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27 August 2012 @ 09:05 pm
process is always a revelation  

So I got up to work this morning but still wasn’t feeling the love. There are scenes in this book that I suspect are snowstorms, which–

–years and years ago, my writing partner Sarah/shadowhwk and I wrote a book together. I wrote a wonderful snowstorm scene. It was a chapter long. Sarah cut it to two pages. Then it got cut to a page. In the end, it was two sentences. My beautiful snowstorm! So: in writing terms, a snowstorm is a scene (often a travel scene, as the snowstorm was) that doesn’t really need to be there.

And I fear I have snowstorms in this book. Now, I’ve left them in place because removing them won’t change the structure of the book, but because I’m spinning my wheels I thought, well, crap, I’d better go have a look at the whole manuscript and see if I really can cut those.

I was talking to Michelle Sagara/msagara about it before I got started, and she only cuts things from a WIP if it actually changes the structure. But I realized as we were talking that this may be about *pacing*, for me. I need to know where I really stand with wordcount, so that I can keep the book’s pacing right.

This isn’t something I think about consciously, but I suspect it’s what’s happening in my hind brain. It’s also why, when I reach the end of a book, I tend to have a pretty solid draft: I’ve usually already gone back and done most of the revisions that *I* can see need doing, because if I leave them to dangle, my pacing is off. Huh. Process is always a revelation.

Today’s process revealed 2K worth of cuts and fixing the last line of the last chapter I’d written. The last line was probably the biggest part of the problem, but oh well, the snowstorm stuff needed cutting, and perhaps now it all moves a little more quickly. Which, with a book aimed at 9-12 year olds, is important.

35018 / 70000 words. 50% done!

(x-posted from the essential kit)

T. Rev: St. Rev. Dr. Revst_rev on August 27th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on August 28th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
I've used that before. It works. :) (Sometimes it's a guy with a sword, or whatever, but yeah. The idea works. :))
Michellemsagara on August 28th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
I do cut & shape things after the fact (although given the length of some of my books this perhaps not obvious) - but unless I need to nuke & restructure, going back - for me, and of course, everyone’s process is different - grinds forward momentum to a messy, sloth-like halt.
Jason Drakejasondrake on August 28th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
and also, there were ninjas
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on August 28th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
I cut for pace, too: I write slow books anyway, and the stuff that's pretty can just add to the slow, when it's my own work.
Flitterbyflit on August 28th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a great progress, because you don't find out too late that you're 5K words short because you cut your snowstorms at the end! And you have a better feel for the book as you go.
kitmizkit on August 28th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
For most books 5K short is Close Enough to the goal anyway, but it does apparently seem important to me overall in terms of pacing. :)