I like it when my POV characters have to do two things at once. More is even better, but I’ll take two. Anything that makes life harder for them is good. In this first Liz book, I have a character who can’t be in town with Liz but has to be strong on the page, the client Liz is ghostwriting for, Anemone Patterson. Solution: the phone.
So I’m almost done cutting Act One and I’m realizing that although I’m taking a lot out, much remains. I know which scenes are flat, and I’d love to take those out, but they have to be there (so rewrites for those), but I cannot have a 45,000 word first act (or whatever it’s going to turn out to be). That means that somewhere between 25,000 words and 35,000 words, I have to find a turning point.
That seems really mechanical, I know, but it’s for a good reason: Continue reading
When I originally wrote the scenes at the wedding and in the hours after, Liz was wearing a purple bridesmaid’s dress. She didn’t like it, but she put it on and forgot about it, and I wrote the scenes with only a few references to what she was wearing, mostly comments from other people.
But then as I rewrote and focused, the story changed, and after the wedding, Lavender made Liz switch dresses with her (she had a good reason, I swear), so Liz is wearing a white silk wedding dress that’s a little too tight for her in the next four scenes. As I rewrote those scenes, I realized what a huge impact clothes can have on a character in specific and a story in general. Continue reading
I know some of you don’t read the comments so you missed me mugging an Argh Person. Then the comments after my mugging post seemed to imply that you were leery of commenting on the scene in the PDF pages. Can’t IMAGINE why. So this is to clarify, and if you’ve read the comments, it’s repetitive, so sorry about that. Also, I very much want to emphasize THIS IS NOT DIRECTED AT ANY ONE PERSON. It’s my thoughts on something that’s very, very common in both the writing community and in publishing, and I have very strong feelings about it, but I’m not mad at anybody. Actually, I’m grateful to the person who wrote the original comment because I think this is a good discussion. Also I’m swamped today and if it wasn’t for this post, I’d have scanned in the second scene. One look at a marked up manuscript may be interesting, but two is just depressing as hell. Most important: nobody should feel bad or guilty or anything else about this post. It’s not about you. It’s about me. Which is the way it should be (g). Continue reading
Yes, I know it’s past midnight and now it’s Day Nine. MY LAPTOP DIED. SHOW SOME RESPECT.
Here’s the first scene edit. Feel free to make mock:
My good laptop has died. I took it to the Genius Bar and tried to convince them it was only resting, but they assured me it was dead. Since the Genius Bar is hell and gone from here, I have been gone most of the day and that makes me cranky. I’d say, “You wouldn’t like me cranky,” but let’s face it, half the posts on Argh are because I’m cranky. So here’s what I’m cranky about in Liz today:
There are too damn many drunks in there. Continue reading
Or during sex. Forest Jane and Clever Cherry started a conversation in the comment thread a couple of posts back and I chipped in and said my characters don’t talk during sex. That’s not quite right, I think it’s more that they don’t talk about what they’re doing, or banter, or do cute dialogue, if what they have to say is so important that they’re going to verbalize in media res, it’s not going to be a play by play, it’s going to be about something bigger than the moment, like Phin trying to figure out Sophie’s repressed longings or Tilda and Davy at the end of Faking It, confessing madly while they make love because they can both finally tell the truth. But I think usually dialogue during a sex scene undercuts the intensity. Continue reading
So I’m cutting Liz, trying to finish up Act One by tonight so I can pass it on to Lani. I’ve divided the act into scene sequences, the way I did a couple of months ago, only this time I’m doing it to streamline the story, so I made bigger chunks: Continue reading
The realization that I actually had a lot more words than I thought was a little grim. I want this book finished and cutting fourteen thousand words is not going to hurry that along. So clearly I need to step back and look at those scene sequences again. But in the meantime, I only have two scenes to rewrite to get this act done and one is the lousy sex scene I’ve been avoiding for months. Continue reading
So I now have 43,000 words of rewritten Liz, although I still have to fix the scene at the door (make it Faye instead of Lavender), the dining room scene, and that godawful sex scene (I believe we discussed that here several months ago), and now I have another problem. This chunk is the first act. Unless I’m writing an epic 150,000 word novel, 43,000 words is too many before a major turning point. That’s not because there’s a magic number, it’s because 43,000 words is too damn many words to read before the story turns and picks up speed. This book was contracted to be 50,000 words, but that ship sailed awhile ago and Jen is fine with it being longer, but she’s not going to be fine with it being slow. So now I have to fix the damn pacing. Continue reading