Slice ‘n’ dice


Wow. What a ride it’s been.

I’ve told you all about how I’m cutting the guts out of my languishing work in progress before, and updated you from time to time on how that’s going. Here’s another one. Not interested? Click away.

At the time of this writing, I condensed about 32 chapters or so into 10. I’ve cut the word count down in those 10 chapters to just over 27,000 words. That means I have 15 chapters to go, which, based on how this is going, should represent less than ten days of work.

In addition, the story has been cleaned up. A LOT. I didn’t realize how many issues it had. I can now see the problems clearly, the mistakes as I went along. I took the time to make the dialog more realistic too. Not so much how the characters speak, but what they speak about. I think I might be missing a strong emotional response scene at one point, but I’ve put a flag there to go back and see what’s necessary.

When I’m finished this thing gets a trip through the four-part story structure regimen. I’ll see what’s still missing, and decide whether the plot is so simplistic it isn’t worth saving, or if the story can survive. I have plenty of room for adding themes, a subplot (or two, or three), and anything relevant I can think of to reinforce the main story.

This has been a fun and useful process. For the first time in my life I can see how much stronger I am now as a writer than I was when I thought I edited this thing the first time, and how much I’ve grown since I wrote it. That’s fun.

What about you? What areas of your life can you look at and see real, honest-to-goodness growth? Which areas have you failed to notice any changes in until you compared it with something from the past? Has that ever happened to you?

I’m looking forward to finishing the evisceration of my story. I’ll let you know when I’m ready for second readers, if any of you are interested. 🙂

Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk with you Monday, God willing.

-JDT-

All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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7 thoughts on “Slice ‘n’ dice

  1. I think I’ve gotten better at taking my creative life more seriously (but not overly so?). You know, people not friends or family buy my work. That has changed my point of view a bit. And my writing has gotten better. At least I hope.

    The first time someone I’d never met liked my writing I was blown away. She was my first non-spousal fan. I love her dearly to this day, and she’s getting a dedication in my first published fiction work. Having those non-family people appreciate your work can certainly change how you feel, can’t it?

    Anyway, congrats on your work. Feeling good about the work after you’ve worked hard–that a great feeling.

    I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I’m proud of the edits I’ve done, and how deeply I’ve cut. I’ll know more about how I feel when the story’s done bleeding and I can see how much revision it needs. Time will show. 🙂

  2. i am interested in being a second reader.

    Well, thanks Bob! Drop me an email through this blog’s contact page, please. I’ll add you to a list I’m keeping and send you a copy when it’s ready. 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. I love when a later look unearths things. Makes me feel like I am actually moving forward. I just ran across some papers I wrote the summer after I graduated from high school. It was wonderful to see how my writing and thought process had both evolved. It’s good to hear some excitement back in the writing arena for you Darc.

    Well, thanks, Jaymie! I shudder to think what I’d find if I unearthed any writings from as far back as high school. *Shudder!* (See?) But seeing the amount of growth I’ve had in just the last eighteen months is amazing. Thanks for staying in my corner!

  4. I’m going through that right now. My brother is reading BVA and so far he’s been able to tell what material is old and which is new by the quality of the writing. I’m hoping the bad parts aren’t bad enough to involve a complete rewrite. Ack.

    It’s daunting, isn’t it?

    Please put me down as a reader, if you need me. Exciting!

    Love to have you. Thanks! (It’s going to be a bit yet, though. Don’t hold your breath or anything. Few weeks minimum.)

  5. Is this Witch Hunt you’re editing? Somewhere along the way I got confused.

    Nope, this is Ghost Hunters. First order of business is to find a viable title which won’t get me sued. Witch Hunt is probably going to have such a major overhaul coming it won’t be the same story when I’m finished, but I haven’t started revision on that one yet.

  6. This was so great to read. We’re always being admonished to “kill the darlings” in our work, and it sounds like you’re doing plenty of that. But it’s also important, I think, to keep an eye out for the jewels threaded through the coal mine. And I’m SO happy to hear you’re doing that, too!

    I killed the darlings and kept the (FEW) gems. I’ve been keeping the “cut the darlings” motto in mind the whole way. I’ve also been thinking about it from a weight loss perspective. How flabby this manuscript was, how out of shape, is scary. It was morbidly obese and dangerously weak. Now it’s so much leaner and stronger it’s frightening, but it may actually turn out to be a viable story worth working into a submittable manuscript. Heh. Go figure.

    I feel way short of where I’d like to be in my writing. At the same time, yeah: writing + writing + writing (etc.) does seem to have made me a much better writer than I was back in the plain old writing days!

    Amen. Are we ever where we want to be with our craft skills? I long for the day when I don’t read someone else’s work and say “How can I get my prose like that, dammit?!”

  7. Hey, good for you! It’s great to hear you so excited about your work.

    Thank you. 🙂 Now … let’s see how long it lasts. 😉

    The area in which I can see the most growth in my life is in my social skills and my ability to tolerate real intimacy. My childhood left me painfully shy and unable to trust anyone with my real self. But over the years, I’ve made so much progress. I have a few good friends, a wonderful marriage, and I can handle speaking in public. Right now what I’m working on is having real, emotionally transparent relationships with co-workers without transgressing the bounds of a professional environment. That one’s quite a balancing act, but the better I get at it, the more fulfilling and meaningful my work becomes.

    Good luck! Personal growth is scary. And that last item you listed sounds VERY scary, especially in our current society with it’s thin-ice standards. 🙂

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