Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jordan, Good; Queries, Bad

If editing is my favorite part of the writing process, writing queries is my least favorite. It's mindbogglingly difficult to simmer down 430 pages into two to three paragraphs of energized, informative, colorful text.

Case in point, I just spent two and a half hours writing queries for Eva. I created two solid queries, both which need refinement. Total word count: 556 words. It's a slow, deliberate process.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Just Update

After 17.5 hours of edits on Conventional Demon, I think this book is as polished as it's going to get. Bring on the submissions, Harper Voyager. I'm ready.

I did a lot of subtle trimming this round. A sentence removed here, a paragraph there, a few words here and there. Nothing major. I don't think there's anything major left. I've been through this book more than a dozen times. More than 20 times. I've lost count. The fact that I'm calling this "Draft 6" reflects only the number of times I've done major rewrites.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's Just Out of Control

After my last post, I wanted to see how often I used—ah, overused—the words just, simply, and definitely.

The results are telling:

Conventional Demon: Total Word Count 94,000
  • Simply: 22 times
  • Definitely: 40 times
  • Just: 244 times
Two hundred forty-four times! That's insane.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends Write Titles While on NyQuil

Eva Parker and the Elephant of Doom (Source)
After nine blissful months since my last bout with ill health, I succumbed this weekend to my husband's cold. While my body focused on important things like white blood cells and mucus and consuming gallons of liquid and handfuls of vitamin C, I was left in charge of all forms of passive entertainment. In a snot-induced stupor, I attempted to sit through Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. Even sick, even drugged on Sudafed, I couldn't handle the bad character development, terrible plot shifts, and faulty camera angles that interrupted story flow. Fortunately, I was able to wash away the bad taste of Michael Bay's trash with reruns of How I Met Your Mother and The IT Crowd, and new episodes of some of my favorite shows, like White Collar, Warehouse 13, and Downton Abbey.

There is, however, a finite number of days and hours my muse will be hampered by sickness. On the second day, when I was too exhausted from sitting to remain upright, unable to regulate my body temperature long enough to fall asleep, and NyQuil was failing to meet all its promises, I grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote down all the titles for Eva I could think of.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hello, World, Meet Eva

Psst! Edits are done!
Edits are done! Victory laps have yet to be made (my brain is still a little too mushy for wholehearted celebration). It's statistic time!

Because so much of writing a novel is invisible to all but the author (and the people who live with her), I really enjoy when I have quantitative stats.


I'm notorious for overwriting, which means each edit was as much about trimming as it was about refining the story.
  • Draft 1 = 124,615 words / 444 pages
  • Draft 2 = 120,887 words / 431 pages
  • Draft 3 = 119,771 words / 427 pages

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Massaging a Storyline

What replotting looks like inside my head.

I finished the second round of edits on Eva last night. I celebrated for a few minutes, then got to work on the scientist storyline problem. I needed to create some major proof to satisfy some very demanding scientific research companies, and the story as it stood didn't come close to making those companies happy.

But that was okay. I had a solution. It was typed out in outline form over a month ago after the first read, when I recognized the flaw in the story's logic. It was a great solution. In fact, it was so amazing that modern science hasn't even caught up with it. Which meant, sadly, it was no good for this novel. I'm not writing a futuristic sci-fi. My character has already performed a spectacular scientific feat. To have her make two amazing scientific leaps in one novel was one too many.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's This Nonfiction Idea Doing in Here?

How I visualize my queue of story ideas.
I had an idea last night for a nonfiction book.

Yep. Nonfiction. Technically, this idea has been pinging around my head for the last five or so years. It hasn't quietly gone away, nor has it worked its way into any fiction novels. It has persisted. And last night, it was done with being quiet and waiting its turn in the queue of story ideas.

As I tried to fall asleep, it paraded back and forth, shouting out ideas for layout designs, cover , interior art, and, most importantly, content.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Over Halfway Done

Photo courtesy of Calvin Merry
All has been quiet on the blog front for far too long. Unfortunately, with editing, there's not a lot of excitement. At least, not for anyone other than me. I get excited when a scene comes together or when I find something I wrote funny. The best is when I find a line that I love and I'm so pleased I wrote it.

Here's one: