Friday, 10 September 2010

Rewriting the Novel - Day 3

When you're rewriting/reworking your novel – as I am – and you have jumped to page 38 and started there instead of continuing to allow your novel to begin on page 1 like any sensible person, you need to decide what to do with all the information contained in pages 1-37.

I am deciding this by reference to a list of questions I have asked myself. I jotted them down at the beginning of work on Monday under the inspiring heading 'Questions that need to be progressively answered.'

They emerged in no particular order and I shall quote them in full for your bafflement:

  • Who is the saint?
  • What has happened to M and what did the saint have to do with it?
  • What happened between M and his F and why/how? (I would leave you to guess but, prosaically, F = father)
  • Birds.

This last is not a question, just an aide memoire.

Of course, how to do backstory is a question a million writers before me have had to answer. That is, after they've answered the far more important question – is any of this backstory necessary?

It is necessary. Honestly.

And, now I've got M feeding the reader titbits of his backstory instead of laying the whole thing out in one go, there's a lot more scope for the unreliable narrator thing.

I like unreliable narrators.

Or do I?


Frances Garrood said...

While I don't understand exactly what your problems are (and guess I'm not supposed to) it's encouraging to know that someone else is busy rewriting. It's what I should be doing now, but oh, it's so hard to get down to...It's the fitting in of extra bits that I find so hard. How do you do it without making the joins too obvious?

Alis said...

I think if the extra bits really need to be there, then they'll fit in without the joins being obvious as there'll be a place for them to be.
You might need to top and tail to get them in, so you, as the author, will always see the joins, but because you know your stuff, the reader won't.