Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lots of progress

When did I check in last? A ton of work ago, whenever it was.

I don't know how good the work is, but I'm feeling pretty good about it right now. There have been some ups and downs.

I did a few days of brainstorming, contemplating, digging until I felt I had found the main thread and started working to tie everything around that. In the process, for the record, the draft expanded to what I hope will be its maximum length -- 76,000 words and 320 pages -- mostly in the first 20% where I was doing a lot of careful work trying to make sure every scene in the set up was hitting hard.

I was feeling pretty good about it then and over the weekend asked me wife to read that section,a and she splashed cold water on me. She feels it's too slow to get started primarily and doesn't focus enough on the main story. That put me in the doldrums for awhile.

But I came up with three possible solutions and for the most part, up until this morning, I've been working really closely with that same 60 pages. The solutions included cutting out one prologueish chapter entirely, cutting out a plot thread that is set up in the opening and revisited throughout and reminding myself that less is more when it comes to characterization, which allowed me to pull out some anecdotes and backstory about my character. In the end, I decided to keep the first chapter.

The result was being able to subtract 12 pages -- 20% -- from the set up. I've kept moving in the right direction since then and have it down to 295 pages and 70,000 words. I'm up to around page 100 on this read-through and hope that the rest of it will go faster than work on the set up did.

I do have a nagging feeling that I can't really see it well enough to judge anymore. We'll see what happens at the end of this draft, but I'll probably have to consider seriously the idea of some time away from it to get some perspective. I'm getting pretty eager for feedback from readers, too.

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