Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Week Past Deadline And She's Writing This?

Playing in the background: The air conditioner, punctuated every so often by the tympani roll of thunder in the background. It's going to pour like a sumbitch any second.

So where have I been for the last two weeks, you ask. Well, firstly, rumors of my having a bad cold have been greatly exaggerated. In actual fact I've been (gasp!) working. Not just at the ol' law firm, that would be too easy. I've also been working on the manuscript. It's been a massive time sink, but progress is being made. And, yeah, I was supposed to be done by July 1, but Rome wasn't built in a day and even if it was, my manuscript ain't Rome. Herculaneum, maybe.

Remember that writer's conference I went to? The one where I was in New Orleans for four days, having spooky coincidences left and right and hanging with F. Paul Wilson? Oh, yeah, and learning all this stuff about commercial fiction? Well: I left with a set of marching orders. Go thou home, take thy manuscript, go over it with a fine tooth comb, take out every single last darn extraneous word (like how I put four of em in this sentence just for effect?) and then send the thing to the literary agents who expressed interest. All three of them. (And one editor. We liked the editor actually. He was cool.) I also had the task of getting the thing down to something remotely resembling a normal word count. Like something under 120,000. I won't tell you how much over 120,000 it was, but let's just say it was up there.

So how does one take a manuscript one's been working on since roughly two ought ought six and make it into a salable product in two ought ten? I started out by reading over all my notes and typing them up. Hey, I'm a paralegal. It's what I do. I take notes and I type them up. I've tried not taking notes and I've tried not typing them up and believe me, they're both highly unnatural, to say nothing of overrated.

So I typed up the notes and I read them over and came to believe that I had not one, but two things to do here:

1. Take a look at every single scene and decide if it's actually germane to the tale.
2. Line edit - that is, take a look at every sentence in the manuscript and decide if it needs to be there in that exact configuration, with that number of words, and in that very spot.

All together now: "That sounds like a lot of work!" Uh, yes. Which is why I'm a week past deadline. But I can see the end from here. I know my screaming fans (both of them) are getting impatient, but it Just Has To Be Done.

See, I've kind of been in the habit of lackadaisically editing whatever I felt like editing. Starting on page 305 and just going backward and forward until I got tired. I've never actually sat down with a piece of work and gone over it with a certain methodical, scene-serial-killing callousness that I've now come to believe is essential. In short, I used to edit like I wrote. No. Can't do that no mores. Writing is writing. Editing is editing. Editing is hard. But it has to be done.

I will say, though, that line-editing is possibly the most tedious, frustrating, unrelievedly dull work I have ever done in my life, and I'm including my stint as a CSR at Bank of America's credit card division. But here's the thing. It's working. My word count is down by almost 25,000. That's not only significant, it's a freaking miracle. So I'm not begrudging the extra week (though I'm bemourning the lost sleep).

All right, I have to get back to it now. Everybody remember where we parked.

6 comments:

涵FHJK連韓E5131E育連韓瑋 said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.............................................................

玉婷良DGFHFJ瑋黃吳 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

脾氣與嘴巴不好,就算心地再好,也不算好人~~~..................................................

Jen said...

I can't decide if I should be annoyed that pretty Asian ladies leave me links to their nude photos, or pleased that I get any comments at all.

Cele said...

It depends how you like your pretty Asian ladies. I'd be pissed that they are not awed by your persistant editing, taking place over your sleep. That part really stumps me, true dedication to the cause. Edit on.

維哲維哲 said...

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