90 Minutes of Work

7 a.m. About 90 minutes of work; I went back in and re-read the first four chapters, smoothing language, but also making sure to bring out some emotions that a first reader had asked about. I’d meant the character to feel them, but her comments made me realize the emotions hadn’t made it onto the page.

I think this is a general problem of mine, and maybe a little bit of a carryover from lit fiction that isn’t serving me well in genre? If you read Bodies in Motion, you get very little explicit emotion — everything in that book is written glancingly, subtly. Conveyed in gestures and stifled movements. It’s all a little claustrophobic.

And it makes sense for that book, which was in large part an exploration of cultural secrecy, the ways in which certain things, like sex, don’t get talked about, especially to unmarried daughters.

But this book is about something else, so there’s no need to write in that mode, and I do think genre readers are generally used to a little more emoting on the page. 

It was a big problem with my attempt at YA, actually — multiple editors I showed the YA book to said that they wanted to see a lot more intense emotion on the page. Big feelings, which certainly seems teen-appropriate, but while I wanted my characters to be feeling those, I hadn’t expressed them emotionally, physically in the book. If I ever go back to that YA novel, that’s the main thing I’ll be looking at re-working.

But yes, I think I’ve managed to bring some of the emotion out a bit more now in this morning’s work. Next is going on to chapter 5, but I’m going to rest my fingers a little, maybe make myself an egg. Oh, or better, a little leftover Thai curry, yum. Then back to it.

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