Progress Report

So I rewrote the last two acts, tightened everything, and now the book is 135,000 words.

I have to cut 35,000 words. That’s 140 pages.

That banging sound you’re hearing is my head hitting the keyboard.

54 thoughts on “Progress Report

  1. Oh look! A portrait of me in my hoard. Audio a snapshot of me with all the New Year, new class paper work. Argh. Must reside at 4am tomorrow.

    You’ll do it Jenny, you’re that good. Sending happy deleting vibes to you.

    6+
  2. You may be beating your head against the keyboard but baby you’re wearing alligator shoes while you do. And you look fabulous.

    24+
        1. There are a couple of things that play into word count. One is just the cost of printing the book. This thing would be a third again as long as my normal books. E-books it doesn’t matter, paper books it does.

          The bigger one for me is that that’s a long book to read. I don’t want people getting tired of the story because there’s too damn much of it. Also, the more Stuff I put in there, the more it obscures the main story line and makes it harder for people to engage.

          But at this point, my brain really is tapioca. I’ve read this sucker so many times over three years that I’m not sure any of it makes sense. So at this point, I need to step away. I have three solid beta reads coming in, although possibly not in time to make changes before I send it to Jen. I could use more, but I am just so tired. I think I’m going to sleep for the rest of the week, send it to Jen on Friday, and go work on a different book. The part of my brain that’s Nita needs a rest.

          20+
          1. That sounds like an excellent plan. As you say, there’s going to be time to make cuts later on, when you’ve got good feedback.

            4+
          2. I like this plan. It is a good plan. (Closes eyes, crosses fingers, holds thumbs for Haunting Alice and Stealing Nadine. Goddess willing.)

            9+
  3. Maybe it will help to think of it like a movie. Those auteur directors’ are always making films that go over 3 hours and having to cut them down to viewing length for theatrical release.

    So run the book in your head like a film and see what bits you can leave on the cutting room floor. Good luck

    3+
    1. I just saw Aquaman and it was fine, but it would have been better if they had cut 20 minutes. Sometimes edits really are necessary. But maybe not *quite* that much?

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      1. That’s the thing. Whenever I see the deleted scenes part of a DVD, the stuff they cut could be charming, but I didn’t miss it. It’s almost always better shorter, especially when it’s this horrendously long. I just need some distance on it.

        7+
        1. I sigh, heavily. Much of my reading over the years has been science fiction, and a fair percentage of that, the works of David Weber (Honor Harrington series). Weber needs to meet you, or vice versa. His books are the very definition of word count inflation. A frequent description is “info dump.” There hasn’t been a book since the sixth in his series that couldn’t have been a lot slimmer.

          And yet, I keep buying and reading them. You could put 10K words back in – I will buy it and read it. Now, part of that is that my entire library has migrated to ebooks. The very few treebooks on my shelves are there for nostalgic reasons; a signed Bujold, some illustrated picture novels. I have over 1500 books on a single thumb drive, and some of those are multiple novel compilations like “Miles in Love” or (cough) Crusie anthologies.

          I realize that some publishers are trying to fit every story into a pre-set number of pages for economies of setup. But every story can’t be told with 90,ooo to 110,000 words. If they read it and like it, they’ll deal with the bulk.

          And so will we.

          2+
  4. I still say check with your editor. I think 130 kwords would probably be fine in today’s novel market, and 120 certainly would, which is a less drastic cut.

    Signed, I have a book coming out in May that is 116 kwords and my editor did not blink.

    9+
      1. Not to me it’s not. But I just finished Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid, which is over 500 pages.

        2+
  5. But this is a true progress report. Remember when you had just a few words?

    And I know it’s been suggested by others, but it might be a good idea to wait until you get feedback from your beta readers. That would give you a little time and distance, too.

    6+
  6. It’s too bad there can’t be an “author’s cut” version of the book. I’d buy that.

    14+
    1. I guess, with ebooks, this could be a thing – although I’m with Jenny and Deb: mostly, those extra bits on a DVD really wouldn’t have made the whole thing better.

      4+
  7. I’m just impressed you could write that many words in the first place.

    Signed,
    The Woman Who is Fighting for Every Word on the Page

    Good luck with the edits! You can do it. (Also, have you talked to your editor about this? She might have suggestions once she reads.)

    8+
    1. Love and hugs, Deb
      Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Run your race, not Krissie’s! Hi Krissie’s🙋🏻‍♀️

      6+
  8. I don’t suppose there’s one of the Hell characters that you had to work to get on the page? You could wipe one of them out and just relay their horrible actions by having the other characters complain about that horrible thing he/she did, or said, or lied about. That way the active paragraphs full of words could be replaced with a sentence or two about razzafrazzin stuff making somebody else mad.

    3+
    1. Well, Fenella is no longer with us and I haven’t added characters.
      I think it’s just forty pounds of plot in a ten pound bag.
      I’ll wait to see what Jen says, too, but I think the problem is that it’s both a romance and a woman’s journey book, plus the Max/Button subplot, which I love, and I’m just trying to do too much.

      And I probably need more beta readers because this is going to be a bear. It’s going to Jen on Friday, regardless.

      6+
      1. For me, a fine romance is always a woman’s journey.

        Now step away from the keyboard until, uh, Saturday.

        7+
        1. Yes, but one of them has to dominate.
          Bet Me is a romance.
          Maybe This Time is a woman’s journey with a romance subplot.
          I think this is a romance but there’s so much other stuff in there that I’m not sure.

          4+
  9. Congrats on finishing the book!

    On a completely different note: back on Reinventing Fabulous, you wrote sometimes about a calorie-counting app you used. Do you remember what is was, and would you still recommend it? (I tried to look it up, but the ReFab blog is gone now.) Thank you!

    2+
    1. ReFab should be out there somewhere. I’ll have to find the new URL.

      It wasn’t a calorie counting app per se, as I remember. It was a food diary so it gave you all the counts. I had it on my iPad, too, but that was many iPads ago.

      Anybody remember what that was?

      2+
    2. I’m currently using myfitnesspal. There is also Loseit! which has some different features but is roughly the same.

      I seem to recall it being given a nickname like Netty.

      0
  10. We all have our own word demons to chase!

    Heh, see what I did there?

    I’m like Deb getting the words on the page can be a bear. Except when it’s not. For me, it’s mostly a problem of focus — those damn shiny squirrels all over the place.

    Yesterday I decided I could revise my daily word count downward if I wrote every single day. (Which I mostly do anyway.) But that increases the distance between paydays. Uh, no. Bills must get paid.

    Damn sparkly squirrels. My brain wants to play with them.

    4+
  11. I am with Office Wench Cherry – a director’s cut is called for! Maybe not for everyone, but I would love to read the full version, and I am with you on the “deleted scenes” thing.

    You know how you often get the audio book for free when you buy a kindle? Maybe we could have a similar deal on the long version.

    1+
  12. The first beta read came back and is HUGELY helpful (thank you, Sue Danic!) so I can see my way a little better now. Krissie and Cory will get back to me later in the week, but Sue really pinpointed the stuff that doesn’t make sense and the places it went on too long. The problem, I think, is that there’s just too much story in there, too many subplots, too many characters, too many complications. Which is odd when you consider how many tables and diagrams I did to keep it all clear in my head, but then I knew all the stuff the reader doesn’t know, and that led to questions that throw the reader out of the book. But such a relief to get a road map.

    9+
  13. First of all a extra large heap of congratulations! You finished a book! The hell with launch parties I think you should have a partial with your closest friends to celebrate!

    4+
  14. I hope you are able to send it off on Friday with joy. It’s great that you’ve reached this point and I’m sure all your beta readers and your editor will have helpful ideas. And I always find that resting my brain after focusing intently on something really helps clear out the fog. When I go back to the project, I usually can finish it and feel much lighter about it.

    2+

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