So I went home and made a long chart of my current manuscript: the major events of each chapter, the word count at every five chapters, and the critical pieces that you learn at different points. Then I explained it to Garrett and we started hacking away.
Good-bye, Miranda. I thought you would work but you are bogging down the middle portion.
Good-bye funeral scene, you happen to be a lot of words with not much pay-off.
Good-bye, The Night of all Nights that I thought was really going to take us places. Apparently not.
From that I came to some good action steps.
1. De-Angst the first third. Somewhere along the way my main character got a little pouty and moody and kind of “My mom is like so totally cramping my style.” Gotta reign that in a bit.
2. Move the action from Chapter 20 to Chapter 5. Oh, dear.
3. Cut out 8,000 more words.
4. Write a new ending.
So there you have it. I was surprised by how calm I was at this process. I was actually relieved to have better direction, excited to be working towards a more fast-paced story. And let’s face it, we could all de-angst our lives a little, no?
Working through it with my husband reminds me of when I take the time to seriously engage something my kids are thinking about.
Want to talk about why Rapunzel and Belle wouldn’t get along? Yes, let’s talk about that.
Want to discuss the merits of melee attacks over range attacks? I’m all ears.
Want to talk (again) about the little boy who was mean to you at the Burger King play place two years ago? OK, tell me what you’re thinking.
The point isn’t whether or not it’s really important; the point is that it’s important to someone who is important to me. And that’s how I feel when my husband entertains this whole crazy book idea. He looks at me like, “Yes, this is a perfectly legitimate way to spend an evening.”
Even though I kind of know it isn’t. But that’s really OK with both of us.
So there you have it. So much for wrapping this up in February. I don’t know why I can’t stop setting deadlines for myself. I mean, it’s kind of like saying, “I don’t know how far I have to go or how long it will take me but I plan to get there by March 1.” Why yes, that makes perfect sense.
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See ya Friday!