Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cruising now

My theory that the remaining chapters will give me less trouble looks sound for the moment--at least until someone reads it and brings me back to reality. I put in another p.m. session after lunch and in 2 hours worked through and finished Ch. 13. I had notes from my wife reading it several months ago, which mostly amounted to cutting out a lot of background exposition stuff. I took out a lot of it but convinced myself some it is necessary. Regardless, I probably need to print out this and other chapters where I've done this level of work so I can look hard at the sentence-level some more.

The result for now is that I cut an additional 4 pp. That's minus 54 so far and sitting on 393 pp. This is from an already comparatively short chapter. Wow, it's only 11 pp. now. Shorter than I thought.

This chapter and the few following are heavily influenced by a point that Jane Smiley makes in Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Novel. She says that at about 65-70% mark, novels often have a feeling of gathering themselves up and directing their energy toward getting to the end. The pace seems to pick up. I knew that I wanted my Part I to end at about the 2/3 mark and that there would be significant shift in time and change in the character during that period. (I was thinking of To The Lighthouse as a model, when the death of the mother has happened off stage between two parts of the book and we return to characters have changed a lot.) So I figured this transition would be an opportunity to pick up the pace of the narration like Smiley says is often typical. I made a conscious effort when I was drafting (two years ago!) to have the episodes and the chapters come at a quicker tempo.

I guess my now 11-page Chapter 13 is a sign of that. Chapter 14 ought to be. It was once two separate short chapters and I combined them. It's 24 pages right now. I'll deal with that tomorrow.

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