Tense about tense

I’ve managed to delete about 500 words to bring the chapter one word count below 5,000 words. It feels good to have done it, it was easier to delete words than I thought it would be and it highlighted the story by removing what served only as fluff. Reading through to cull words and sentences as a task though is a challenging exercise because it’s difficult to be mindful of the flow at the same time. There are sections that need more attention regarding the flow of the story. Less is more is a great rule that serves to bring what’s important into the foreground. I want the story to speak to the imagination and carry the reader along effortlessly. Whether I can do this or not will be in the reading of it by another which is the next step when I put this first draft of chapter one aside.

Time has been eaten away so easily when I read back through my work. It was a worthwhile exercise; I have rewritten some sentences to better convey the story and without these read-throughs I wouldn’t have managed to do that.

There are so many things that I could continue to fuss over that would keep my attention fixed on chapter one for another week to a month. There is character, symbolism, doubling up of language, and the tense. The tense has been doing my head in. The story passes through a large stretch of time already. The whole story is told in the past, and it begins in the past, but steps into focused points of time for some parts, which are still in the past, but more immediate… So many pasts in one story. This shifting of time does serve the purpose of relaying a time lost, a questionable time, a timelessness that is part of this tale. Keeping track of the tenses has made me tense in real time, it eats up a lot of my focus.

For now I’m more interested in getting the story onto the page than making it perfect. Chapter one is ready for some fresh eyes to read it, so I’ll pass it onto a friend who has volunteered to read for me. I’m very lucky to have had this offer, I only expect to get another’s insight and feedback. If feedback includes editing, tense and/or story notes then that is even more of a bonus for me. Really, whatever my friend wants to contribute re: reading I’m grateful for their input. A new perspective on my work will be very welcome.

I’m ready to move on to chapter two.

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