The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yesterday I only had about an hour to write, so I starting fixing some of the problems I'd noticed the day before. Now that I'm not so cranky, I think I do know what to do about it: get tougher with the self-editing.

I started switching up some of the language, rephrasing so it's less write-y and more speak-y, and looking for words that are evocative but not concrete enough, and dropping them. Also tried to be really hard@ss with my thinking: Does this have to be here? Is it necessary for understanding what's going on? I also took a good hard merciless look at where I paused slightly while reading. Those times aren't very noticeable, but when a reader does that, the choice is to refocus and keep reading, or put the book down. Ideally there wouldn't be any of those times.

I cut maybe eight pages total and dragged them all to the back of the ms where they will sit till I can figure out where to put them.

It occurs to me that I'm having the same problem lately, over the last three books. In Night Road, this book, and the swordfighting ms, I'm having to do world-building--and it's eating my lunch, pacing-wise. I'm having a h*ll of a time getting the world built, and the backstory that's necessary for character, and the story moving, all at once. In fact, I'd say that I'm failing at it. I seem to be able to do two at once, but not three. I need to notice/find out how other people handle this. I need to figure out what my problem is. Maybe my character-driven mind is lending too much importance to minor things, the way it does in transitions. In transitions, I have trouble not taking the characters through every little interim step in my head. Maybe I'm doing the same with world-building and backstory.

If that's so, then the answer is probably is more merciless hard@ss self-editing, plus when I get readers I'll have to ask them specifically to look for places where they can live without the info they're getting.* And otherwise, I guess just keep moving stuff around till I find an order in which it works. I don't know what else to try.

Now I need to figure out what I want to do today. I'm in great danger of overworking the beginning, if I haven't already, so I'm leery of heading back to that section. Dunno what I'll do. Must think.

*The problem with that is, I'm the most impatient reader I know. Most of my writer friends will read though something I'd have started skimming pages back.

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