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This is not something I ever thought I would say, but in this specific case, I think Shadows of the Sun should have been a fantasy :).

 

Let me tell you the story of a young protagonist whose only desire was to see the big, broad world and meet everyone in it.

 

She started as nothing more than an intrusive dream, a little monkey-like person poling a raft through a tangled jungle.

 

But that wasn't enough for her. She couldn't be satisfied by something as little as a presence in one tiny mind. No, she wanted it all.

 

Persistence won out and this young protagonist wiggled her way into a short story, sure this would be enough to soothe her heart. And for a good number of years, it was enough.

 

Only as time passed, the story grew too small to fit her ambition, too tiny to speak to the complexities she knew she had in her. She wanted...a novel!

 

And sure enough, she had the will to make a way, forcing herself back into that tiny mind, making a space, refusing to be forgotten until...a novel was born.

 

But that wasn't the end of her trials; no, it seemed more like a beginning. From there she had to wait half written as the author when wandering off to play with...of all things...the very same protagonist whom Kyrnie had originally convinced to share the stage way back when both accepted their limits in a short story world.

 

Her patience paid off though, and her story reached its full, necessary body.

 

But no one was reading it!

 

Again, she sat on her author's shoulder, poking and prodding until edits happened. Oh the agony. What she'd thought as a beautiful telling, rather than being praised, was ripped and torn and reformed. She went through numerous critique cycles, her beginning chapters thrown away time and time again. Then came a professional critique, and even the opportunity to star as an example in several writing classes.

 

With each iteration, once she recovered from the struggle, she grew stronger, more polished, and more refined. Until...

 

The day came when the author felt she had grown enough, improved enough, to take on the ultimate challenge, to scale the very last wall before being sent out all over the world.

 

And she was ready.

 

Yep, definitely a farm girl to dragon tamer story :).

 

And in case you missed the point that was hidden beneath the fantasy, Shadows of the Sun is, at this very moment, winging its way into the hands of the first ever agent to look upon its pages. If all that training and refining worked, she should be up to the challenge.

 

Thank you to all the secondary characters in her story who help the heroine learn, stretch, and grow into what she has now become :).

 


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As you might have noticed, I've gotten a little sidetracked what with this being November and with NaNo and everything, but that does not mean I plan to leave Shadows to gather dust. My goal this month is to write and polish the submission package to prepare for a December start.

So this week I had as my goal to write a synopsis. Imagine my delight to discover (unremembered) that I had already completed not one but several synopses for Shadows of the Sun earlier this year in both my Forward Motion synopsis class and the OWW synopsis focus.

Only trouble is that none of them sounded any good.

So yesterday, after a despairing look at what I had, I went and wrote a brand new one using my latest draft of the novel in which the overarching theme/plot is much clearer from the start. I still have to polish it, and compare to the other drafts to confirm this is, in fact, better, but it's progress.

I didn't like the query blurb either, so I guess that's next on the chopping block :p. If all goes well, though, I'll have a submission package ready to go out just when agents shut down for the holidays. That, however, is not a problem for me. I'd be happy to wait a bit on the responses because I have other things to get polished and out the door still this year.

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After an incredibly long haul, I have reached the end of the road with Shadows of the Sun. Or rather, I've reached the turn where the book can take off on its own.

All that remains is a spell-check run and the submission package (no easy feat, but different from editing the whole), and Shadows will be out looking for an agent willing to shepherd it through publication to bookstore shelves.

The final word count is 134,239, so still rounded to 135k despite my efforts. It turned out that, as I'd feared, I had already done pretty much all the big cutting in the previous pass, leaving only bits and pieces here or there unless I want to remove one of the threads that make up the plot, a drastic cut which I will do if necessary, but maybe the story can stand on its own despite the length. I started at 135,740, so cut more than 1000 words anyway.

And the secondary meaning of this success? I can now focus on NaNo with a whole heart and no guilt...of course I have just one day to finalize my outline, which needs a ton of work. I should get to sleep :p.
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And progress progresses, if at a crawl.

The major changes pass is now complete. Good news? Well, the draft stands at 135,700 give or take a few words. That's still a lot higher than I'd hoped for, but a good 4,300 words shorter than I thought it would be. I did take the opportunity to take out a couple of places that weren't crucial that happened to fall in the same chapters as the major changes, so it's not a clear sign that I controlled any additional word count, but still, it makes the next step a little more plausible :).

And just what is the next step?

Well, that would be the culling pass. The plan is to read through the whole novel, looking for any place I can remove 1, 5, or even 200 words. Honestly, at this point I don't expect to find many big cuts, and I doubt that the little cuts will add up to the minimum 10,700 that I'd prefer to cut. Even an 125k, Shadows of the Sun will be running heavy for the industry.

That said, though I'm looking for cuts, at this point I'm not ready to manufacture them without an agent/editor's guidance. This is a complex, layered book, and that's not just me talking but also those who have graciously agreed to read it. I've been aware of this word count issue for some time and have already stripped out some of the additional information in the book that served to make the reader aware of the bigger world but wasn't absolutely crucial to the novel. Any more pieces I find like that will be toast. But I'm not going to trim the elements that strengthen this novel, that make it the anthropological fiction I've always wanted to write, without someone with a heck of a lot more experience than me saying if I cut X bit, I'll get a sale, or an equivalent statement.

The trick here is balance. There are a billion rules that authors try to follow, and as many ways that following those rules can kill the heart of the novel. Shadows has had its fair share of critiques, but in each case, I looked at what the critiquer was saying and worked toward an answer that resonated with the story. When Shadows first went over acceptable word count, I gave a close look to what wasn't necessary, and culled where I could. And as I said above, I'm going through again with that sole purpose.

However, no one is going to buy Shadows because it meets the guidelines perfectly. No one is going to say that this story is the one because of word count, margins, font, or what have you. What will (and yeah, I believe will is the right term) sell Shadows is the depth of the story, the complexity of the conflicts, the characters themselves, and the world and multiple cultures found within. Weakening those strengths to court a word count is working against the story, and against its chances in the big wide world. Let the power of this story capture an agent's heart first, and then the agent and I can dicker over what to cut :). But I'm not going to break what's going for Shadows because I'm afraid of some numbers that I have to put at the top of the page. After all, who's to say I wouldn't end up cutting the one part that would have snagged the agent I'd prefer above all others.
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I've been slowly working my way through the second crit for Shadows and completed that step by the end of last week.  What remained was to do the significant changes run.  I've identified 2 brand new scenes I have to add, 1 scene I have to split into two, 9 scenes that require major changes, and 1 scene I just need to move from one place to another.

The new scenes are the result of having made a significant change that I didn't think through all the way.  I moved a character's introduction earlier to give readers a human to cling to.  That seems to have worked very well.  However, I gave Martha the first scene and made no other changes.  This meant it was 200 pages until she showed up again, leaving these newly introduced readers to wonder what the heck was going on with her :p.  Sigh.  So now, I'm splitting the first scene into two, which spreads her introduction a bit, and adding two more scenes to reveal a little of her issues and keep her in the reader's mind.

The changes are anything from adding more depth to grounding a creature that I mention but never show.

As usual, these changes will have the impact of adding more word count to a book already on the heavy side.  Once I finish this phase so that all the contents are there, I'm going through backwards in the hopes of identifying places I can cut words.  If I cut approximately 25 words per page, I'll get it down into the 120k range, but I doubt I'll be able manage that on a global basis.  Still I'd like to see how close I can get.

And finally, I'll do a proof edit to make sure I didn't break anything new.

After that it's just doing the submission package and sending Shadows out into the world.  The goal is to have the first batch out before the end of the year, but it's more important to be ready than to make an arbitrary deadline.  This year has been a case of life interfering big time, so I'm trying hard to be flexible.

 

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Well, I've gone through the first of two critiques, much to my delight and dismay.  As is usual, there were things I didn't agree with or can't apply, and things that just clicked right off.  For example, I made a change to the beginning that brought a character's POV to the front, but then failed to change the initial starting place.  This means you meet her in the first chapter, and then nothing for the first 40k.  Sigh.
 
So, my hopes of "yes, it's perfect," were dashed horribly and I haven't even read all the second crit yet :).
 
On the other hand, there were wondrous moments when the comments made it clear that I was successful in tormenting the reader along with my characters.  If there was ever an argument for "reader-focused" comments, this is it.  I have no doubt about what worked along with what didn't, and got the thrill of knowing it not just worked but worked well.
 
The end result is that I still have some work ahead of me, but it's nothing in comparison to previous edits and shouldn't change the integrity so much that I feel another crit pass is necessary.  Though I do have to wait until I finish reading the second crit to know for sure :).
 
And just to give you something more to chew on than just a status report, here's one of the quibbles from the crit that I agreed with but still dismissed.  There's no good answer that I can see :p.
 
The question was regarding the use of male and female to designate the characters when not repeating their name, similar to how we would use man and woman as an alternative if they were human.
 
Now, man and woman were out simply because my characters are alien.  Not only would it bug my sense of accuracy, but it could also make readers complacent about the alien cultures so that when things happened that are somewhat non-human, they'd stand out more and distract the reader.
 
The alternative of offering "native" words that filled the same purpose hit me on the accuracy once again.  If all words are translated except those that have no equivalent, as they must be because the book is not written in the Nismorani language, then it implies that their genders are somehow different than human ones, which in this book they are not.  Additionally, the structure would have to be introduced in the beginning, where readers are already hit with a number of foreign words and concepts to absorb.  This last bit opens a concern that readers would be drawn out of the story as they tried to remember if this word meant the plural, the male, the female, or singular of the people.  The male and female would be noticeable in context assuming a she/he followed soon after, but whether it's a people or a gender would be less clear as either could be there.
 
I asked my boys for suggestions, because I couldn't come up with anything better than the two above.  My oldest came up with a wonderful suggestion.  Since the first sapient group the reader is introduced to is monkey-like, why not use the gender terms for monkeys?  This would have two benefits: it would solve the problem above, and fix a monkey image in the reader's head.  So, I went out and researched the monkey terms.  Guess what they are?  Male and female :p.  Bah.
 
So anyway, while I agree that male and female sound odd at first and take some getting used to, I had to ignore the issue because the cure was worse than the disease.  Have any of you run into this trouble?  And if so what did you do about it?
 
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I certainly didn't mean to drop off the map like this after doing so much better about posting at least once a month. I wonder if anyone is even listening anymore ;). Life happened to me in a big way on the health front, and summers are not the best time for me in any case because my main job becomes chauffeur across state lines.

Now here's the good news :D.

My main project for the year, Shadows, was in others' hands as you might have remembered. So all that life happens stuff that I'm now recovering from did not affect my progress :). Sometimes the luck is with you even when it feels like it's as far away as humanly (or not so humanly) possible.

So, the update on Shadows is this:

Both crits are back into my hands. Both critters have indicated I should not throw up my hands in despair and set the manuscript alight so I can dance on its ashes.

Beyond that? I'm afraid I don't yet know, but I have hopes to crack open the files this week and start planning my next move :), one that will, I hope, involve more consistent updates here.
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This novel is my main project for the year, and a smidge behind in the schedule, but Shadows has now advanced to the next step.

So far this year, I've done a deep edit pass, a proof edit, and a spell check. The novel is, as of about a minute ago, in the hands of the two critters who volunteered for the job. One of the critters has read the novel before (and is still willing, and eager, to go again (go figure)) while the other is brand new to this story with little foreknowledge at all if any. Between the two, I'm hoping to get what I need to polish and send Shadows off to find a new home.

And for the curious, the final word count is 135,117. I tried hard to keep the word count down in this edit pass, and cut a significant amount, but there was that much and more to add. Still, I was thinking I'd be looking at 140k-150k, so I'm happy.

Just to prove how chaotic life has become, I wrote this on the 4th...and am posting it now. So far I've seen some positive comments about the book from one critter, very general, but still positive, so there's hope that I haven't broken it :).
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The most unbelievable and amazing thing happened tonight. The Shadows of the Sun edit pass is complete, and one day BEFORE the revised deadline. This has been a crazy year so far. Even with giving myself an additional 15 days, some days it seemed like I'd never reach the last page.

All that remains is to do a copyedit pass, one more light crit pass to make sure I haven't broken anything big, and then Shadows will start making the rounds...I hope before December of this year. Guess I better get cracking on that submission package, eh?

My fears of a 150k behemoth did not come to pass. I kept an eye out for opportunities to cut, and so even with the added scenes, I increased the count by only 3,000 words. At 135k, it's large for what people are looking for, I know, but I hope the story balances that out. And maybe, if not, it'll balance enough so an editor or agent is willing to help me find the 10k to cull. At this point, I've removed anything that I thought unnecessary and everything that I thought weakened the novel (amazing how many shortcuts I'd taken :p). That leaves only removing something that strengthens Shadows but might not be 100% crucial. Sigh. But that's a decision I don't plan to make unless I have to.

While I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a very real sense of relief, and confidence that the story is much stronger than it was before, part of me is sad to reach this step. There's still work to be done, but I'm expecting it to be the fiddling type rather than anything massive. Then a project that has been with me in one form or another since 1988 will be out of my hands and launched onto the world. I don't know if I'll ever revisit Kyrnie's world, but I do know that I'll never forget my sojourn here and just hope that others feel the same way assuming they get the chance to explore.

Stats:
Edited Today: 2,829 words
50 Chapters complete - 102% of the novel
-15 Chapters remain (yes, I SERIOUSLY rechaptered in this pass.)
-3,016 Remaining word count
135,209 Current Total
135,209 Predicted Total
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I know I've been horrible about updating, but life happened and kept me from editing as well as posting. However, in the short week that ended April, I pushed everything else away and dove in head first. Though I blew my initial goal of May 1st to get the edit done, I'm on target and looking good for the backup date of May 15th. The edit is going well, and getting easier as I go along. I'd forgotten the critter comment that the second half was much stronger, but I'm loving that fact now. There are still some big fixes that need to be done, and a whole new scene that must be written, but the number of "guess I have to rewrite this scene from scratch" instances have gone way down.

What's even more important is that I still love and believe in this story. Kyrnie's had a rocky road, but I think this time she'll actually be ready for the big time.

Oh, and the biggest change? When I first wrote Shadows, I got it into my head that books should be around 30 chapters. I think it happened by accident at first, but then grew into tradition over the course of 2-3 books. With Shadows clocking in at 135k, those 35 chapters were pretty hefty. One of the tasks I've undertaken this time is to trim the average chapter length down, to go for punchy rather than jamming scenes together to stay within the realm of 30 chapters (which I didn't succeed at anyway). Currently there are 39 chapters and I'm in the middle of what was once chapter 28. My largest chapter went from 5314 to 4123 and my average from 3805 to 2672. The smallest, however, went from 2220 to 1313. But I think it's working better that way :). No one sentence chapters for me as of yet.

And stats:
Edited Today: 10,138 words
39 Chapters complete - 81% of the novel
-4 Chapters remain
25,303 Remaining word count
106,890 Current Total
135,543 Predicted Total
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Well, this has been an interesting ride so far. It's hard to tell whether I was just distracted by everything going on around me or whether I was just having a hard time getting into this edit. Frankly, I don't care anymore because something clicked :). Shadows of the Sun is no longer fighting me. It may have just been a case of needing to think a little bit longer.

This has been a long road. When I wrote the first version, I wasn't good enough to tackle it. Oddly enough, I think I am now, after a number of edits that have each brought it closer.

That's a lot of pressure.

On the other hand, I did a marathon, pushing myself to edit 7,500 words a day for two days, and things started to click. I was sucked back into the story. All my fancy notes about "thought out" solutions? Many of them helped offer a direction to take, but few ended up being completely re-conceptualized.

I took scenes marked for minor changes and tossed them out the window; I took ones marked for major changes and reworked them in a completely different direction.

The key point?

The rewrites work. They're strong. They take the themes and characters, and make them better.

Guess this shows I just had to wait, and drag my heels, until it just clicked. Maybe there'll be a little less whining and a little more productivity from now on ;).



And stats:
Edited Today: 5,836 words
16 Chapters complete - 37% of the novel
18 Chapters remain
83,738 Remaining word count
48,451 Current Total
135,154 Predicted Total
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I know...I'm behind in blogging. It's been crazy on both the writing and the personal front. However, I am slowly but surely making progress on Shadows of the Sun. I set myself a deadline of 3/31 to get the new outline done, and I was up until 11:30 that last night, but I finished. The outline I had used previously was some versions out of date, and in going through each scene again to write the blurb, I could mentally churn through my solutions and decide if they were actually what the book needed.

Ultimately, some fix plans grew stronger, some stayed the same, some changed entirely, and some were round filed as trying too hard :). I think I'm relatively well grounded in what I need to do, but this edit is going to be just as difficult as I imagined.

I have started working on the initial chapter, which has been rewritten more times than I can remember. This time, I've split it in half, added a new 1st scene and made serious changes to every single scene afterward :p. Four scenes complete so far. The first is new, the second changes the introduction of not one but two characters, in both cases to make positions and personalities clear. It's rather sad when you know exactly what the characters are like but your readers tell you one is whiny and worthless and the other should be shot. I mean, I'm fine with shooting characters who deserve it, but these guys are the good guys!

So I hope I've done a better job on their introduction, and in doing that, made the reason another crucial plot moment occurred obvious rather than sloppy. I think I have, but I know these characters too well to say for sure, because I thought I had before too ;).

The bad part is that the book is already long. In fixing these bits, I've only made it longer. At this point I'm looking at shaving off 7k-8k in order to get to the overly long 125k. Sadly, I think this is going to be on the heavy side, but better a strong book than one that fits nicely in a word count slot. That's not to say I don't plan on one last pass for the sole purpose of shaving word count. If I can take a 5000+ short story down to 3500 for a contest, I can fix this. Now I ended up breaking the story rather significantly when I did that...something that luckily only required a four word fix...but at least I know I can do it.

In the new outline, there are only 2 brand new scenes to be added, though with all the other changes (most of them adding not cutting) I've got my work...umm...cut out for me :).

So, time to sleep so I can get some work done tomorrow.

And stats:
Edited Today: 2.282 words
2 Chapters complete - 5% of the novel
32 Chapters remain
126,236 Remaining word count
5,958 Current Total
132,838 Predicted Total
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And the re-outlining has finally begun. I've gone through all the notes, including the Q&A with my critiquer, and collected the global changes.

Now I'm reading each scene and creating a new outline from scratch. I wrote this book just as I was working out the way outlines would help me. Therefore, its original outline is not very helpful at all :P.

I don't know whether I've gotten that much better at editing, or if distance is what I needed, but I can understand some of the comments I got before on certain characters now so much better. Stuff I could have sworn was laid out on the page, as I read the scene, is mentioned subtly, as though reminding the reader of something that they should already know, except that the first, detailed mention doesn't exist. Yep, I'm talking about Welhame here. I no longer question why his important--and positive--role did not come across. It's hard for readers to pick up on these things when they ARE NOT THERE :p.

If all goes well, though, I now have the distance, the ability, and the plan to make this novel rock as it should have from the beginning.

Oh, and I now know my weakness. When I get lazy, I duplicate themes and threads. I thought it was mere accident that I'd done so in the book until I worked on my synopsis and skimmed the outline instead of rereading the whole thing. Because of that, my first and second synopsis draft have two errors, one minor and one major. The minor can be excused. It won't affect anything. The major makes two different themes look pretty much identical and is proved false in the first paragraph. How's that for a wonderful presentation. Between the sample chapters and the current synopsis, no editor or agent would know which to trust :p.

BTW, I'm currently both taking a focus on synopses through OWW (closed but they might run another if there's enough interest) and teaching a specific synopsis technique on Forward Motion as this month's workshop. (Membership is free and there's still time to join that one if you're interested.) That's why I'm working on the synopsis for Shadows of the Sun, something I do before I start writing and after I've finished the final proof normally. And no, the timing wasn't planned. The one I didn't control was set after the one I do :).
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So I suppose it was inevitable to everyone else, but I am heaving a huge sigh of relief that I have finished typing in the comments on Shadows of the Sun, even if that is only the first step in a long editing process.

This is actually the second time I've read through the whole crit, and I had an odd disconnect. The first time through, I made a lot of notes and came up with solutions, which I then passed back to my critter for slaughter. Somewhere in between that step and now, I got the feeling those changes had already been incorporated in the manuscript. And since the most recent edit was before this crit, I have to keep reminding myself that those comments were what sparked the solution rather than a sign that the solution failed its purpose.

That said, what I have not done yet is gone over my proposed solutions and the discussions that ensued regarding them. I'm planning to make up a list of the major changes, and then as I re-outline the novel from scratch, mark which, if any, of these major changes apply to each scene. I'm hoping to craft a monstrous battle plan that I can follow step by step to keep my feet moving and my eyes on the future when I can ship this book off.

So, next step is to create that list. I've taken notes as I went along, but I need to read my older solutions and either replace the new ones or remove the old from consideration.

I know one of the real puzzlers now has a clean-cut solution, or so I think. I'd come up with several possibilities, but each was a bit of a stretch. The sight of a comment stating bluntly: William could not be that stupid, set me on a logical path that works for me because I like the layers within layers and the information presented when it appears to have one form of significance that turns out to have another later in the book.

Whether I succeed or not, this is definitely a wild ride :).
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And the Shadows of the Sun (Kyrnie) edit pass begins.

I have a hand written crit that came with an additional 9 pages hand written and two typed, from which I spawned three pages of my own hand written notes and several emails.

My first step is to transfer the comments on 593 pages to an electronic version. Let me tell you it's quite intimidating.

I started with unburying enough of my desk to be able to manage a pile of loose papers. That wasn't a difficult task, and it certainly needed doing, but it certainly wasn't fun.

Then I dug the mail box out of my bookshelf and pulled the pages free. I swear they expanded coming out of the mailer. I have a stack 3.5 to 4 inches tall of papers. I can tell you my heartbeat accelerated at the sight of them. Made me want to run away and hide. I don't work in paper anymore. And this is a lot of paper.

So I glanced down at the top-most page only to see "page 20." Panic! How had I managed to lose the first 19 pages?

Instinct made me check the back of the page to see...turns out that it was a partial print that was reused. I was looking not at the beginning, but at the end.

However, that little mix-up energized me to complete the whole edit.

When I turned the page over, I saw the corner marked as page 593. And then a hand-written note right above "the end." The note was simple, straightforward, and just what I needed in facing this big project. The words? "Kick-ass ending." With that to keep me going, I can tackle this huge novel and make it shine :).
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Today I started to read through the crit I received of Shadows of the Sun (Kyrnie) and figured out I have my work cut out for me. The good news is that the problems I fixed in the last major edit were at least 90% on target and many of those sections (thank you Val and Justin) got great comments.

However, all was not easy breezy in Kyrnie land :p.

My friend Zette talks about weasel words, those little tiny words that serve no purpose except to be ruthlessly cut out before they bloat the word count.

Me? I have weasel plot elements :p. There's so much going on in Kyrnie that I took a few "act of god" shortcuts. I let events take place without seeding them so readers would say, "of course." Some of the ones caught in the crit I knew about and thought I'd covered, others I didn't notice until they slapped me in the face, still others I thought I'd resolved but obviously not well enough. But the worst of all were the little bits of feedback where I recognized the issue and knew I'd left it there because it was too big to face and I was too lazy to do anything about it :p. Sigh. Okay, to give myself a fair shake, at the time I knew they were there, I had neither the skill nor the strength to address the solution as it should have been and by the time those skills developed, to make some of the changes required serious reworking (this is where the lazy comes in) and I was afraid of editing.

So, the bad news is Kyrnie's going to require another major edit. The good news is that this major edit will not be as complete as the previous one. And I still think this book is worth it :). Even more so, I'm actually looking forward to this edit. It helps that the crit pointed to all the things I wanted the book to be doing as things that worked and put slashes through things I had just shoved in there because I thought I had to do something :). Still, I know which edit will probably make the list next after Selkie...unless I get guilty and sneak something in between for my crit group.

And despite all of this, I'm not quite done reading the crit. I still have about 200 pages to go, and at least one major comment. Still, I've seen enough to grasp the big picture as well as some of the smaller ones. Who knows? Maybe I've actually grown up enough to face the edits I need to make on my older books and those stories will stop haunting me :).
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And here you thought Kyrnie was done for a while...

Well, the big edit pass is, but I'm doing the final read through on Kyrnie to catch the stupid errors I missed...much for must, believe for belief...and do minor touch up.

The reason I'm making this post, though, is the book has a real title! I thought you all might be interested in that little fact. With few exceptions (such as When She Calls), my titles come much later...or maybe it's true for the older novels that I'm only just getting around to editing since the latest batch all came with titles up front.

What is it? Stop rambling? Oh, okay...

*drum roll please*

Shadows of the Sun

Falling back on my long-standing tradition of "of the" names, but this actually has neat resonance with the story. One of the three species, being Nismorani, Lirthans, and humans, is a theocracy based on sun worship. A major source of the conflict is the belief that the Nismorani are demons from the night rather than people in their own right.

Anyway, back to the read through. So far (at about half), it's going well and those late edit doubts are minimal :).
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This is an amazing day. A wondrous thing happened :). The rewrite of Kyrnie is complete with the final version weighing in at a hefty 132,194 from an original 117,930, which mean I added 14,264. Besides the worries about length, I think the story is a lot stronger for this process. I do still have global changes to do and then a read through before it's ready for its next crit pass, especially necessary since so much is essentially first draft material now, but I don't envision another redo of this extent on this novel again, something that is much of a relief.

I have to say that the rewrite would not have been possible without the efforts of those who critted this novel and the story would have been tons weaker. For all my moaning, I'm happy :). Now we'll have to wait some months to see what comes of it, but that's a tale for another day :).
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I'm done for the week so I suppose this is as good a time as any to give an update on Kyrnie. I retyped 11,775 words this week. That means some copying and a lot of rewriting from scratch. This is a difficult place in the novel because the scenes have all been reorganized to increase tension. Sounds great on paper, but what it means in reality is going through every single scene and making sure all the references and threads still tie in.

In some, it was simple. A character mentions seeing the boat leave before the boat has left. Fine. I just cut that part out. However, in others, it's more subtle. They go visit a character in the dark. From hints, it's set up to be the same night Kyrnie is declared insane (yeah, fun stuff ;)), but it can't because two other scenes have now interceded that push the scene in question a whole day. Fine. But then what did Kyrnie do for that day? If she twiddled her thumbs, something is really wrong with the reorganization. Ah, but she can spend it battering her mind for memories about a map that she had with her in the old version and is now scraps of ash back at her village.

So, in that tangled paragraph, I hope to give you some sense of what I'm dealing with. In general, it means the edit goes slowly with great "rethink" periods when I try to make the new organization make sense. I'm a fast typist. If all I needed to do was keying, I'd have finished this weeks ago. Still, I'm coming in close and I have hopes (faint ones, but hopes) that the end of September will see Kyrnie to the end of her new stage.

Current total: 84104
Goal: 117935
remainder by word count: 33831
Actual to do: 46084 (Yes, this means I've added just under 13k)
If finished by October 1st:
1487 per day, 10407 per week (31 days)
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I've been bad about updating my progress on Kyrnie, but I've really been making progress. With my new process, I've been completing a chapter every couple of days, not including the two weeks I went off on vacation. I have completely rewritten scenes, crafted new scenes for information that didn't exist before, and copied existing scenes in almost letter perfect (okay, with a lot of minor changes). This book seems to need them all and that's half why it seemed more efficient to retype, as gruesome as that sounds.

When I first started this type-in technique, I was desperate and skeptical. I hope none of my other books requires some of the same, but for this one, I'm committed. Yep, show me a way that works, however painful, and I'll jump on the bandwagon ;). I like this story. I've liked it since the first version. However, thanks to some very telling feedback from my critiquers, I know it needs work and I can say with confidence that the version I'm producing now is much better than the previous ones :).

Oh, and unless I find great amounts to cull, it'll be stretching the limits, but at this point I don't care. I can shorten sentences and do whatever's necessary once I've got the story perfected :).

Stats:
(These are slightly different than before because I realized I wasn't providing the editing statistics by using the writing ones.)

Total edited (new word count): 72415
Original total: 117935
Remainder: 45520
Actual to do (accounting for new words): 62322
134737 Estimated length
94 scenes
51 complete - 54% of the novel
43 Scenes remain

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Margaret McGaffey Fisk

April 2017

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