Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Short of goal but getting there

Yesterday p.m. I did the work planned on one chapter and this a.m. on a third chapter. One more to go for this phase. I cut 3 and 4 pages respectively, short of my goal for 5 each, but every little bit helps. The whole typescript stands at exactly 400 pages now--a long ways from the 539 I started with in late January and the 570-page high where it was last October.

Figure in some minor cuts tomorrow and a little bit of regular erosion here and there from the line edits and it will end up in the neighborhood of 390 pages. Barring a signficant reconception of the book, I think that's the length of the book. It's in the DNA. And it's what I had in mind when I started this revision last January, so that's good.

A significant reconception isn't inconceivable, though. That's what my next readers are for partly--to help me see if I'm missing a big structural flaw.

The chapter I worked on today particularly makes me nervous. The most obvious case is that it doesn't belong, just on the basis of "which of these things is not like the others?" From the moment I conceived of it, it has been a little bit of an outlier. My first reader encouraged me to consider cutting it, but so far I've resisted and instead have tried to rework it to make it clearer about how I want it to connect. Mostly I keep cutting away it to make everything in it clearly connected back to my main story. This one chapter by itself has been reduced by about half. But is what remains still so seemingly far afield that the reader will feel led astray?

Well, let's see what my next readers say. I haven't yet decided at what point I want to give it to them. Conceivably, I could hand it off at the end of this week, after dealing with the last chapter on my list and a handful of other clean up issues. Or I could spend some line editing first. I'll be thinking on that.

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