Friday, October 7, 2016

Complaints from the Word Lathe

I've been receiving a succession of good news lately the best of which is that NON-PARALLEL UNIVERSES, a collection of my twenty favorite published stories from the last ten years (as of 2015) will shortly be available. With five other accepted stories in the pipeline everyone should see a lot of Bud Sparhawk fiction during the next six months.

Meanwhile, back on the forge where I am hammering on one of the unfinished novels, work is apace.  In the last week I've managed to bring its length to a mere 115,000 words, down from 150,000.
Such a severe reduction has not been trifling.  I had to cut one subplot, combine conversations, and compress twenty-seven chapters into nineteen somewhat longer ones ( the 20th chapter remains to be written.)  The sequence of events had to be reordered, and some characters were replaced, their actions and dialogue performed by others.  There are still, by my reckoning, a potential twenty to twenty-five thousand words to be trimmed. Whether this requires eliminating yet another subplot, silencing a particularly garrulous principal, or further trimming descriptive world building material of little consequence to the main plot remains to be determined.

There's a certain amount of  pain when cutting huge swathes of words, words that expressed ideas that were almost immediately reconsidered for better phrasing, a more precise word, or a complete reordering of sentence sequence.  None of these were trivial or random narrative, but instead were  the result of hours of  hard work and often anguish.  To cut them meant erasing hours or days of effort and forever dooming them to oblivion. It is not easy, especially when I am coming from the short story perspective where every fucking word has a huge impact and economy of phrasing is paramount.  Perhaps some novelists edit with ease, but such is not the case for me, alas.

The upshot is that NaNoWriMo is upon me and, rather than type another fifty thousand stream-of-concious, unedited, and poorly considered words, I will endeavor to use that time to torture this novel into final form.

Then all I have to do is find a market.


1 comment:

Thanks for reading my blog!