I’ve been very busy the past week with some serious editing and rewriting in a portion of my novel. Several years ago, I introduced a new character at the beginning of the book. The new character, and the scene he appeared in, caused me to add an entire chapter. This chapter took the place of the original Chapter 1. I added the new character in order to show action in a baseball game. The character, Crandall Dorsey, became interesting to me and ultimately took on proportions that I had not intended. Crandall (also known as “Crab”) was too good to discard after the first chapter. It wasn’t that he became an integral part of the story, but rather that he was just too interesting not to bring back into the story in later chapters.
My rewriting last week took place in a scene involving a basketball game between Stillwater and Comstock high schools. Stillwater and Comstock exist in my story as towns in Northern Indiana. They are fairly close to one another, but their athletic cultures are quite different. In my new Chapter 1, I had established a reference to Comstock when I mentioned that it was the hometown of Whitey, Crandall Dorsey’s friend and his catcher in the historic baseball game between Stillwater and Deer Lake. In a subsequent chapter, I stated that Dorsey had moved his residence from Stillwater to Comstock as a result of a relationship he had with a young woman in Comstock. I intended to give Dorsey more appearances in the story by having him show up in sporting events. Since he was from Stillwater, it seemed natural to have him play on a Stillwater team.
But I looked at things differently for an instant the other day, and wondered what might happen if Dorsey became a member of the Comstock basketball team instead of Stillwater’s team. So I put him on the Comstock team. This was a great surprise to the Stillwater boys, who had never expected to see Dorsey on a team other than their own. To accomplish the abrupt change in my plot, I had to do some major rewriting of the basketball game between Stillwater and Comstock. The chapter, therefore, is quite a bit longer. But I believe it’s better.
I have about a dozen other issues to deal with before I can say I’m finished. Some are minor, others could turn into sticky messes. I won’t know until I start working through them.
Blogging takes me away from my work on the novel, but it satisfies my need to publish something. Books take a long time to publish if you’re fortunate enough to find a publisher. If you’re not fortunate enough to find a publisher, you end up eating the time you spent on the writing. It’s frustrating but you must look at it as an educational experience.
Now I must figure out how to put Richard Diggins in jeopardy of being ineligible to play basketball for Stillwater. Once I tackle that issue, I can figure out how to deal with Ivan Stetler’s drug addiction.