Okay. Another one. No doubt you’re getting kind of sick about hearing me harp on and on (and on and on) about my revision, but that’s pretty much my life right now, folks. Yes, TRC finished his ski lessons yesterday, and it’s actually kind of sort of warmish here in Maine for the next few days (okay–above freezing, but that counts when last night it was like 15 below), but as far as my days go, they consist of waking up, revising for an hour, going to work for eight and a half hours, then coming home and revising for another four hours or so–at least.
The tricky thing is that I’m not sure I need to be working this hard on it. The due date for this stage isn’t until March 21, so I still have quite a bit of time. However, nothing’s worse (in my opinion) than having to write under pressure, and if I wait to revise, there’ll be plenty of pressure. My goal has been to revise 15 pages a day, which will let me be finished with the revision a week from tomorrow. That gives me one final week to read things over, tweak, make sure the changes I made make sense–that sort of thing.
So what sort of things am I adding and cutting right now? I’m cutting all the boring parts, and adding lots of excitement. 🙂 Honestly, it’s mainly about pacing and characterization right now. The first third has slimmed down a lot. I sliced out three chapters–chapters where not a whole lot happens–rolling what important stuff did happen into other chapters. Ideally, a chapter should accomplish multiple tasks at the same time–push multiple plot lines forward. When a chapter just gets one or two things done, it ain’t pulling its weight.
Sometimes I change something that makes it so I have to add other material to support that. A character might get beat up. When other characters notice that, they react–someone might decide that character needs to be taught how to fight. The character agrees, and so suddenly there’s a need for a “fight training plot” added into the book. At this point in the writing process, I know all these characters really well. I know how they think, and how they respond in different situations. I can’t just force them to do whatever I want them to do–I can put some different obstacles in their way, but they still have to overcome them the way they choose. (It feels really bizarre saying that, but that’s really how it feels.)
I’m on track. It’s going well. I reread some of my big changes yesterday, and I’m pleased with them. Still, I wouldn’t mind taking a few days off . . .
There’ll be time enough for that after March 21. Happy weekend, all!