Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cutting the fat

Today I cut 19 instances of reaching, which was a total of 55 words cut. That doesn't sound like much, considering there were 105 reaches to begin with, and over 135,00 words, but it means that there were 19 times when I said someone reached and picked up something, or reached and touched something.

There are more reaches to remove, just because the whole sentence is sloppy writing. But right now I'm focusing on easy things to delete.

And of 447 looks, I killed 65. More need to disappear (people looking sad, or giving someone a look - those sentences are kind of weak) but I didn't take the time to tweak those sentences yet. The 65 looks I deleted were people looking around the room, or looking up at someone, or looking away from someone, or looking at the ground, easy things to delete without having to rework the sentence.

Now that I have an idea how many of my reaches and looks and other overused words are unnecessary, I feel better about moving forward. Seeing all 447 instances of look has helped me see, not only that I use the word a lot, but that I use it in certain ways a lot. And many of those ways are weak writing anyway.

But for now, since I've given myself a tiny boost in cutting the word count fat (411 words), I'm going to focus on big-picture things, like cutting or condensing unimportant scenes, and adding all the details/scenes that I skimmed over or forgot completely (sigh, that will add again to the word count...) When that's all done I can worry about smaller things like the words themselves. No sense tweaking and perfecting sentences now if I'm going to be rewriting/removing the whole scene later on.

Quilt update: The stain is mostly out. I looked up ink stain removing, and most of the methods either used things I don't have (cornstarch), or seemed to work only for still-wet stains (salt). Since my stain could have been forming for as long as 25 minutes, surely some of it was dried already. I tried two different methods, alternating between soaking it in cold water and rubbing toothpaste on it. I don't know which of those worked (maybe both?), but in the process the stain went from dark purple, to purple spreading out really far in the cold water and soaking through onto the quilt backing, to slightly less dark purple with slightly fading edges, to purplish blue just as dark despite the shrinking edges, to blue still shrinking, to lighter blue, to light blue still shrinking, to very light blue that is so close to being gone. Just be gone, stain!

Ignore the pinkish tinge. That's just what my phone did for some reason. The stain is the faint bluish blob in the middle.

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