Moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Finished the first key section of Chapter 1, and have jumped to Chapter 3 where Thomas meets Sandra at the Central Park Boathouse. Previously, this meeting had been venomous, the language biased against her, portraying Thomas with greater sympathy. Now that’s all been changed through a subtle revision. Sandra is less cold and vicious and more uncertain and upset. Thomas is less passive and melancholy and more confused and angry. It’s like I’ve leaned over and stuck a poker deep in the bowels of a banked fire, raking it up, blowing oxygen into its cherry red core and coaxing flames to dance from the ashen logs.
And I had to cut my favorite sentence in the whole book. Ah! I’ve always heard that expression, “You have to kill your darlings” and mocked it. My darlings. How pretentious. But this line, ah, such a great metaphor, so perfect and different and fitting! But it fits the old Martha, not the new Sandra, so with great reluctance I deleted it, letter by letter, consigning it to oblivion. Ah well. The character is better for it.
This third revision is stranger and completely different from the second. Instead of simply rewriting chunks, I’m editing long passages and dialogue, changing adjectives, descriptors, the occasional line. I’m modulating, going for a different cumulative effect, not hacking and sawing completely. It’s like modern surgery verses that practiced during the Civil War. Here’s hoping I’m doing enough.