Since finishing Bunny Trouble, I have cut 5,269 words! I am on page 166/360 of my readability pass, at exactly 149,000 words.
Literary nom nom nom nom…
Major edits to one of my key action scenes. It is less graphic, but strangely those edits made it darker, more edgy. Creepier, even.
Up goes the windmill
The most amazing thing
We have ever done
The blades cut their air
In clear ownership
Of the dream of all
Now we have to dig
For the wire that goes
From the windmill
To the other power thingie
Where the house is
Dig, pipe, wire
Dig, pipe, wire
Now we hate dirt.
We get in the truck
We rent a machine
It digs the rest of the
Way in a single hour
“We’ll let that be a lesson to us!” she says.
I agree. My hands have blisters.
“What’s next?” I ask.
“The septic tank!”
“Nooooo!” I shouldn’t have asked.
“Power and Poop little girl, power and poop.”
She smiles. “If we can control those, we can control anything!”
Finished post-outlining and deleted the fluff. CHOMP. Added a few bits at the end.
I am on page 23 out of 360 (1.5 line space is what I edit at) of my grammar check/readability pass. This consists of fixing glaring errors and tightening, turning my word smiting into my prose. At the end of this process is officially Draft 2.
Now I am at 149,997 words. The word count has nowhere to go except down.
I also printed chapters one and two for The Wife Unit to read tomorrow. She reads my blog, and informs me she does not necessarily agree with my open door sex policy. This is from the woman who said the Meyers vampire books did not have any steamy vamp sex scenes (pout). At least she said she would keep an open mind about it, and what more could a man want out of a wife?
Done for the evening. Beer now.
…”so if Ken jumped off a bridge, would you do it to?”
A Question of Ethics
The man knew he was a murderer. He objectively viewed his evilness on a scale between “drunken man killing his wife’s lover” and “psycho-torturer serial killer”. He was leaning firmly towards the latter. His road to Hell was paved with both good and bad intentions, and here he was, at the apex of his vileness.
No sooner than I started my post-draft outline then I found over 2000 words to cut. Many of the plot points to a minor character, Megan, had to go.
As a reader, I love novels with multiple plot points that explode from a single point and radiate outward, connecting infrequently if not at all until the last portion of the book where they intersect and fall back to a single point like some literary singularity.
As a writer, I try to uphold to that plot style while remaining as tight as I can to the main story. Megan’s story, while very interesting to me, seemed like I was enamored of Megan and was more interested in exploring just the person she was instead of providing her with a motivation that the reader could relate with and sympathize. Her story exploded outwards and kept on going, never to circle back. That was not good.
Deleting 2000 words from Megan did not hurt her one bit. In fact, she became more… mysterious. Why does it not bother her that her B&B is seemingly haunted? How is it possible that she is able to make these huge intuitive leaps to a conclusion, while the main character has to use logic and analysis to arrive at the same place? Why is the Catholic Priest so very interested in what she has to say?
Ah, the details and answers I leave for another time. They are interesting, but not as interesting as the rest of the story.
First draft, finished.
I wrote the epilogue during my lunch break and am quite enamored with it. It is a heartfelt and a depressing bit of writing, true to the theme of my novel and ultimately a great tie-end to the next part of the story. I don’t coddle my readers, and at that point they shouldn’t be surprised if I take the darker path.
I started Bunny Trouble a little under six months ago, it took me twice as long to write it as my first novel, not too shabby for a 152,000 word manuscript. As my first draft, I am very pleased with the way it turned out.
My next steps:
**I am going to proofread Bunny Trouble for glaring grammatical errors.
**Then I give a copy to my wife and wait for feedback. Can it pass The Wife Unit?
Assuming she likes the book and doesn’t beat me over the head with own manuscript, I will then outline the book. It is one thing to have an outline in your head and write a novel, quite another to see if after the fact I can assemble a coherent outline. It is a trick I leaned and suits my writing style perfectly, a great way to expose logic issues and unnecessary plotting. Then I am off to:
**Tighten the book
**Expanding my feedback circle to five of my friends
**Find an editor
Those things don’t have to happen in that order. I’m a man who likes efficiency after all. Some tasks were designed to run in parallel.
Wow. What a fun and interesting journey this has been. What should I write next? The choices, it hurts!
-1600 words on Bunny Trouble last night.
I wait until finishing a story (novel, short story, poem, etc.) to make substantial, non-readability edits. Mainly because in the first novel I wrote, I made edits that I had to go back and revert. It was a pain, lesson learned. I’m not particularly experienced in writing novels (novel 1: finished, novel 2: set aside after 80k, novel 3: currently working on), but I can learn new tricks.
Last night The Wife Unit caught me chuckling to myself. The main character in Bunny Trouble has two friends. Inadvertently, when these three get together they wind up doing something mischievously naughty. This particular bit of writing had them doing something very over the top and it was so out of character that I knew I had to kill it. She of course asked “what?” so I explained what I created and asked point blank if it should go. Maybe there was hope…
She rolled her eyes. “I wouldn’t read that, it’s just unrealistic. You shouldn’t be reliving some obvious teenage boy fantasy in your novel!”
Ah, well, I thought so. Secretly I was hoping, but alas, it was not meant to be. Highlight 603/143,722. DELETE.
While I was at it, I deleted a convoluted plot point that was… too convoluted. I felt it was safe to do so and the story didn’t even move when I was finished, a clear indication of a needed cut if there ever was one.
One thing about creativity, it can haunt you and save you at the same time.
Tonight I put in 1400 words on Bunny Trouble and it was pure Hell. That is, until I added a helpful and completely unnecessary old gentleman who just was as nice and honorable as a weary old man could be. The scene, without him, was this lifeless bit of muck, my dislike for the writing growing by the minute.
This nice older gentleman, one of those random people in my world who do the right thing simply because the right thing needs to be done, saved me from simply going to bed in disgust. Suddenly I was able to break my dour and advance.
Thank you, Sir!
Being the sixth reader of my blog has it’s perks!
In refeence to this post:
Terrance leaned back in his chair. “This case needs to go by the book and we need a conviction. Because this case will piss off my guy. I’m not sure a death sentence is necessary—there is suffering in rotting away as a living reminder of the Dendel family failure. Nevertheless, if we don’t get a conviction, then I will turn Mr. Fallujah II loose and he will be the Hammer of God. I will then let free my own honest fury.”
Bill opened his mouth to say something but Terrance continued.
“No fuckups Bill. Consider this. You’ll be hard pressed to find two other living people on this planet with more experience in raw, righteous killing. I need your help Bill.”
Terrance looked out at the ocean.
“I need you to remind me to be a member of society.”
Stephen King takes an interesting (or soon to become interesting) character and sticks him in situations that run from the absurd to the horrifically fatal, and sees what happens as he is writing the story. He does this without an outline in mind. Sometimes they die, sometimes they triumph. Sometimes they die triumphantly.
If it works for King, I thought I would try it. I put one of the main characters in an absurd situation. As the story progressed and this poor fellow overcame his hardships, he went from war-weary mild-mannered coastal citizen to a man of firm convictions and outstanding moral character.
Granted these problems were not horrific in nature, rather social and tactical. Now, he is able to apply his former Army experience to his social situations.
Well, damn. That was unintended. He is overcoming problems with such acumen that he might become uninteresting to read about.
Dude, stop that. You’re smudging my plot. I’ve got my eye on you.