the details aren’t important enough to mention.
The sun shone. The birds sang. Tree tops swayed in a breeze.
Grammatically correct, as far as I know. A reader can picture those details in their mind, no worries. But other than the mental imagery, what did that list offer the reader is terms of plot or character development? Not much.
I had a scene that read a bit like that, not quite to the extreme used in the example, but it did have a list-like quality. The character’s interpretation of her surroundings should tie seemingly separate details together. That didn’t happen in that particular point of the story, not to the extent that it read as smoothly as it could have.
So I slashed and burned it to the ground. And now I will probably have to look for a second editor. I’m not sure mine will have the time or the patience to go through the novella again.
Tonight’s project is one of my faves! Transferring paper changes to the computer file. Now, now, don’t be jealous of my glamorous writing activity. Someday you may have your own freakishly dull task to accomplish.
Have a lovely weekend. Don’t cause too much trouble. Zoe has her eye on you and it’s not the lazy one, so you’d better watch out.
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find a download of three short stories (free ebook) and links to my novel excerpts on Scribd.