>Red pen is fun!

>Well, many changes have been made to the novel. The main character isn’t Shadowhawk, anymore. I’ve renamed her Nightblade. Still hokey, but at least it’s not associated with a gay comic book character!

I’m up to chapter 6 in the red pen revisions, and chapter 4 in the actual rewriting. It’s still not where I’d like it to be, but it’s improving. The main problem I’m having is I can’t get away from “and”. In my effort to keep my narrative flowing (no staccato stops with too-short stops) my sentences have taken on a cumbersome rhythm with too many ands. Usually, the sentence is structured something like this:

“The character did this, and then turned around to to that.”

It’s not feeling natural, but I can’t quite figure out an alternative.

Hmm. Methinks I might post an excerpt to Forward Motion for some good, heavy critique.

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>Editing

>One of the most painful parts of the editing process is trimming the fat. YOu know what I mean; cutting out those awesome scenes that are only there because they’re awesome, removing the blatant info dumping. My opening page dropped three full paragraphs of a character who was ruminating on his love life. Completely irrelevant to the main character, who kills him in paragraph four. And it would be death to someone who decided to pick up that book in a store… or on an agent’s desk.

I’ve been struggling a bit with an old memory info dump. Basically, once you figure out who the assassin’s old flame is, I do this huge chapter-long flashback that outlines their last two days or so together. Nice stuff, good and intense at the end…

But ultimately, only a few parts are even relevant.

So, I’ve whipped out the axe. I’ve cut 90% of the scenes from that chapter, and the rest will be dropped here and there as flashbacks, but only where it actually adds something to the story. I cut out two pages of detailed description of her bedroom. THAT, I blame on shameless NaNoWriMo word padding. And I’m going to have to work on that, because I’m still not happy with the results.

Editing is difficult. I’ve had to cut some really good stuff that honestly just didn’t improve the storyline at all. There is one line that I’m quite glad to see go, though, and I’ll share it with you because I think I must have been in that weird place where you’re not really seeing what you write, but just writing. I certainly don’t remember doing it, and I refuse to claim responsibility.

“There was death in her visage, and it showed, even to those who knew nothing of her true profession.”

Eeew. Yeah. Editing is hard, but editing is good. I no doubt thought this was bloody brilliant when I first wrote it, but four years of collecting dust certainly changed my perspective on that.

I also cut this happy-fuzzy scene where she gets all buddy-buddy with one of the guards she has to train, complete with “You can come to me if you ever have a problem *hugs*” type dialogue. So out of character! So I switched it to her being her usual blunt, acidic self. Feels better.

The act of writing is such an organic, mystical thing for me. It’s me and the keyboard, and words flowing from my brain to my fingers. Holly Lisle says it far better than me: it’s an “almost-metaphysical fugue state where you’re watching events in the story happen and typing what you see.” Editing is far less intuitive, and requires thought, preparation, pens, more paper, and a lot of being honest with myself. It’s no wonder that I, like most writers, put it off. It’s work, real work.

>Chapter One

>Well, I’ve read over most of the story (it’s missing about 50 pages… something I’m rather annoyed about. It’s alright, I recall what happens, but it still annoys me.), and it’s got a good, solid base, and the two main characters don’t suck.

I’ve whipped out my purple and green pens , and have marked the first page all to hell.

I think I’m going to work this chapter by chapter. There’s a lot of infodumping, so I’m going to have to streamline that a good bit, and some stuff that comes right out of a bad Mary Sue fanfic. I DID write this four years ago, after all.

It’s salvageable, and I’m getting excited about the story all over again.

My basic Plot:

An assassin seeks to slay the man who destroyed her life, only to discover more dangerous quarry awaits. She stays her hand, and they work together to defeat a common enemy. She must face her demons… not only those that haunt her soul, but those who wear flesh and blood bodies.

It’s a story of redemption and facing the past.

Cliche? Perhaps. I think it will work, though. After all, if I refused to write anything cliche, I wouldn’t so much writing at all.

>1st 50 printed

>Only took about a minute on those industrial super printers at the school. I don’t have my printer hooked up to this computer yet (massive motherboard failure on the other comp… thank goodness for backup) and this one doesn’t have floppy access anyway, so I’m just printing out my rough draft on the school printers for now. Free that way, anyway. 😉

>From the dusty archives

>I’ve finally found the old 2002 NaNo (Shadowhawk’s Fire – isn’t that an awful title?) on disk. It’s incomplete, but more complete than the hard copy I have printed out. I still know what happens (I did write it, after all!) so I can reconstruct the missing pieces with little trouble. I would like to know where the old stuff IS.

I’ve uploaded the original word document to my Gmail, since for some ungodly reason, the PC I use at home has a slot for a floppy drive, but somehow LACKS said floppy drive.

I’ve also downloaded OpenOffice, because I refuse to pay $200 for Microsoft Office.

My first goal: GEt this beastie printed out (yay school computers… I can probably print out 10 or 20 pages a night in the labs at school for nothing) and break out the red pen. Then, start with a blank document, and start rewriting.

I think the best advice I’ve received so far for editing is to leave a project for a year before editing. It really gives you distance, and lets me see the holes that I couldn’t when it was still close, near and dear to my heart.

>Another roadblock on the road to authorship

>And it’s called Final Fantasy XII. Ouch. I promise, I’ll get back to writing soon! Heck, I have to finish my NaNo, because the deadline on the Lulu free copy thing is in January sometime. I haven’t given up on my blog, dear readers, and now that the Christmas madness is done, and my repetitive stress injury has healed, I’m planning on getting back on track January 1. Maybe 2, depending on the hangover.

My New Year’s resolution: to complete a novel and get it submitted. I’m not sure which one it will be; I think that Double Edged Sword may need a lot more work before it’s ready for the polishing stage (a LOT more work) while the previous project I worked on is starting to tickle me. It is completed, but needs some serious reworking. The majority of it was written in NaNo 2002, and later finished. It’s a story that I’ve liked for a while, and may be a little cliche in places (has the dreaded Obvious Romance that I hate so much), but the characters are very vivid, and it’s a little less difficult a deal than DES is. It also has a shitty working title, Shadowhawk’s Fire, which will be changed.

The more I think about it, the more I think I want to work with that. I just need to dig up the old disks. They do say that you should set a work aside for a while before editing it. Is four years enough? I need to label all of these posts before

Take that, Sean. 😉