Sunday, February 23, 2014

Life Intervenes

I thought, when I originally made my third draft plan, that I should probably wait a few weeks after finishing the second draft before I got started-- y'know, get some distance, come at it with fresher eyes. But then, as always, the "waste" of time made me itchy-- I'm like eight months behind schedule here, people! No time for distance!

Well, life intervened in a major way this week, enforcing a break. The Husband had skin cancer surgery and of course there were beaucoup de complications, involving bad drug reactions, extra trips to the hospital, and a sleepless night for me; we had a big ice storm, rendering our Dante-esque driveway and walkway a serious threat to life and limb; and now I'm miserably sick with something that may turn out to be strep throat. All I have done this week (besides deal with the above) is watch the  Olympics, look at personal style blogs, and read comic books. The book is so far out of my head I can barely remember what happens in it.

I am not doing shit on it until I can swallow without agony and I've shoveled the house out from under the mountain of crap that has resulted from me not having time to clean for a week. So now I'm thinking NaNoEdMo? 50 hours of editing in March-- that could do it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Notes From the Trenches

Today I took all the "maybe edit this" notes I made on the computer as I was writing, as well as all the notes I made in my notebook while I was reading, and typed them into a Word document under the headings Act I, Act II, Act III, and Act IV. Then I grabbed a blue felt-tip pen and started making my second round of notes. This isn't a full read-through; just quickly skimming to find the places where I need to make a correction or scribble a note to myself in the margins. I got about halfway through Act I.

Tomorrow The Son is going to a birthday party for most of the afternoon, so I may drop him off and hit the library for a few hours and see if I can finish this stage of the edit.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Read-Through Done

I'm finally through the initial read-through. Man, it was a struggle to just read the thing without going to town with the line editing, but I really wanted to just read it as a reader-- as much as possible, anyway.

Here are my general impressions of the draft, act by act:

Act I:
This is the Act that will need to be the most aggressively edited. There's a lot of dead wood to be cut: actions that don't need to be on the page, beginnings of threads that got dropped later, unnecessary dialogue tags-- that sort of thing. The dialogue in two scenes needs to be rewritten (because now that I've written the rest of the book I know there are more future-plot-relevant things for them to discuss), and I need to add probably two pages' worth of backstory and worldbuilding in order to explain things that didn't make it from my brain to the page. I have one plot hole that I've already figured out how to fill. And the pacing needs to be sorted out-- some scenes are longer than they need to be, some are shorter.

One strength of this Act is the tone. It has this kind of low-key folksy cadence to it that's close to how Willa would actually speak. I like it a lot, but it totally vanishes after Act I. So part of my line editing for Acts 2-4 will be to bring more of that tone back into the writing.

Act II:
More dead wood, more pacing issues, although neither as extensive as in Act I. I'll need to cut and add, and make some decisions about how deeply I want to portray the other envoys at the summit, but it's mostly line editing here, focusing on tone and on more authentically exploring emotions.

Act III:
The pacing, plot elements, and emotional resonance works for me here. There's one unnecessary minor character that I have decided to combine with another minor character, and one scene that is currently summarized and needs to be dramatized instead, but other than that it's line editing-- tone, and general polishing.

Act IV:
The writing gets stronger the further I get into the draft. This Act is basically fine. Some of the angsting will have to be cut (it's tiresome), and I have had a change of heart about a minor character introduced here that will mean completely re-casting the part and changing the scenes s/he appears in accordingly... but other than those tweaks, just line editing. Except for the final scene, which I wrote at the beginning of the process, and therefore kind of sucks. That thing is going to need to some Extreme Makeover shit.

And now I have exhausted and slightly depressed myself.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Onto Draft Three

Today I made my final master list of what all the made-up people, places, and things in TOB are called. Then I read Act I, with a red pen in hand.

I have a plan for how to proceed with this draft, but I'm not going to bother posting it because I am sure it will change drastically once I see what actually needs to be done. However, I am sticking with the first step, which is to read the entire MS to get a feel for the story as a whole. The only edits I'm allowed to make in this read-through are spelling, grammar, and continuity errors. I'm also making notes about what I might want to change next time through, when I really get into ripping it apart.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bound



The Owl Bearer has been hole-punched and secured in a ridiculous orange-pink 3-ring binder.

I have to finish up a beta read in the next two days, and then I can start working on the third draft this weekend.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Housekeeping

Just taking care of some housekeeping stuff with the book before I dive into the line edit. Yesterday, I spellchecked. Today, I changed a few names. I had way too many characters with "A" names. First, there's Akenam, who is the only character whose name hasn't changed since the first word I wrote on this project. The name came to me out of nowhere and it's perfect for him. But then I also had minor characters named Arden, Aya, Avner, and Aidau, which is officially too many names beginning with A for one book. Only Arden got to keep her name.

Today I did some test print pages. I wrote the book in Courier 12-point double-spaced, which is submission format. But that turns out HUGE when you print it. It helps me to read it "fresh" in a new font, so I changed the font to Times New Roman (also acceptable for submission), and made it 1.5-spaced. That's totally readable, and knocked the page count from 597 to 364! More manageable, and cheaper to print.

Other than that I've been reading (both for book club and a beta read), cleaning my house, and trying to shake the feeling that there's something I'm supposed to be doing.