Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Reading a Manuscript Part Two (Part Two): Stitching Dave Up Good And Proper

My other general point about Dave’s writing concerns what I call ‘stitching’ – in other words, how the manuscript links together, and in particular (to continue the analogy) to make the narrative as seamless as possible. My previous point on the chapter structure is, in a way, stitching on a macro level: my other stitching comments are far micro.

The first of these is to do with the way Dave sometimes lays out his sentences. There are occasions where there are a succession of single sentence paragraphs. It’s a powerful tool – it’s saying to the reader: this sentence is important – but using it too much can dull its impact. So I’ve asked Dave to have a look at this and, on occasions, add the stand out sentences to neighbouring paragraphs (as an aside, I noticed a similar thing with another author recently, whose book is based on a blog: is the internet influencing how people write?)

The second stitching point concerns how Dave moves between sections. Sometimes, it feels as though sections begin a little suddenly, with no nod to what has gone before – for example, ‘The coach to Erith and Belvedere for the Kent Senior Cup was full’. We’re just bang into the action. Far better, I think, when they link together. Here’s another example: ‘The next day, after a restless night’s sleep…’ Dave’s giving a sense of time, and the restless night’s sleep is to do with his anger in the previous section. These sort of tweaks might not sound like much, but over a book can really make a difference.

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