Friday, March 20, 2015

One Chapter Down

Happy Spring! Now if it would only get above freezing so that three inch sheet of ice on my walkway steps would finally melt.

I've finished revising the first chapter of the dreaded Act 3. Now I'm on to a long and talky scene-- another which exists in the last version but needs extensive reworking. The scene after that, though, is one that needs only a few little tweaks and some prettying up.

I'm up to 36.5 hours for March so far.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mid-Month Check-In

30.5 hours of editing in March so far.

The fiddling with the first half of the book is done-- well, mostly. As I work on scenes for Act 3, I think of little tweaks to better set up what's coming.

At the moment, I'm hacking away at the second story block. This is a scene that existed in the last draft, but that needs extensive reworking. Basically, I had two scenes in this Act with Willa and another character. I decided to swap the locations of these scenes. The essentials of the scene-- location, action, topics discussed-- don't need to change, but the tone does.

In the old version of the scene I'm working on, Willa was absolutely furious with this character, and the betrayal she felt made for a very tense and bitter conversation. Now that the scene has shifted to just after the mid-point, her whole mood is completely different. She's thrilled to see him-- has in fact been pinning all her hopes on him-- and he is going to completely let her down. So whereas the old version of the conversation went: betrayed fury --> righteous indignation --> confusing offer leading to ambivalence, the new version goes: happy excitement --> confusion --> irritation --> confusing offer leading to ambivalence --> chilling realization that something is seriously off here.

That's the state of the writing at mid-month!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Still Trimming...

...but almost done. I only have "was" left to do, which will be a biggie. I did "-ly" today. It's not a matter of ruthlessly eliminating all adverbs and forms to "to be"; it's more about looking at every single one and deciding if that adverb is necessary, or if there's a stronger way to write the sentence than a "she was" construction.

Sunday I took a break from trimming and spent The Son's snowboarding lesson making notes about Act 3. I have a decent outline now, with 20 chunks of story to get through. Of those chunks:

*7 already exist from the last draft, and shouldn't need more work than cosmetic touch-ups

*7 already exist, but need more extensive reworking to fit in with the changes I want to make to the Act

*6 do not currently exist in any form and need to be written from scratch

So that's not TOO horrible.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Trimming the Fat

I've got March by the nuts so far-- 4 days in and I've edited for 10.5 hours already. Woot!

I finished Act II and tacked it into the same file as Act I. Now I'm doing search function editing-- searching for commonly abused words and eliminating or rewriting as needed. So far I've done:

suddenly
very
really
every, everyone, everything (holy crap did I have a ton of these)
that
felt
realized
saw

This kind of editing is fun like cleaning out your junk closet is fun. It's not like you look forward to doing it, but once you get on a roll it's deeply satisfying to chuck all this crap cluttering up your life. I've cut more than 1,500 words (weak, crappy words mourned by nobody), which blows my mind.

It's a little scary how insidious this stuff can be. Like, I know you're not supposed to use suddenly. I read once that you can get away with it twice in a whole novel. I would have sworn I only used it twice in TOB. Nope-- there were at least twenty! Same thing with very, that, and really-- I was very sure that I really didn't use them much! ;)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February in Review

I know I've been quiet lately. Not much to say, I guess.

I made my goal! 40 hours of editing this month. Almost half of that has been on one damn chapter, which was such a mess I've had to completely rip it apart and rebuild it. I'm almost done with Act 2 now. In a way it's discouraging-- I've worked 70 hours since Jan. 1 and all I've accomplished it re-editing the stuff I already edited last year. But I know I've made it stronger.

My goal for March is 50 hours. Act 3 is going to take me forever to edit-- it's always been the most difficult part of the book for me, and the whole first half has to radically change. I have no idea how long it will take me to fix it. The good news, though, is that Act 4 needs only cosmetic editing, and I am confident I can get that done in a month. So I'm guessing 3 more months of editing before I have a full draft ready beta readers. If anyone's still with me here and willing to beta in June/July, let me know!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February Goals

I've decided that my goal for February will be 40 hours of editing. I've done 5 hours so far this week, and am on to Act 2.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday is the New Monday

Oops. Forgot to write my check-in post yesterday. Not that I have much to say these days. It's just that usually a long silence from me means I'm not writing, and I am. I've been really consistent about working on TOB for an hour a day, and I feel good about it. This week, I've been using more or all of the hour on editing instead of doing exercises, and have made some good progress.

Now I'm contemplating what I want my goals for Feb. to be. I'd like to increase the pace a little, but not so much that I get overwhelmed. I also have some ideas for slightly more interesting blog content than this!