February first. Can't believe how fast the weeks have flown by. In October, I told a friend of mine that I'd have "Shroud of Lies" edited and ready for her to give it a critique after the first of the year (meaning January). Little did I know the direction the story would take and how much would happen since that Saturday afternoon when I spoke with her. Edits, edits, and more edits. I'm nowhere near ready for anyone to read the manuscript yet. Just when I think I'm "done" I discover an interesting twist or find something else I need to add or change. Case in point, last week, I decided my opening line needed to be stronger so I changed it and asked my good friend Kim Smith to read it and see what she thought. "Not a hook," she said. And then she pointed out 12-14 insidences where I referred to the character's financial situation in the first nine pages of the manuscript. I can't remember the exact quote, but I believe she said something about beating the reader over the head with it. :)
My first thought was "Ugh" and to be honest, I was beginning to worry that I'd just muddied the waters with all of the changes, but I trust her judgement so I worked on the opening paragraph and the rest of the chapter several times throughout the course of as many days.
Eventually, I got it to work and for now, I'm happy. Is that the final edit for chapter 1? I doubt it, but I'm not concerned, upset, or stressed about any of this. I've continued to read through the remaining chapters and look for inconsistencies--so far, so good.
Writing is a process. I can't possibly know everything that's going to happen from beginning to end when I first outline a manuscript. I can't promise that my initial ideas for the plot will be good enough to continue throughout the book, nor can I predict how the characters will behave and change the course of events (only writers understand this). So, in order to maintain my sanity, all I can do is approach my writing with an open mind to change. Probably a good thing, because the one thing I can promise is that there will be many more before it's all over.