Monday, December 31, 2007

Time for a New Year

Looks like it's time for a New Year! Christmas went by so fast this year. Seems like it was just yesterday that we got out of school with the whole two weeks looming before us. How short they were!
We started back last Friday and are working ourselves back into the routine.

Most of my time in the week between Christmas and New Year's went to polishing work on my current book, The Cattle Rustling Catastrophe. I found to my absolute HORROR that I'd gone over 40,000 words from my goal. Knew that because of my "unique" filing system (sounds better than total chaotic jumble), I would be able to cut some wordage when I cleaned up my double chapters. I did. But, I still ended up with over 17,000 words OVER. This is not good. Even 10K is doable. I cleaned up over 20,000 out of the mystery. (Hey, I did! So, okay, maybe 17K isn't so awful.) I need to keep reminding myself when I'm in the middle of the mess.

So, with every spare second I had this week, I cleaned up as much as I could of weasel words--that's, buts, aw, well. Anytime a character used another character's name when there were only two people speaking, I slashed. Still isn't enough. So, I'm faced with a gigantic hurdle. Tonight I realized that I'm going to have to cut one of the subplots and hope it makes the word count nearer my goal. Now that I've faced the inevitable, it doesn't hurt so bad. As a backup plan, I've printed out the first three chapters. Tomorrow I plan to slash and rearrange them into one or two smaller chapters.

Even though it feels like a huge amount of work, I know quitting isn't an option. I truly love this book. At the beginning, I got sidetracked for awhile, but I knew inside that I could stick with this until the end. This is a fun book and it's good. It has a great moral built in and teaches a lesson in an exciting way. I plan to rework it as much as necessary which presents two more problems.

One is that when I slash the subplot, I have to find another way to provide motivation for Jenny to keep going. Kind of like her author, she needs a reason to get to that last chapter. Had an idea tonight which might turn into a possibility.

My other problem is the fact that I'm planning to cut and paste chapters that have gotten good "reviews." The first three chapters did well in the SANDY contest and got good scores. The first 20 pages won an Honorable Mention in The Smartwriter's WIN contest. So, should I go with my instincts and change them? Or leave them alone because well respected judges and authors liked them? I feel the fact that the book hasn't sold yet might be an answer. (And I can always change the chapters back if I decide I'd rather. :))

So--until this book is finished, I feel like I'm in suspended animation. Everything hinges on the time I can spend working out this muddle. Kind of like having a jigsaw spread on the dining room table---every time I pass by I have to stop and work a few pieces into place.

I'm hoping to finish before leaving for the Midwinter Unschooler's gathering on the 21st. By then, I'll need a vacation!


nlindabrit said...

It sounds as though you have your work cut out for you, dear girl, but I know you can do it. You seem to have a good plan for how to cut the novel to the desired size and I think you should carry it out. I think those same judges who thought highly of your original chapters would probably be just as impressed with the revamped ones. I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

Peaches said...

What a mind-boggling task that seems--cuting so many words! But I know that you're equal to it and will end up with a wonderful book! I need some of your industry-orientation--well, a lot if the truth be told! I am way too wordy and then get attached to said words and don't want to let go of them. So three cheers for your grit and determination!

Leona said...

Hi Donna ~ What a big undertaking you've taken on, but you can do it. I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments, I could burst. I think I live vicariously through you and your stories! You're right about the holidays going by so fast! I think people are right as well because the older I get the faster the time goes! Happy New Year, and good luck on accomplishing your goals! You go girlfriend! :>)