Monday, January 30, 2012

Three steps forward, two steps back?

So here's what I'm doing.

I'm giving myself 12 straight days off from work to pound I'M ONLY HUMAN into a readable copy. This is the copy I'll put into manuscript form and print out and pass around for a few people to go critique.

The first two days, I spent just putting the chapters in the proper order. I started the process of cutting unnecessary chapters, or chunks of chapters. Title-ing and dating.

Started the real rewrite yesterday. Need to do at least 3 chapters per day, and I estimated between 2 and 3 hours per chapter.

Found out right away that some chapters are more finished than others. The first chapter needed hardly any work, the second chapter (which is a new insert) needed a lot more work, and so on.

I started around noon. When I finished, I looked up at the clock, it was 9:15 and I'd missed Downton Abby which was the only show I intended to watch on a usually busy Sunday viewing.

I got four chapters done.

I like them. I think they flow very well.

I did quite a bit of dumping of explanations. What I feel I need are thinner but stronger transitions. Anything that smacks of an "info dump" needs to be cut or integrated into the narrative or dialogue. Fantasy is hard, because you've got to explain so much more. But the more you explain by showing, putting it into scenes or in character's mouths, the better.

So, I think I was pretty ruthless. (It helps to have an intact first draft that I can always go back and check if I go too far.)

Meanwhile, I also fleshed out some of the actual scenes, gave them a bit more depth. This is where I tend to underwrite the first draft because I'm eager to follow the plot.

The first draft was probably close to 70,000 words, so it will be interesting to see if it gets bigger than that, especially since I've cut 3 and half chapters already.

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