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Nose to the Grindstone: Unexpectedness [Nov. 17th, 2008|06:16 pm]
[Current Mood |thankful]
[Current Music |MESSIAH "All We Like Sheep"]

Communicating with editor--emailed her this morning to give her the braided chapter count and wordage and tell her yes, I would be mailing it off 11/20-21, in whatever state it was, mostly LONG, and she said she wasn't going to be in the office part of next week anyway, and would I like to delay turning the monster in (and get more cutting done.)

Talked with agent, who checked on production schedule, and said "Yeah, if you need it, go for it."

Mixed feelings.  I'm SO close...but not quite close enough, but  I just don't turn things in late, but it will be better if I can "sweat" it down some tens of thousands of words, but...etc.   And relief, because I really do want this one to be as good as, or better than, the original Paks books, and I had all the time I needed with those.  (Unpublished writers have all the time they need.

Relief has the upper hand. 

Meanwhile, 20 chapters were gone over in detail, and aside from quitting at 10 pm instead of 1 am,  and spending the hour a day I really need to spend on the music for the MESSIAH performance, I plan to keep at it with intensity.   For me (not everyone) it works best to go through the whole thing, fixing everything I see...then go through it again, fixing the things I didn't see before (and the new infelicities that arose from the "fixes")  and then again....and so on. 

Since this needs to be smaller, every pass will involve looking for cuttable passages.  Everything in it needs to function in multiple ways: plot, characterization, setting, etc, etc.   I've already chopped all the redundancies and a couple of scenes--and reduced another.   Eventually it will come down to the single-hair brush, plucking out individual words ("the" is always a candidate for deletion) but with a little extra time I can save that level to last, unless something jumps out at me.  (For instance--second sentence of this paragraph--"needs to" could be "must.") 

Back to work.


[User Picture]From: kristine_smith
2008-11-18 01:24 am (UTC)
I asked for two more weeks, and got it. But my relationship with deadlines is different.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-19 05:11 am (UTC)
You'll make it.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-19 05:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! It helps to know people want it when it's done.
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From: grandfellow
2008-11-18 04:40 am (UTC)


You don't know me either, but I agree with everything that medievalist said. Also, remember when you cut out scenes; I want to read that stuff too! I have read Paks multiple times and I wish that I could read everything that you cut out of that.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-19 05:10 am (UTC)

Re: Agree

Oh...actually you don't...I mean, my good friend E, who read Paks as I was writing it, stopped me one day and said "You know, I now understand how miserable it is to march in the mud. Every single's miserable...enough with the damned mud and have something *happen*." That's because the original-original ms. had every single day...all of them...including the ones in which nothing much happened, let alone plot-wise.

And I had the habit (from writing plays) of having important things repeated by different people so that you could not miss any detail I thought mattered.

There's only one chapter of original Paks I wish people had read but it's now lost and gone forever in the boxes I can't find.

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[User Picture]From: teriegarrison
2008-11-18 10:35 am (UTC)
I don't think it counts as turning something in late if you didn't ask for the extension but merely took advantage of the offer. :-)
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[User Picture]From: jowake
2008-11-18 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yes I agree, that isn't turning it in late. I also agree we will wait with patience.
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[User Picture]From: dafwarg
2008-11-19 03:52 am (UTC)
Do you really need to be that finicky, cutting down individual words? surely the publisher rounds to the nearest hundred or thousand words, right?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-19 05:03 am (UTC)
Yes and no (don't you love that kind of answer?) The publisher is concerned with production costs and pricing: books are usually issued in certain standard word ranges. If your book falls outside that range, it's less likely to do well in "numbers" (what the beancounters count.)

So sometimes you really do have to count word by word (my first fiction sale came from cutting down a 2300 word story to 1497, because the editor wanted 1500.) And if you have to cut a story by 10%, it will look less hacked-at if you cut one or two words in each paragraph, just sort of snugging it up anywhere it's at all loose. (10% cuts are pretty easy...more than that and it gets tougher...and tougher...)

In this case, a 235,000 word book is just flat too big. (Unless you're a politician or movie star, that is...)
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[User Picture]From: filkferengi
2008-11-22 05:48 pm (UTC)
And it's not as if you want them splitting it up, like they did Bujold's first two _Sharing Knife_ books.

Fortunately, anticipation is one of my favorite things. But then, I'm a bit of a masochist. Not enough to be a writer, though.

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