And It’s Done

Posted: October 5th, 2023 under Craft, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
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New beginning….substantial changes in the LONG middle that have improved the “pull-through”….and new ending that is WAY better.

It’s going in when I can get my otherwise argumentative email non-partners (Thunderbird and Earthlink) to handshake again.

The final bit was ripping 2000 words out of the ending (you will not miss them!)   (And some of them will be in Horngard II anyway, near the front, where they fit better.)   So what did I learn in the course of this particular round of revision?

Back to basics.  Character’s central.  Scenes go slack when they’re not from a character’s POV, when they’re not infused with that character’s motivation, emotions, sensations.   Several-many times the temptation to go with the easy narrative regained momentum when I recognized where I’d fallen out of POV and got back into it.   Strong secondary and minor characters are fine (good, even essential)  but keep the main set of characters in focus as much as possible.  But when giving a secondary/minor’s action/POV, give it full measure of intensity.   In revision, look for those places where POV is weakened by straight narration in a neutral or authorial voice.

When looking at the levels of tension (which will vary through any long story and that’s fine) look at *how* the tension is lowered as it drops and under what conditions.  Vary the duration, rate of change, duration of new level, characters’ perception of reasons for the change (not just the writer’s sense that “this needs to relax/tighten up here.’)  Do not end every scene with a drop in tension or intensity of the plot.  Especially watch chapter endings and even more the book ending for long, drawn-out relaxations that are actually the tired writer calming themselves down so they can sleep.

All the usual style things I learned way, WAY back apply.    Simplifying a sentence by changing a participle to simple past (“He was thinking” to “He thought”)  both saves words and adds action.

Real World Intrudes:  It’s raining and the north barn door is up (was hot and stuffy this afternoon) .  It’s raining hard.   There’s some thunder.  It’s  almost 2 am.  I am not going out to the barn NOW.   I’m going to bed.


  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — October 5, 2023 @ 6:36 am


    Wow – so there is hope that there will be a new book to slaver over.

    I follow some other authors and when the people complain – ” when is the next book coming out” – I post that writing, and especially good writing, is really hard work. So I salute you for persisting.

    Get some good sleep.

  • Comment by Michele — October 5, 2023 @ 7:50 am


    I guess so excited whenever I see a blog post from you. And with each one we get closer to Horngard I.
    And RAIN!

  • Comment by Jace — October 5, 2023 @ 3:11 pm


    Hooray for rain.

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