The first one or two times I make editing passes on a book, scenes tend to get longer. This is because I’ve found that if I keep going back and fleshing out earlier scenes as I think of more stuff, the book never gets finished. Here is an example, from a scene that introduces a character new to the story in part two of Shards: Brennendah, a scientifically-minded Rittandic whose job is to study the Æther, also known as the void, which is gradually consuming the region where the Rittandics live. (This loss of territory, known as the Unraveling, is what gives the territory—the Ravels—its name.) Here is the original paragraph, followed by the revised version:
This week I’m still reading Peter F. Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void, part one of his “Void” trilogy. At 90% through, the faithful still haven’t gotten their ships built yet for launching their pilgrimage to the Void, which will either (1) take them to an Elysian realm of eternal life and happiness or (2) cause the Void to wake up and devour the galaxy. I’m betting it won’t be (1).
This week I’m almost halfway through Peter F. Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void, part one of his “Void” trilogy, in which humanity discovers that what they thought was a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy is, in fact, some sort of ancient, gigantic artifact that periodically wakes up and eats nearby stars. So of course, somebody decides they have to send a ship into it. Readers of Hamilton’s earlier “Commonwealth Sage”, in whose universe the “Void” trilogy is set, will remember how well it turned out the last time humans sent ships poking around such a construct. (Hint: Not well.) Like most of Hamilton’s books, this one is taking a nice long time to get going, but, also like most of Hamilton’s books, I expect that once the plot really kicks in, I won’t want to put it down.