Thursday, February 11, 2016

Below 100,000 words

I've finished my second draft, let it sit for longer than I planned (oops!), and done another read-through of my manuscript. Draft 2 sat so long it became a cooling-off period before a new draft ended at 96,242 words. Part 3 is still almost half the book. I'd hoped to make parts 1 and 4 roughly even (about 15% each), and parts 2 and 3 even (about 35% each). But after the read-through, part 2 feels kind of slow, so even if I can shorten part 3, I'll also have to tighten up part 2, so they still won't be very even. Alas.

In my read-through I marked notes on my printed manuscript, and my plan was to transfer those directly to the draft in Scrivener: cut/add/change words here and there, cut unnecessary sections, clarify confusing sentences, and use the Comments feature to note anything that would require a little bit of thought or effort.

Turns out I'm largely rewriting chapter 1 and (again) chapter 2. For most of chapter 1 the character is alone, i.e. no dialogue and only one person doing actions. So the prose is clunky with a lot of repetitive sentence structure. She did this. She did that. Yania did this, doing that. As she did this she did that, thinking about doing the other. As far as chapter 2, I already rewrote it once, and it's better than draft 1, but the dialogue and characters' actions still seem awkward and I'm trying to smooth it out.

Unfortunately I often find myself staring at the screen, typing few words. I think since it's draft 3 I'm afraid to write anything that's only first-draft quality. But I'm chugging through it.

Hopefully it will get easier farther into the draft. Because these were the first chapters I wrote, they never were as solid as the rest, and the worldbuilding out-developed them so they don't entirely fit anymore. But because these chapters set up the story and have the whole book to be referred to again, it's hard to change even small details without having to change a lot of later references. Later chapters (which hopefully won't need such extensive uprooting and replanting) can take bigger hits without so much damage.