Home Stretch

Posted: December 10th, 2010 under Craft, the writing life.
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Pruning, re-ordering, and now gap-filling…chapters have numbers now, and are in what I believe (!) is the correct order, all 33 of them.    Some are much longer than others, and some of the very VERY long ones may be split.    Very short ones may be combined (if same POV and adjacent.)

Deep combing of the first 3/4  and some serious cuts had the desired effect–think of grooming a big dog (or a horse in winter coat) with long, curly, unkempt coat…a dog that’s been running out in the woods and has become a large hairy blob of  tangles, burs, mud-clumps, and so on–so you can barely tell that one end has a tail and the other end a nose (as for ears and eyes-they’re invisible.)    Grooming, including clipping,  restores the shape and identity, and once you’ve got the eyes and ears and basic body parts identifiable, and all the messes either combed out or cut off, then what else needs to be done is obvious.

With the exception of the inevitable stupids (sentences that make the writer roll her eyes when she reads them again)  all the cuts are stored to see if they might make side-stories later.   Arvid might.    One of the squires might.

The three alpha readers currently dealing with the daily changes are increasingly happy with the story and encourage me by saying that yes, it’s rollicking along in true story fashion.   Even the tear-inducing parts.    It’s changing every hour or so as the holes fill in, and I check to be sure that all the mortises and tenons line up, all the wiring and plumbing are hooked up the right way, the right outlets are on the right circuits, and the fixtures that should have both hot and cold do…and not two hots or two colds.

Every character in every scene needs both physical and emotional reasons for being there, and for doing & saying what he/she does and says throughout the scene.    The shape of the scene, the actions and reactions and the arc that makes, have to connect to the previous and subsequent scenes…sometimes across space/time transitions (so that the emotional resonance of one chapter  sets up an attitude for the next chapter even though that’s somewhere else with different characters.)    In general, no character arrives in, and exits, a scene in the same state…and if that does happen, it’s because the character is actively resisting the change a scene tries to make.    That change can be physical or emotional (or often both.)

The fill-ins are a source of new ideas, which means (inevitably) the potential for new and exciting mistakes.  Some have already been made, recognized, and fixed.

I really need to get to bed by 1 am, though, so I’d better get back to the scene in progress.    I’m consuming chocolate at the end-of-book rate, which is easily 3-4 times as much as I usually eat in the same period of time.


  • Comment by Jill — December 10, 2010 @ 2:56 pm


    (Pulling out my pom-poms and megaphone… or pennants and trumpet – whatever you prefer.) Yay yay yay!!! You can do it! We can’t wait to enjoy your world! Go! Go! Go! (But rest too, sometimes, as needed.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — December 11, 2010 @ 12:24 am


    Thanks, Jill. Rest will be welcome once I turn this thing in to the editor.

  • Comment by Vikki W — December 11, 2010 @ 1:02 am


    I am so excited about another book!!! I just finished re-reading Deed and am anxiously waiting for Kings of the North to come out. As for chocolate consumption, this is a great time of year for a diverse and abundant selection. Enjoy!

  • Comment by elizabeth — December 13, 2010 @ 12:23 pm


    Not worth another post yet, but two more fill-in scenes completed, and another longish existing scene deep-combed. Wordage still going up despite cuts.

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