Late edits to Chamber of Ghosts
Posted on March 9, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)
About a week ago, I was ready to hand out Chamber of Ghosts to beta readers. But I allowed Brian Clopper a head start, and he immediately pointed out the error of my ways.
Recently I had commented on one of his unfinished novels to say that an opening chapter lacked "umph" – that is, it started out by filling in the reader with a lot of background before getting to some action in real time. And what happened? I did the exact same thing with Chamber of Ghosts. Looking at it again, I can clearly see that my first two chapters are really not needed. Some of the content is necessary as quick reminders, but I can sprinkle that stuff into the third chapter where there's some real action going on.
And so I've now lopped off two chapters and made my third into Chapter 1. I'm currently adjusting it here and there, but overall the novel will have about 5000 words cut. The result is a leaner, meaner opening.
This, of course, is what beta readers are for! A writer gets so close to the book that he fails to see the woods for the trees, and a beta reader can come along and point out something that should be glaringly obvious.
While reading Mountain of Whispers just now, I came across a few small but important details that I need to address in Chamber of Ghosts. Nothing major, and very easy to alter in an unpublished book... but these things would have been highly embarrassing if they'd slipped through. Which was, of course, why I decided weeks ago to read all the books again from start to finish. I'm finding all kinds of minor details I'd forgotten about.
There may be other things in this new novel that I need to address, but right now I'm hoping to get this book into the hands of more beta readers sometime during next week. More on that soon.
Sounds a really valid decision, some of the filling in used in previous books was not needed for me as I read them back to back - however if I had had some time in between it could have been useful to me (would have been useful for me in some of the Harry Potter books as there was so long between them) but I did feel as they were not technically stand alone books a bit less was needed.
So increases the anticipation and any small personal nitpicks can be overlooked by such overall good book content and storyline.