So, having left the first draft of “Plank 2” [which reminds me: I wonder how the title poll is going?] to fester for a fortnight, today I finally allowed myself to start editing it. I hid myself away in the University Library (you remember my favourite location: North Front 5, among the impenetrable Russian history books so that I am not tempted to read, and overlooking King’s Chapel for inspiration) and managed to read through the first twelve chapters.
One of the surprising things is how much I had forgotten. There was one whole scene that I have absolutely no recollection of writing, and it works well – maybe someone sneaked on to my laptop when I wasn’t looking and wrote it for me. And another surprising thing is the number of silly mistakes I had made – in one chapter, a man was put on trial for one crime and found guilty of another. Now, I know that the Regency legal system was not as structured as our modern one, but that’s just plain silly. And in another chapter, a character changed their name halfway through.
As for major edits, the only one I did today was to swap the order of events a little, in an effort to increase dramatic tension. I have read that books should follow a certain profile, rather like a mountain range – foothills of introduction, then scaling peaks of tension, with cliffhangers along the way, and finally down into the plateau of resolution. Or something like that. I did consider trying to decide which chapter was which type of landscape feature, and then assembling them in the recommended order, but somehow Sam resisted it. “Plank 2” (like “Fatal Forgery”) is written in the form of a constable’s notebook, with each chapter an entry for a particular day, and that seems to demand a structure all of its own. Or maybe my beta readers will come back and demand Alpine scenery! I’m off to have a couple of Jaffa Cakes, and gird my loins for Big Edit Day 2 tomorrow.