Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nearly Ready

I have a big submission coming up and have been quite preoccupied with editing, revising and generally getting it as close to "perfect" as possible. Two weeks ago, Dark Elf's Warrior had about 122,000 words. Thanks to much hacking and slashing and harsh criticism from my writer friends (look out you guys when it's my turn to look at your work!) it is now under 118k. It's pretty hard to take at first, but I was ready for it. The words, "This scene doesn't accomplish enough," and "This really slows the pace," are, in a perverse way, music to my ears. (Thanks Colleen). If cutting these bits, no matter how fun they are, means picking up the pace of the story and adding to the tension... then I'm all for it.

The lovely amusing scene wherein Aidan, the overbearing proprietor of the inn in Paterak, feeds the party average food, pushes Kyer and Phennil together, and hopes for a sale of some of her ghastly paintings (to goofball Phennil, of course) is GONE. Who knows? Maybe I can bring it back at another time in a later book, but it truly is not necessary here. And how fascinating that to keep Kyer and Derry on horseback instead of stopping to rest elevates the tension? In spite of making virtually no changes to the dialogue, the scene is much more interesting all of a sudden. Kind of mind-blowing, really. I love this process!

Jonathan told me the discussion about the war between Valrayker, Kien and Governor Lyndon was too conversational. So yesterday I worked on stepping that up, giving each character a firmer motivation behind their words. Funny how a lot of the dialogue remained the same, but I switched them around so Kien says something that Val used to say...that sort of thing.

I read my submission to hubby over the last two nights. Now, he's been involved in the story since day one, naturally, so he noticed huge changes in the pace and all. He didn't think his comments on it were very helpful, but that's not true.

See, each reader who critiques for me has a different perspective, and therefore has a different type of comment. Colleen was big on the pacing, which was absolutely necessary at this point. Jonathan is very nit-picky about words, rearranging them, losing unnecessary dialogue tags, that sort of thing. Kathy is not a writer, but loves to read and is certainly an intelligent person... She pointed out where things felt awkward or confusing to her, and it is up to me to figure out why. Hubby's comments are similar. "I don't get that," works just as well. I've only just sent this chunk of chapters to Ron... I'm afraid!

I think my friends will be just as upset as I will be if this submission gets rejected. It's good to have friends.

It's not supposed to be a writing day. I'm supposed to be baking so the kids have things for snacks in their lunches. Better get back to it.

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