Faithful readers may have noticed that content has been sparse around here lately, though at least I’ve managed to keep the Friday feature going with some regularity. Life is good and no one should worry, but life is also busy. In the last two months (and a bit) I got married and bought a new house, so life is still very much in transition. My new favorite phrase has become “it’s a process.”
Since long-form book reviews have not quite worked their way back into my schedule, I’ve been thinking about some other features to explore. Today launches one of them–Writing Wednesdays, because even though I’m not blogging I’m still doing pretty well keeping on my fiction writing. So why not tell you some about it? I’m not sure if this will be a weekly or semiregular feature but…it’s a process!
Right now (and for the last couple of months) I’ve been working on final (?) revisions to what turned out to be Book One of my Phantom of the Opera Trilogy. I’ve been properly working on this (at intervals) since 2013, and the roots of the story go back almost ten years before that. So it’s very exciting to be getting close to a final version of…well, a third of the story at least!
I’ve spent the last couple of months going through comments from six very kind beta-readers. The good news is that none of them found insurmountable issues, and all had helpful insights. Just a few days ago, I started going through the novel from Chapter One, implementing on some of the more over-arching things people recommended the story still needed. I’m calling this Draft 3.1, but couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been through this. It’s hopefully a good sign I still find the story interesting!
I’m well into the stage that I call layering. No scenes are moving around, hardly any paragraphs are moving around–I’m at the point of adding a sentence here, a phrase there, and layering more detail and emotion and themes onto the top of the story. This is why my drafts consistently get longer… On this go around, to get Meg to show more emotions while making ballet dancing more a part of her character, while the Phantom needs more musical references. And setting. I need much more setting, in Meg’s scenes in particularly, because a setting like the Opera Garnier requires description.
On Monday I worked on a scene in Chapter Two, set on the Grand Escalier, and realized I hadn’t described it at all. So I added this.
Around me the girls were talking about that morning’s practice, about what would happen at that evening’s performance, and I was interested. But I couldn’t just ignore where we were either, much as I knew I should be casual about it.
We were on one of the branching halves of the stair, its twin rising up opposite us, the center of the stair plunging down below. Just behind me stood two elegant statues swathed in robes, flanking the entrance to the auditorium. Pillars soared up and up all around us, carved railings circled from the balconies above, and regal faces looked down from up near the ceiling. And everywhere, everywhere, intricate carvings and elaborate designs. The stairs were the plainest thing, and even they were in a dozen shades of marble and designed in delicate curves. How could the other girls disregard all this so completely?