Over the Christmas holiday I spent two weeks editing my first draft of The Memory Keeper sequel, now tentatively titled Sparrow’s Silence. Being very honest here, at the time I thought the first draft wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. There were some plot changes that had to be made as the characters came up with an ending I hadn’t expected, but overall it wasn’t as much torture as I’d feared. I came home and sent it off to my two trusted editors.
I’ve been working hard since.
I seem to have a love of the passive voice. In particular those pesky ‘had’ and ‘was’ words. In my defense (read excuse), I struggled with this story. It was the first thing I wrote after three years of radiation fallout. You can see where I started getting into the rhythm of writing again, when the story started to smooth out. Right about the same time it was ending. That’s a good excuse but I’m still writing the same way. In this paragraph alone there are two uses of ‘was’ that I could have done without. I could have gone back and edited, changing ‘was ending’ to ‘ended’. But I wanted to show what I’m talking about.
What I can’t figure out is how those words managed to stay invisible when I did all the editing work over the holidays. I mean, I know what to look for. I do know how to use the ‘find’ tool in the Word programs. And yet I never did that because I never saw the words. So because they weren’t popping out, they didn’t exist and I didn’t need to search for them. All I needed to do was pat myself on the back for doing such a good first draft.
It’s a mystery how they all showed up after I got the revisions back. Maybe my editor friends added them in to keep me humble.
If so, they did an awful lot of work. I imagine my word count will have dropped in half by the time I’m done.
Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but still, I’m shaking my head. One editor gave up suggesting changes and just started highlighting every usage. You should see all the yellow. I now have a very sunny manuscript.
I need to figure out a way to rip off that invisibility cloak on the next story. Otherwise my two editing friends might run screaming when they see me coming with pages in hand.