In 6 hours, my feet will no longer hug the earth as I wend my way east to destiny.
Or Columbus, Ohio. The two are often confused, though I must confess that this trip will be somewhat interesting for me. I’ve been attending industry conventions in that city for well over a decade, but this will be the first one I attend purely as a visiting Author.
More to the point, this will also be the first convention I attend in Columbus where I’m not winning, sponsoring, or accepting any awards. This is a new thing for me, and a situation I hope will not continue.
I take with me a newly revised novel, once again ready to shop around and be nearly as impressive as my manly locks and bushy beard. Perhaps the book has more legs than that, though I’ve managed to cut out a good 9% of it on this pass, including an opening section consisting of the first words ever written on this project, more years ago than I care to count.
Why do I mention this? Because some of you were kind enough to read it and give much needed, and in some cases, very usefully brutal feedback. I’m also a far better writer than I was two years ago, (or ten, for that matter), and some things about the book no longer made me happy. There was too much stuff going on “then,” and not enough “Now.” Both have their place, even within this particular genre. But one simple exercise (just done oh-so-scientifically on my machine) showed me how well I was able to turn off my editor while writing, and how much the book suffered for it.
And I am a very good editor.
I did a search for the words “had” and “been” in the text. Those of you struggling to find a voice for your piece may recognize these words. I, for one, had been very happy with the previous draft, and somewhat disappointed the editor who had been interested in it never responded, though it had only been a year gone when I realized the horrible mistake of
Seriously, Don’t do it. You especially should not discover that in revising the text, instances of Had and Been drop from 1448 and 271 to 507 and 164 respectively.
In a 108K manuscript, that’s death. I’m somewhat upset it didn’t drop further, but there are specific instances where the words are necessary to maintain the feel I want.
This streamlined, 100K masterpiece for the ages should do the trick. I hope so anyway, since I’ve already written its sequels.
Poorly, no doubt. But that’s the fun of being a writer, yah?