I am delighted to announce that my book is finished. Again. I know, I said that before. OK, I’ve said it twice, but I think it will stick this time. I am ready to shop this puppy. Again.
Mayhaps I should explain: a few months ago I finished the book and got it out to beta readers. Based on their feedback, I decided to tweak the ending.
That ended up being much harder than I was anticipating, and I ended up writing some 24,000 words for what ultimately became a 2,600 word tweak. Just imagine me at an old-fashioned typewriter hammering out page after page after page of story that went straight into the trash.
I’ve been working on that for weeks, and then I went through the manuscript again to trim it down to my goal of 120,000 words. Tonight I made the last edits I intend to make, at least until an agent or editor asks for changes
It’s been an interesting year in very many ways, but I decided to use Tax Day to look back at what’s most important. My hair.
Yeah, I know. I haven’t updated my blog in something like 5 months, and now I’m back talking about my hair. That’s how I roll. Besides, lookit:
A year ago, 6 months ago, and a week or so ago
in thirteen or so months, I’ve gone from metrosexual wannabe to a William Shakespeare impersonator, with a pitstop trying out for Beck’s band in between. I also stopped coloring my hair, so there’s that.
Things have been pretty busy in these parts (while I eagerly await feedback from more beta readers), which makes it a good time to write a Scattershot post.
First up is Doctor Who, and the 50th Anniversary episode (also the 799th episode) called “The Day of the Doctor.” It aired this past Saturday, and it was very cool. No spoilers outside of trailer-level stuff, but the gist of the episode is that the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) get all up in each other’s business. Crossed time streams ensue, and Jenna Coleman’s delightful smile is there to keep us happy.
If you didn’t watch it, look for it in rerun on BBC America here in the States. It’s also showing in 3D in some theaters. I haven’t seen that version, but Jeff Gamet did (earlier tonight), and he said it was pretty nifty.
Oh, and can I please have a spin-off of John Hurt as the War Doctor? Yes, please!
It’s weird. Really weird, but I don’t have anything that I can—or even should—do to my book, and that’s because I’ve sent it to a few beta readers. While I still have 1,000 more words to cut, I need to let it sit before I go through it for what is probably the 50th time.
And with that last pass, I was pretty pleased with it. I feel like it’s close, but as I mentioned last week, no one but my trusted critique partner has seen 70 or so percent of it, so now it’s time to find out what some other people think.
Until I hear back from them, there’s nothing I can do. I don’t want to make any changes, not even axing a few unnecessary words, because the betas might find a major problem or have some excellent comments and suggestions. I want to be able to consider their feedback working from the same manuscript they’re commenting on.
Like I said, it’s weird. For three years, there hasn’t been a single day when there wasn’t something I could work on. From writing it to editing it to refining it to trimming it down, there has always been something to do. Even when I thought I was finished two years ago, I was working on the second half of the story (what I thought then would be a second book).
I got yelled at on Twitter for not having updated my blog since…July. That was in October, and here it is November, so I might be doing this wrong.
Never you mind! Onwards and upwards! Storm the castle! Hip! Hip! Hooey! No time like the present, said Bryan. Never.
So what have I been doing with my time? Lots. And lots.
For one thing, I’ve been tink, tink, tinkering away at my manuscript. Back in July, I mentioned I was done, but had 35,000 words to cut. since then, I’ve added another 3,000 words in the process of rewriting and honing the ending, but I’ve cut a net of 36,300 words, leaving me at 121,699 words as of right now. If you remember, my goal is an even 120,000 words, or less.
I finished writing my novel last night. I should say that I finished writing it again, because technically I thought I finished it about a year ago. This time is different, though, because I finished what was originally going to be the second novel, which means the full story is complete for the first time.
Mason Truman. He has a fork.
There are caveats, of course. The last chapter is only in a first-and-a-half draft state, and the last two chapters haven’t faced the withering scrutiny of my critique partner, let alone my bank of awesome beta readers.
Also, it’s sitting at 155,000 words. That means I not only have a LOT of polishing to do, I have to cut out 35,000 damned words before I can start shopping it out again. In the SciFi realm, no agent will touch a first time author with a manuscript longer than 120,000 words—90,000-120,000 words is the range most will consider.
But, this is a big deal for me. I have learned a lotabout writing during the last two years, and the book I just completed is head and shoulders above the book I thought I finished a year ago.
It seems that I’m inching inexorably closer to that goal. I’ve rewritten the prologue and a completely new beginning to the novel. I’ve pored over the middle, cutting big chunks out of it out in the process, and am so near the end of the story I can taste it.
In fact, I’m 4-6 major scenes away from completing it. Of course, the closer I get to that ending, the slower the progress. I very much feel like the snail in the Monsters University trailer (starting at 40 seconds):
I imagine it’s part of the process of learning how to write a damned book, but I’ve been very interested to see that the closer I get to this (new) end, the more often I scrap scenes entirely and the more often I rewrite from scratch.
I am obsessed with this album. Utterly obsessed. Indigo Meadow by The Black Angels is one of the five best albums of the last ten years, and I can’t stop listening to it. I’ve had it for two weeks, and I’ve listened straight through it 14 times, and I’ve heard my favorite tune, “You’re Mine,” 23 times.
I’ve caught a few new shows of late that I’m really enjoying. I thought I’d mention them. You know, since The Game of Thrones can bite my ass. Yes, I’m still all cranky about that.
There are spoilers ahead, but I designed my writeups not to reveal more than you might learn in the opening minutes of each show.
This is a new show from the BBC; it airs on BBC America here in the States. The show stars Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, a young ne’er do well trying to sell a big brick of stolen cocaine so she can use the money to get her daughter back, run away, and start life anew somewhere else.
In writing, sometimes you just have to get back to basics. I’ve been banging my head against the wall for some time. It turns out that the answer to my problem was pretty simple. In fact, I posted it to my Instagram feed:
Courtesy of My New Dry Erase Board
Something Goes Wrong! Of course! That’s just what I needed. It seems so obvious now, but the truth is it took my friend and fellow writer Dmitri Del Castillo to help ferret it out. He’s great at that sort of thing.