June 14th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

And the good news is....

...that the main (beyond first) draft is done, is being printed out for final corrections/smoothing even as I write this.

The not-so-hot news is that it took me an extra week and that "10K" gap was more like 20K.  

But yeah,  the big lump (the final space battle in the book) is (in my not-very-humble estimation) pretty darn good.

All the pieces are in, and in the right order, and the size should be stable...the polishing and corrections left to be done shouldn't shift the word count more than a few thousand words.  

In the last stage, it's like watching one of those reverse-videos, where something that's exploded or been smashed pulls back together and then it sitting there whole.   Things start coming together from all over the series, not just the one book,  and it crystallizes as what it is.  There are usually bits of grit and stuff stuck to it that I have to polish off, but it's a great feeling when it's done and I realize it is a book after all (because there are parts in the late middle when I doubt that this will happen and think it's nothing but a big muddle of many thousands of words.)

  • Current Music
    rhythm of printer...zik-zik, zik-zik...
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

The Value of Other Eyes...

Other eyes meaning not only literally someone else's check of the manuscript, but seeing it on paper as well as on screen.

In this case, a major transition cliff (rather than a smooth arch) in an early chapter tipped me off that something major was wrong.

I had written something that went there.  Why wasn't it there?  Where was it instead? 

5400 words, or thereabouts, had vanished from the chapter.  Interesting words.  Plot-critical words.  Exciting (I hope) ) words.  Words that not only did something right there at that moment, but set up things later, in terms of character, motivation, etc. 

Where it was, was in the very long piece I had cut up in chunks....only somehow I had put chunk 4 after chunk 1, instead of chunks 2 and 3 (this isn't precise but it will do.) 

I hadn't seen it in the onscreen version because...because sometimes you're just too familiar with the flow and slide over gaps when you're looking at the version you're most familiar with (to me, that was the onscreen version.)  In print it was obvious.  Thank goodness,  because an editor would have catfits (mountainlion fits) at something like that.  

It's also a great relief because I knew the word count was too short for the amount of plot I knew I had...I thought I'd lost my ability to connect plot-size/complexity to wordage, but no, I'd just left out a chunk.

So instead of an evening of catching up on email and playing around with images...I've been fixing it.  It's fixed (this one--I wonder if there are others...) and I'm going to bed before midnight.   I am not a night-owl...and I've been up well after midnight working on this thing for too many nights. 

Always let another pair of eyes roam over that ms. before you send it out, and always see it in more than one format.