I spent the weekend editing Cold Comfort (Decker’s War – Book 2), and at one point, I took a break and walked out onto the deck where Mrs Thomson was re-reading a sci-fi novel written almost 25 years ago by two of her favourites authors who were well-known and with many books to their credit. She made the comment that the book wasn’t nearly as appealing now as it had been when she was younger, not so much because of the storyline but because it seemed rather clunky to her more widely read eyes, especially when it came to transitions between scenes, which now struck her as very badly done, detracting from the flow of the tale.
In a moment of irony that gave us both a bit of a laugh, I’d just been putting the finishing touches on a transition scene in Cold Comfort that I’d known all along was lacking in depth and breadth. It was nice to hear unexpectedly from a lifelong sci-fi and fantasy reader that I was right to add the ten or so pages needed to make things flow more smoothly. Serendipity in action, I suppose.
Before going to bed last night, I checked the next transition to see if it too needed more time and space, but in that case, the abruptness added to the flow of the story rather than impeding it.
I should be done with the re-write of Cold Comfort later this week, after which it will land in my editor’s inbox. Once she has the manuscript, it’s back to Dunmoore Book 3, though I’m still not happy with the storyline and suspect I’ll have to go back to square one. I can only hope I’ll stumble on that elusive McGuffin soon and get going. I’d really like to have the first draft done before the end of the year.
If I’m unable to figure it out, then it’s onto the third work in progress, where I know I’ll be able to write to my heart’s content for a number of weeks, though, funnily enough, I’ve already got a transition scene that I’ll have to flesh out during the re-write. Where the one in Cold Comfort skipped a few weeks in Decker’s life (and now just glosses over a few hyperspace jumps between star systems), this one skips almost a year in the protagonist’s career. I suppose it’ll depend on the rest of the book whether that year is important or not. It’s all about the fine balance between keeping the action moving and fleshing out the background, especially if you want to keep to the principle of ‘show, don’t tell.’