I have had an enlightening past several days. I did a line-by-line edit on my 375-page manuscript, looking to tighten here, add a little there, take out extraneous words, add personality clues -- you know, all those items that make a work more complete. What did I learn? Oh, let me tell you.
I learned I use two words far too often. They are "just" and "very," and they are just very unnecessary in almost every case. I left a couple cases of "just" in because they add the immediacy factor to events. "Very" disappeared entirely.
I learned the little asides I inserted in an earlier edit weren't needed. It was a needed nip-and-tuck.
I learned I needed to ramp up the tension in some chapters. I added more peril where peril was needed.
I learned my final chapter is pretty good. It gives an intimate look at my protagonist, and he is an interesting man to get to know. What can I tell you? He is retired military. He has a distinguished record. He is a good businessman, good enough that he has a million-dollar house in the Seattle area. He lives alone, by design. He keeps the foundations in his life simple, but they have more than enough weight to support his needs. His life isn't perfect, and it gets more imperfect.Therein lies the rub.
I learned I like this guy more every day. He is a challenge. People are more interesting that way.
WHAT I AM READING: I stayed in my "The Art of ..." groove. I finished "The Art of Racing in the Rain," which was enjoyable but somewhat inconsistent. I absolutely loved the start and the ending. I look differently at my dogs because of that. I am just starting to read "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach. It was recommended by some baseball beat writers I know, and by some normal people, too.
MY NEW JOY: I am on vacation this week, which means I call the shots on how my time is spent. Obviously editing and writing have filled several hours. So has time with family members and my always enthusiastic and lovable dogs. I savor chances to sit in the sun and enjoy 75-plus-degree days. I enjoy laughing with the people I love. Life is good.