You may have read my last post, where I finished the last chapter of Darkness, Set Us Free. Now I’m onto editing. As is so often the case with the first set of edits, I’m finding it more challenging and time-consuming than actually writing the book. Some chapters I fly through, and barely anything needs changing. Others take forever. Shuffling paragraphs, finding inventive ways to rephrase a clunky sentence, and deepening emotional scenes (of which there are many). I breathed a sigh of relief as I completed the structural edits to some of the early chapters, which I had already pegged as problematic. I thought, rather naïvely: After this, it only gets better.
Alas, I couldn’t be more wrong.
With this book, more so than our other books, each chapter is so intricately woven together that even the slightest change, sometimes only a sentence, has a huge impact. The book is like dominoes. You take one out and suddenly the whole line is broken, and things don’t fall perfectly anymore.
It puts the pressure on to find the perfect combination of words; to warp the truth in such a specific way that each character is both simultaneously in the right, and in the wrong. To make it so that each is the hero in their own story, even if they’re a villain in someone else’s.
It is challenging work. But, in doing so, I gain a greater appreciation of the (unusual) first person multi-perspective narrative that we’ve chosen for our book: One event can cause a cascade, and the effect of that cascade is felt through every member of a group. Each group member perceives and interprets the event in deeply personal ways, and their resultant actions can either overcome the event or multiply their problems. It highlights how a simple miscommunication can cause catastrophe.