Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Second Novel Learning Curve

The learning experience of a first novel prepares the way for the second. Still, as I edit the second pages for the publication of In Pursuit, I realize how much more there is yet to learn.
1.  One thing I learned with Swimming with Serpents is the importance of a title. Women are not drawn to books with any reference in picture or word to snakes.
2. The synopsis of the novel on the back of the book must draw the reader into the book within 200 words.
3. Helping words begin to jump out at you at a time when you cannot edit them out of the manuscript. For example:
“Arbuthnot!” Jackson spat with contempt, his eyes flashing. “At last I meet the infamous instigator of this war! It is you who have led these poor savages in the belief that the treaty they signed in my presence is worthless! You have encouraged them in their depredations. It is you who claim to speak for them."

Leaving out unnecessary helping verbs gives more power to the writing.
4. The people you meet along the way certainly enhance one's life.  Victoria Wilcox (Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday) and I will be together on a panel soon and she has emailed me so that we can meet prior to that event at the Historical Novel Society. Her book was published in the UK. I look forward to learning more!

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