Editing update: back to That Hospital
First, a general update: the third draft of my book is going slowly yet steadily. I’ve been through the first three chapters now, and I’m largely happy with how they’ve come out: the all-important hook is there, the characters and setting are coming alive, and the overall quality of writing edging ever-closer to where I want it to be. With the third chapter done, I have my inciting incident, and it now falls to my fourth chapter to start exploring where that incident leads.
Which brings me to That Hospital.
That Hospital is where my protagonist ends up at the start of my book’s 4th chapter, following a bad case of alien parasite infestation. It is a terrible and tortured place, where all sense of excitement and placing goes to die. It is a place where characters mill around aimlessly, without a single sense of purpose or agency. It is a place where the reader, besieged on all sides by scene-setting and exposition, loses any and all will to press on.
What I’m trying to say is that That Hospital is an utter snoozefest. It has been a snoozefest since the very beginning, despite by my best efforts And that is all rather unfortunate, because it means that my 4th and 5th chapters basically need top-down rewrites. A lot of things are meant to happen in those two chapters – and a lot of things do happen – but it’s all so dull right now that I just can’t see readers sticking with it. Hence, the rewriting.
And the thing is, the hospital should be anything but dull. One of my protagonist’s most important allies is introduced there, for one thing, and it’s also the place where the parasite’s character truly starts to be explored (even though the character has been present from page one). For instance, it takes the parasite some time to twig that they’re the reason for this hospital visit; when the creature finally works this out, it’s terrified. It’s reaction, and others’ responses to that reaction, are supposed to form the heart of the chapter – as opposed to the reams of exposition which bog it down right now.
So, it’s safe to say that I have my work cut out for me. The first three chapters were relatively painless to redraft, but it’s looking like the fourth chapter will more than make up for that. Wish me luck; I might just need it.