First, let me say that I am only on page 87 of this novel. Second….

I have never wanted to edit a book so badly as I’ve wanted to for the first 80 pages of Saving CeeCee Honeycut. Actually, I’ve never REALLY wanted to edit a book. I’m not that type. This one is driving me nuts.

Let’s start with my general objection: show, don’t tell. Fundamental of Creative Writing 101. When Miz Hobbs is first introduced it would have sufficed for Oletta to have pounded the dough loudly (she does this near the end of page 69) rather than CeeCee saying (at the top of the page), “It was obvious Oletta didn’t like this woman.” Just one example. There are many, many more.

My second objection, which actually may be closely tied to the first, is that the whole beginning of the story with CeeCee and her mom should be a prologue, not the first couple of chapters. It doesn’t read like the story has really started (at least not for me). I would end the prologue when Aunt Tootsie’s fancy car pulls up.

And while we’re on the topic of appropriate breaks in the story, on page 53, first full paragraph beginning, “It was nearly five o’clock the following evening…” that should be the beginning of a new chapter. In the previous paragraph they are pulling into a motor lodge for the night, so I’m expecting some type of information about this young girl’s experience sleeping in the same room (or do they get two rooms & she’s by herself?) with a woman she barely knows, when all of a sudden we’ve jumped to the next day. It just doesn’t flow right for me.

My last gripe (for now) is CeeCee’s comparison of Miz Hobbs exit to something out of Gone with the Wind (pg. 71). If she’s read Gone with the Wind, then why does she lament over not knowing anything about Savannah? If she’s read Gone with the Wind – which in itself is believable – she knows something of Savannah and this should have come up earlier. Like maybe when Aunt Tootsie pulls up in front of the house for the first time, CeeCee might wonder if waiting inside are women in long dresses with hoop skirts. But to go on and on about how Savannah might as well be a foreign country for all she knows about it & then make a comparison a day later to GwtW? Not believable.

In all fairness, on page 80 I finally read something that made me stop and smile: “From behind me a woman spoke – had it been a color, her voice would have been a velvety shade of purple.”

Please, please let this be indicative of the rest of the book and not a page that was written in a writer’s group.

I’ll keep you posted.

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3 Replies to “First, let me say that I am only on page 87 of this novel. Second….

  1. What a funny blog – I love that your frustration compelled you to talk about this book before you've finished it. And, let me say that I wouldn't blame you if you didn't finish this book!

    I have been hearing & reading for several years that editors are in short supply in the publishing industry. I'm not sure if there just aren't enough being hired to keep up with all the books that are published or what might be the case. Anyway, it seems that final book versions are suffering. It's also a good reminder that most – if not all – books are the products of a team, not just the author.

    Keep us posted on this book!

  2. You know, I thought it was because I didn't feel well that certain parts of this book bugged me. Now I know that it wasn't being sick, it was actually the book! I agree with everything you said about editing. With a little tweaking this could have been a much better book. I enjoyed the light read, but wish the author and editors had put in some more thought. There were some great images (like the example you gave) and some really funny plot turns. It's worth a read, but it won't be on my fave list.

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