Sunday, May 19, 2013

Revisions Begin

Ever since finishing the first draft of my latest novel, I've been taking it easy.  I've caught up on some reading, and I've been helping out a few friends with writing of their own, in addition to doing what I could for my new daughter.  However, it's time I got back to the whole writing professionally thing, and I've moved on by beginning to revise a novel I finished a year ago - Wrongful Death.
(What would you cut out of this?)
First of all, I've decided to keep the title.  I thought about going to something new when I discovered a Robert Dugoni novel of the same name, but I then found out Dugoni wasn't the only one who used it.  Since it's the strongest title I have, encompassing so much of what the book is about, I'm sticking with it.

In the past couple of days, I started the first revision.  Wrongful Death came in at 67,842 words, and based on my previous editing forays, I figured I'd be cutting at least 13,000 words out of it.  However, something interesting has become apparent while I edit - I'm writing much more efficiently.

What I mean by that is that there are fewer extraneous words in Wrongful Death than there were in either Salvation Day or Akeldama.  At first I thought that this was me simply being rusty at seeing extraneous words, so I went back through with a fine tooth comb.  That was when I found that I just wasn't using the extra adjectives and adverbs as much as I used to.

I'm wondering if this was a one time deal, or if I've really become more efficient.  While writing, I intentionally allow the words to flow freely and not try to edit as I put down my prose(it was maddening the few times I caught myself doing that).  However, it appears I've been subconsciously editing as I write and keeping the points short.  I like this development - it makes me feel like I'm growing as a writer - and I'm curious to see if the phenomenon continues with Schism.

I'm averaging four chapters a day on the first round, so I hope to be finished with the initial cut by this time next week.  At that point, Wrongful Death will go back into a drawer for at least another month so I can look at it with fresh eyes yet again.

The best thing about editing something a year after its completion - a year in which I haven't even looked at it - is that it feels like picking up a copy of an old book I used to enjoy and remembering why I liked it.  The story of Christian Gettis still fascinates me, and I'm getting a thrill finding the nuances in the novel I'd forgotten about.  Sure, some of this sounds very self-congratulatory, but I'm having fun.  As I've said, I write stories I enjoy and hope other people will come along for the ride.  It's nice to see I still like this one, and I think others will as well.

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