Everything’s Fine

You know in the movies how a character will say, “I can fix this,” and then in the next scene he has whatever it was completely disassembled with the pieces lying all around him? That’s where I am. I’ve broken the book down into acts and then scene sequences, and started hacking scenes out and labeling them so I can find them later, and my computer desktop looks like a junkyard. Some of this stuff I can cut and I’m happy about–the Grandma Keres scene, some of the bar scenes, a lot of the first working day stuff–and some of it I’ve cut and it nags at me. The Hotels in the first scene is one of those. I know damn near everybody said they could go, but I think I lost something there.

Anyway, what that means is that I’m doing a truly terrible job of blogging and I apologize. Thank god you people don’t need me to keep this place going.

And now back to the Ten Thousand Pieces of Nita Dodd.

27 thoughts on “Everything’s Fine

  1. Sometimes breaking down to build up is one of the best ways to go about it. I’m exploring that now because I suddenly have a LOT more extra time after being a bit broken.

    I have bronchitis and a fractured toe. It’s a hairline so I just have to keep it elevated. Argh. Now I get to read every book on my physical TBR pile. Yay! Methinks SMP deciding not to publish Nita means you’re going to make it better. Keep the Hotels if the girls in the basement tell you to.

    Btw… Anybody know any good free links for image training that injured sports people use? I want to keep up and improve my yoga.

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      1. Ooh, I highly recommend. I did her Dedicate month and it was brilliant. Been intermittent with the Reset. But methinks the Universe sent me a sign. Slow the bleep down and reset!

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  2. I’m one of the people that loved the Hotels. While I know it is most important that the reader connects with the hero/heroine, I am always drawn to minor characters. To me, that’s how I get to know the main characters – by how they treat the less important ones (just like in real life!)

    And I may also be in the minority when I say the cleverest part of the cartoon you posted is the naked woman poster on the wall. You just KNOW it is a mechanic’s garage because of that one little detail. 🙂

    14+
    1. “…the naked woman poster on the wall. You just KNOW it is a mechanic’s garage because of that one little detail. ” Really?!? It can’t be a gay garage? A Bi garage? Any of the rest of the spectrum? Maybe that’s a Bruce Jenner poster!

      Sorry. I took it the same way. It’s just… you can’t, anymore, without corroborating evidence. Nor did you specify, “a male mechanic’s garage,” Never mind. -Roseanne Roseannadanna

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      1. Just to continue the discussion – wouldn’t it have been worse if I’d specified “male” mechanic? My comment as written could include gay, bi, etc, couldn’t it? Isn’t it possible that a gay female mechanic might want the same poster?

        Point taken, though. It’s a minefield….

        4+
      2. Unless it’s all gay mechanics’ garage, there will be at least one poster of a naked woman. Probably in the office.

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  3. We do need you, which doesn’t mean you can’t just Be There. You’re our Maypole and you give us ribbons that connect us to you and each other. We can dance around, laugh, share, but without the maypole and the ribbons you toss out to us, we’re just hopping around aimlessly.

    Not a great metaphor (lame, but it is almost spring and soon May here in the northern hemisphere – yay!) and better metaphors are welcome, but I’m trying to get into “tax prep” mode, which in the U.S. is a dog’s breakfast. (Just read T.R. Reid’s “A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System,” which is funny and a very easy read.)

    T.R. Reid also wrote “The Healing of America,” about the U.S. (so called) health care system (also a dog’s breakfast, but a deadly one). But the book is also very funny and readable! He went around the world with a bum shoulder to see how different health care systems would take care of him.)

    10+
  4. I’m pulling apart an old manuscript to repurpose it, which is different from pulling it apart to put it back together again.

    I’ve done it before, when I had an outline and a partial that wasn’t working, and eventually I figured out how it could work and where it had gone wrong, so I added in the previously-missing elements or changed things around, and then rewrote the whole thing, saving some elements and occasional scenes but tossing everything else. A couple of my Danger Cove Quilting Mysteries were like that, and I swore (lots) at the time that I would never do it again, thinking it was more work to fix it than to start from scratch.

    Except, of course, I think this time is an exception! I can do this! Putting together a proposal for my agent to shop for 2021 and beyond! There’s a reason why I never know what the current year is — a book I wrote in 2013, went to contract with a publisher in 2018, is being published in 2020!

    9+
  5. 1. You always say to listen to the Girls.

    2. I always liked the Hotels.

    3. You’ll figure it out, and it will be terrific. You always do, and it always is. 🙂

    7+
  6. Ok, you should probably just ignore this comment so you don’t have to bang your head against your desk yelling “argh!”…but

    I’m wondering why you feel you need to cut this much. You are able to be a bit freer now that it’s not going to SMP, right? For what it’s worth… as a reader, my feeling is: as long as it’s interesting, I’m all for a longer read. And I haven’t read anything in the drafts you’ve shared so far that was not interesting.

    For me as a reader, any pacing issues are more about the amount and quality of the information you’re revealing to me at one time rather than the number of words you’re using to do it.

    So, if you’re trying to keep it extra spare to hit a particular word count number that is now maybe a bit more arbitrary… it might even be a little counter to what you’re trying to do in terms of engaging the reader.

    I’ve personally found some of the later drafts more challenging as a reader because as you condense information, I need to keep re-reading to catch everything that’s going on. There’s so much more density in every sentence that I’m missing things and keep having to go back and figure out what I missed. (Although, that’s probably not helped by the fact that a lot of my reading these days happens while I’m trying to rock my sick baby back to sleep at 2am…)

    But as an example of what I mean, in the first sentence you’re giving me the time, the date, the weather, her occupation, the fact that it’s her birthday, her age, the location, the fact that she’s drunk, that she has a new partner, that she’s cold and that she hates coffee. That’s a lot in one swallow. And maybe it’s all really important enough that it needs to be in the first sentence. It is engaging to have a lot of information coming at me right from the start. And I understand you’re setting up the scene and building the world…

    But all that info can sometimes feel overwhelming when it’s packed in that tightly…So maybe it’s ok if we don’t know that it’s her birthday until a few sentences down when she and Mort have their exchange, or if we don’t learn Chloe that is her new partner for a sentence or two…even if it takes more words.

    For me, it’s less a question of the number of words, and more a question of the amount of information. So maybe looking at the number of new facts that you need the reader to walk away from that scene from is another way for you to look at the scene if you’re trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not, and where and when things need to be introduced.

    6+
    1. The word count thing is actually more crucial now that it’s going out wide. It’s overlong and I won’t have the publisher editing it; that is, my editor over the years climbed the ladder and now is actually mass market publisher at SMP so she can okay things most editors can’t. But beyond that, my agent says I’m overwriting, and as I go through here, I can see that there’s everything in here including the kitchen sink, a water filter, a garbage disposal, and about a year’s worth of dishes. It’s just Too Much Stuff. So it’ll be a better book, but I’m going to need more betas to see if it even makes sense after I cut it, for the reasons you just mentioned.

      12+
      1. You know, I just finished reading it during the Big Sick and while I thought the first chapter or two needed tightening, I really didn’t have anything else strike me as unnecessary or overwriting. Sorry. Not helpful at all, I realize.

        I have the opposite problem. I sent out the first draft of the current book to my first readers, already about 8,000 words short of where it needed to be. And they are just finding things for me to cut. Argh.

        3+
  7. Hey! I’ve from the beginning posts liked the Hotels. AND if I don’t find out their payoff, I’m going to be frustrated.

    You won’t like me if I’m frustrated. Things get evil fast.

    Keep the Hotels, please. (although perhaps I’m not your demographic. I believe some of your commenters had not previously encountered those storied hotels. I know all the names.)

    6+
    1. I think they’re going back in the beginning scenes. They were always in the book, but they weren’t really introduced as characters, and it just never seemed right. I don’t think anybody would care about them if they weren’t in that first scene.

      6+
      1. I remember that the Hotels felt odd because they didn’t see Nick do the flame thing. His trick — which impressed Vinnie, and I think the two demons — seemed very important. It felt strange that he could just turn his back and do something BIG and the Hotels didn’t notice at all.

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  8. I am not in the fix-it stage with my book, more writing, but can kinda relate.

    Other day hubby came into my writing room while I was working on said book and saw all the onscreen sticky notes scattered up on my monitor in various colours & sizes, and he laughed and said: “Wow. It’s like getting a look inside your writing brain.”

    And then he skulked away.

    And I thought, actually those are just the reminder notes, lol:)

    7+
  9. I have read all of your books over and over. I have enjoyed every single one. Your instincts are good trust them.
    You have this, I have no doubt that the finished book will be another book to add to my ever revolving reading list of only your novels.

    7+
  10. And in case it helps anyone’s writing process, easter products can be ordered directly from Russell Stover online. It certainly rocked my world to discover this. No one local had maple cream eggs!!!!!!!!!

    6+
    1. I love the raspberry cream. My husband used to go to the downtown Seattle store and buy me a pound of them. I had to make him stop because I ate them so fast. Oh and I love the molasses chews too.

      3+
  11. We’re losing the Grandma Keres stuff? Damn, I was looking forward to that. She’s the one that slipt though Death’s Doors and Thantos and she had sex, right?

    2+
    1. Actually, Lucy stayed here and Thanatos came over. Great Grandma Keres is their daughter. She’s 104.
      If I cut that scene, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to, I’ll post it here. It’s just her in bed talking to Nita and Nick.

      2+

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