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30 September 2008 @ 03:41 pm
chaw chaw chaw  

I had one of those rare moments this morning where I realized how much I love my job. Actually, that’s not so rare. It’s just that it doesn’t often hit when I’m sitting down to do revisions.

I’d cleared off my desk of the last set of manuscript papers so I could spread the new ones around. For about two seconds everything was tidy, and then I put a 717 page manuscript on the left side of the keyboard tray, fifty pages of editorial cuts on the right side, and the revision letter on the desk itself.

And I thought something very much like, “This is gonna be great.”

Some time ago I ran a “What would people like to hear about writing?” poll on my LJ. One of the choices was the nuts and bolts of line edits, copy edits, and revisions. As a result of that combined with my extraordinary good cheer about tackling these revisions today, I’m going to subject you to running commentary of the first few chapters/several pages/however long my attention span holds of edits.

I’ll be nice, though, and put it


Paragraph one: one extremely moderate editorial suggestion results in an almost complete rewrite which ends up saying the same things, only better.

Page two: My own read-through observes the use of the same word four times in one paragraph. Doh.

Page three: oh no! Two paragraphs I adore, struck down by the editor! Curse her! Curse her! …except, yeah, ok, not *actually* necessary. But my pretty words! Woe is me! Woe!

*agglty* Part of the point of this series is the more complex sentence structure and storytelling style, but oi, sometimes I do even my own head in. *edits*

Page five: Agh! Ack! Augh! More cuts! My lovely woooords! Fine, fine, fine…

Ooh! A whole page cut! Woot!

My expectation is that I’m going to re-print the whole manuscript after I’ve done this edit pass, and try to read it with fresh eyes.

page 10: mammalian assistance is causing my butt to go numb because I can’t shift without disturbing the cat. Help!

page 8: Hah! 2 pages cut! You know, if I can take 2 pages out of every chapter…well. Not enough, actually, because the heavy cuts need to come in the first third. Hsm. Well. We shall see.

Chapter One

page one: Oi. If I spend this much time on each page I’ll be here til judgment day.

more of page one: oh dear. Added a page, and took an hour of editing to do it. OTOH, have now put in several necessary threads for later, clarified stuff, shored things up, etc. Let’s hope the next, say, forty pages, go faster.

page 18: I’ve dropped down a page again somehow. This is very alchemical and weird, editing at this level.

page 34: well, I cut one page. To cut more I’d have to drop another ten lines, and I don’t think I can do it. I may need to go back and emphasize a death: this will serve as a note to look at that later.

Chapter Two

page 42: ooh! ooh! another page bites the dust! And the great news is, this is in stuff I’m cutting, and has thus far been different (except for one sentence) from what Betsy’s chosen. So I might get somewhere with this! Woot!

page 56: ok, I didn’t cut much from this chapter, but I strengthened it tremendously. Got more structural support for a bunch of stuff later in the book, so that’s a win.

Chapter Three

…oh look. There is no chapter three. This book goes from Chapter Two directly to Chapter Four. O.O

And oh look, again. There are two chapter fours!


p 60-66: *whack* I like this scene. It’s sexy and does something for the story. However, I can replace its more important thrust with a few lines somewhere else, and I don’t think the sexy outweighs the first third of the book being so slow. So, *whack*.

For a rarity, though, removing it doesn’t mean it no longer fits within the context of the book (usually when I cut scenes they no longer make contextual sense *at all*.). I may even post it on cemurphy.net as a DVD extra when the book comes out.

p 80: ok, not bad. I’ve cut about 9 pages so far, 5 in a big chunk and the rest in dribs and drabs. I think if I can get to page 100 on the new version of the manuscript, I might call it a day. My butt is numb.

Chapter four

p 82: ooh yay! another one bites the dust! Unexpectedly, too, because I’m revising and it seemed more likely the story would expand, not compress. But it’s getting more solid–a thread I didn’t like is gaining strength, and will eventually work out much more solidly than it does now.

page 99: End of day one: 2 pages, the dedication and acknowledgements, added to the manuscript straight off, for a total of 719 pages. 100 pages revised, with evidently eleven pages stricken, as I’m down to 708 manuscript pages now. I’d guess I’ve written/rewritten about…a thousand words today.

I shall run a contest. Guess how many pages this manuscript will be in its revised draft. I’ll send a signed copy of THE PRETENDER’S CROWN to the person who’s closest, when I get my author copies sometime next year. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
dqg_nealdqg_neal on September 30th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Is that closest without going over? or just closest?
I wanna know which gameshow we are on currently. *grin*
kitmizkit on September 30th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, just the closest, I think. :)
The Angel of Vengeanceesmerel on September 30th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
512! :)
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on September 30th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Sanguine Pensanguinepen on September 30th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Kate Kirbykirbyk on September 30th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
I have faith in your vicious axe. 555 pages!

Brian: evil kitty laughlogrusboy on September 30th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
However, I can replace its more important thrust with a few lines somewhere else, and I don’t think the sexy outweighs the first third of the book being so slow. So, *whack*.

Uh, huh huh! You said "thrust"! Huh huh!
kitmizkit on September 30th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
For this, even if you had guessed at the final pagecount, you would not get a book. *squinchy face*
Brianlogrusboy on September 30th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Spoilsport! :P
kehazenkehazen on September 30th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, 616.
Big Ferretbigferret on September 30th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Joopivpiter on September 30th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
I rolled three dice and came up with 561 pages.
Kerry aka Trouble: Moi?controuble on September 30th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
First number that popped into my head after I went back to the top to find the original number of pages: 583
desperancedesperance on September 30th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
…oh look. There is no chapter three. This book goes from Chapter Two directly to Chapter Four. O.O

For a moment there I thought you were going to get away with "But, Betsy, I cut a whole chapter, look..."

D'you do that thing where you get to the end of a chapter and there's only a few stray lines on the last page and you go back, thinking "Just one more paragraph, a few little lines cut and that'll be a whole page saved..."?

And, oh - 574.
kitmizkit on September 30th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, for a moment I thought I was going to too. I was all excited, but it was not to be. :)

Of *course* I do that. Doesn't everyone? And doesn't it usually actually improve the work, because it's tightening it up, or forcing you to think of a new and perhaps less comfortable way to arrange the words?
desperancedesperance on September 30th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. Yes, it does. And on a line-by-line level within the paragraphs, too. (When I'm writing from nothing, I add words, lines, whole paragraphs just to score that extra page of draft; when I'm revising, I nip and tuck. And am never sure whether what I'm nipping and tucking is the extra matter that I slipped in first time, or whether I am finding wholly different extraneities [a word I have just invented, and looked up, and found it right there in the dictionary: I love doing that].)
dqg_nealdqg_neal on September 30th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
plums deifyalmond_tiger on September 30th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Heh :) This is fun to watch.

I'm guessing it's going to end up at 600 pages.
holmes44holmes44 on September 30th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on September 30th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
I'll guess an even 600, Bob.
HL Henriksonveilofgrace on September 30th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Lookit, *process.* :D And now, oddly, I have this undeniable urge to read the book... Sneaky...


I keep forgetting to mention, too, that the RMFW contest does indeed provide excellent feedback. I didn't have the money for the extra critique, but my crit-buddy opted for one on his own story. Now I wish I'd scrimped together the funds. :T I only managed to get him to overcome his first objective reader hurdle because I was armed with quotes from your blog. So thanks! (Oh, and no need to feel sorry for my loss of critique...I didn't win, but did final. Yay! Double thanks, really, as I've hit a wall and needed the confidence boost. :)

Good luck with the rest of your behemoth!
kitmizkit on October 1st, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad he got good feedback, and congratulations on finalling, if not winning! I didn't win my first year either, so maybe you'll win next year. :) Hooray!
HL Henriksonveilofgrace on October 2nd, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! Maybe I will. :) Continued luck on the edits!
Amandatreehugginhippy on October 1st, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
For some reason, I think it'll be shorter than others are saying. 417 is my # :)
kitmizkit on October 1st, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
You're *mad*. :)
Natural20natural20 on October 1st, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
597, sure, why not? :)