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Archive for November 19th, 2007

Progress Report, in which I compare myself to Alexander the Great

Managed to get through another fifty pages of the Petra rewrite, so I’m still on schedule.

I believe I’m getting into the swing of the rewrite now.  In addition to re-reading the next chapter before working on it, I’ve taken to making notes on it–simply describing what happens in each scene.  This serves a couple of purposes:  first, it’s part of that “getting acquainted” process I discussed last week.  I don’t really outline, but with my previous two novels, I made little laundry lists of the events in each chapter.  I didn’t do that with Petra.  So now I’m doing it after the fact.  This helps give me a “thousand foot” view of the novel, a bit of perspective.

Secondly, it gives me an opportunity to ask myself why each scene is necessary, exactly how each one advances the story.  And if I can’t come up with a good enough answer, then I obviously have a problem.

It’s amazing to me how many of those problems can be solved the same way Alexander the Great solved the Gordian Knot . . . well, except maybe without the sword.  Deletion is now the first thing I try when I’m up against a difficult passage.  I have a separate document for any excised bits I might want to use later, so it’s become remarkably easy for me to cut stuff.  And a surprising amount of the time, that does the trick.

The holidays are looming, with all its attendant challenges to my schedule.  Sure, I have a good time with family and friends, as I hope you do, but still . . . you know how it is.

Write Club updates:

“What Really Happened That Night” has advanced to the second stage of consideration at Neo-opsis.  Said Assistant Editor Stephanie Ann Johanson, “You’ve made me cry again.”  Cool.

Sheila Williams at Asimov’s said that “Gone Black” was “very well done,” but she has a lot of stories on that subject at the moment.  She also said, “I very much look forward to seeing something new from you, though.”  Response time, about a month.

Moving on . . .