The devil in the details

I can’t get over how much I’ve added just in the first 11 chapters. The more the story gets fleshed out though the more things I’m realizing need to be translated through actions and dialogue. The thing about writing a story in 1st person is that all the information is interpreted through Alice’s eyes. And she could very well mis-interpret things, she is only human after all and is only able to see things through her limited understanding of the situation. However how Alice interprets things is how the story is going to be understood and sometimes the other characters aren’t understood as well as they should be. Since I’ve gone back to seriously edit the story, I’m spending a lot of time re-working certain dialogue because that’s the only way I can translate the other characters feelings into the story.

At first I found it quite easy, but now that the story has become more complicated and people’s emotions are starting to run high, things are starting to happen etc, I’m really having a hard time finding the right words and the proper interpretation of actions to adequately describe my characters. I don’t want them to come across as heartless or one-dimensional, but I don’t want people to read it and say “Well that was really unrealistic of so and so to pick up on that in this situation”. For example, character feeling really anxious interprets another characters actions as not caring but they actually do care and therefore I somehow need to translate the one characters mis-interpretation all the while trying to portray the actual feelings of the other character through things like dialogue, expressions etc…  and it’s really… difficult.

Since hitting chapter 10 I’ve started re-writting whole paragraph’s and whole pages of dialogue. It really feels like this will be a totally different book by the end of the final draft simply because some of the conversations aren’t even remotely close to what the originals sounded like. The one good thing about all this is that I’m starting to understand my characters better. I really feel like I am experiencing their conflicting emotions or their anxiety or fear, happiness etc, whatever it might be and as such I can better translate who they are on paper. It just might take a really long time, like when I spent 5hrs on 1.5 pages, but hey, it turned into a really good 1.5 pages and I’m super excited about the scene I re-wrote and I hope when you get to read it, you will be excited too! So back to plugging away and we’ll see how far I get this week, since I work for most of it.

~Ali.Kat

 

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