Sailors on the Sea

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Twenty Percent Completed

Well, it's about 3:00 a.m. and I have just completed my initial reduction edit of Chapter Four. As I suspected, I didn't cut nearly so much here as in previous chapters. There was so much going on in this chapter which is pertinent to what takes place later, both in this book and in sequels.

I enhanced my Excel document. The Chapter Titles are there (albeit abbreviated in some cases), and I included the number of pages each chapter did/is using.
Chapter Five is one of the shorter chapters, so I'm not sure how much cutting I will be able to make here. In it, the reader learns that Abrin has his secretive and sneaky side, and that he isn't above 'bending the rules', or circumventing them entirely. My concern here is that, after cutting, I won't have enough information to make a chapter. I guess I'll see.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Swinging a Free Axe

Flames of Hatred has been reduced by 10,000-words now, and I'm still in Chapter Four.

It's kind of interesting to look at the rate of deletion. Either I got sloppier as I wrote, or I'm becoming more fanatical in my cutting. This is going to take a good read when I'm finished to make sure I haven't cut the heart out.

If I can maintain this pace I should be able to finish before the end of the year. Realistically, it could be January before I'm done.

The bold lavender at the top left shows the average number of words I need to cut in each chapter in order to reduce the book by 100,000-words. The bold green shows the number of chapters I have worked on. The bold red shows the estimated reduction based on what I have already cut.

Chapter Four may prove to be difficult. I introduce Tavaar in this chapter. She only plays a small part at this time, but later she becomes significant. I have to be careful about what I cut.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Progress Report

I have been progressing well over the past few days. I am in Chapter Three and have already dropped over 6,800 words. According to the formula I set up in Excel, at this rate I should easily reduce the novel down to 154,000-words. That is still too much for a first novel (that is what I am reading, anyway), but it only leaves about 30 or 40 thousand words to cut instead of 100 thousand.

I'm thinking I may not need to significantly reduce the novel size again when I am done with this go through. Not only am I finding redundancy, but I am also dropping some of the sub-plots. I don't like doing that, but the story must be reduced. I suppose if I cut enough out I might have the makings for another storyline, which follows a separate thread from Madatar's battle with Shatahar and Zenophone. Whatever. For now, things are progressing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A New Perspective

I am currently in the process of reading someone else's New Beginning to their story posted on the Evil Editor's blog (New Beginning 575 if you're interested) and the comments EE's Minions have made. I haven't finished reading all of the comments, but I'm thinking the advice they are giving the author of NB-575 may work for me. What they are complaining about is redundancy. Considering my style, skill (whatever) it is quite likely Flames of Hatred (at least one of them hates that title by the way) suffers similarily.

What I think I will do is to simply read Flames of Hatred and track that information being given in each paragraph. This may be the wrong way to go about attempting a major rewrite wherein the purpose is to reduce word length without changing the story, but it's something to try. I've never rewritten simply to reduce/enlarge word length. Nearly always my editing and rewriting does reduce word count, but that is not by design. My editing consists of looking for things which do not contribute to the story. True, redundancy does not contribute, but sometimes when looking at trees one fails to notice the forest. The comments on NB-575 have awakened me to the evils of redundancy.

So, today I don't feel like giving up. Thank to Evil Editor and his Minions, I have a plan. I'll be excited about it until it fails me, or I achieve success. May God grant me success. I would like to start winning for a change.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Feel Like Giving Up

It has been roughly four weeks since I learned I have to reduce Flames of Hatred by 100,000 words. I tried right off to do it, but had to abandon it. I tried again, and then again. After four weeks I have cut less than 200 words from the novel. I don't know that I know how to do it. Even if I do, I don't know that I have the energy.

I am not able to decide what to keep and what to remove. The story of Swords of Fire is so damn complex now. Every thread runs thick through each story. Like ripples in a pond after stones have been dropped to disturb the quiet surface it is almost impossible to tell which stone caused which ripple. They collide with each other and become something new.

Or is it just dismemberment? Remove the flesh which holds the organs in place and everything falls away to leave a skeleton. I suppose skeletons have their points of interest, and they can reveal their own stories - given difficult analysis. But a skeleton has no life. The story is perhaps interesting, but not endearing. That's not what I want to write.

It is hard for me to believe my book will ever be published. Emotionally, I feel like calling it a day. It's been more than three decades. My feelings are that this will never happen. I have wasted my life on a dream of smoke which dissipates above my head. I never made it to the clouds. I have nothing to show for what I am. Damn, I hate being a failure. That is the real story of my life. I've never succeeded at anything. And the things I want most have remained furthest from my grasp. I am brilliantly stupid. I hate that.

And do you know what the tragic thing is? I'll keep trying. What else is there to do? Hope wanes, but I guess it never dies. But I don't know what to do. I really don't. Damn it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Work Has Begun

I have begun (in earnest) the tedious task of re-reading Flames of Hatred. While I am reading, I take away. I'm still in chapter one, so I haven't come to any real crossroad, but they are ahead. How much must I take away? Will it still be a story I enjoy? It won't be story I wrote.

A Task Nearing Completion

I made a big push this past weekend and completed the latest - and longest - portion of housing assignments. Now, all 6,700+ people have been assigned housing for every year of their life. The next task? Move it into the database. I spent four months on this most recent push. I'm hoping to complete the next task by Thanksgiving.


A Tentative Schedule

Monday - Progress Report
Where am I with regard to the Current Book

Tuesday - Thoughts About Writing
I was going to be profound, but let's be real

Wednesday - What Am I Learning
What can I take from what I am doing

Thursday - Work Sent Out For Review
Respondes to my submissions

Friday - Other Works of Fantasy
Some of my other fantasy writing

Saturday - The Impact of Music
How music has influenced what I write

Sunday - Venting
My 'morbid' time. A safe compromise, I think