Sunday, December 6, 2009

On Maintaining Momentum

One thing I'm finding out is that reading and revising on a compressed timeframe can be a very valuable thing.

There's this series of chapters in the first half of the book that take place in a town called Conarzon. I have been revising these chapters all weekend, and they are the chapters that have always given me the most trouble. They are also the chapters during which Awesome Agent Who Requested My Full Twice could not make it through. Kristy also warned me that there were momentum problems here, and although I tightened it up quite a bit, I never saw this particular problem until this reading. I wasn't reading it quickly enough -- like a reader would, not a revising author. Right now, I'm devoting major back-to-back hours to reading and revising, and I was humming right along, snipping here, tightening here, down to about 13,000 words from over 115,000.

And then I got to a scene where it becomes evident that it was time for Abriel to leave. As a reader, I was all set up that it was time for her to go, and for the next part of the story to take place.

Except she couldn't leave. There was this dangerous chimera loose, and before she can travel, a hunting party must find it and kill it. Which takes another three chapters.As a reader, this would frustrate me. I would SO want Abriel (and the plot) to move on. Problem is, as a writer, I really like the actual chimera hunt.

So I cut the 6000 words that included the chimera hunt, the aftermath and her leavetaking, and I slowly spliced the leavetaking back in. Abriel must now deal with the chimera on her way back home. She only has one companion, and they are both new to the sword.

Much better, I think! Now, I'm off to write that scene. As it stands now, I have revised almost 44,000 words out of 111,000.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Single-Minded Focus

As I hinted in the comment thread of the previous post, I have a hot query lead which means I need to finish this revision of Forging a Legend pretty close to now. So I have suspended blogging at Debuts & Reviews for the weekend in the hopes to get the most done possible.

I have a question for you. What is "literary" fiction? I'm trying to determine if Forging a Legend qualifies. Justin Allen's Slaves of the Shinar is often spoken of as "literary" and I'm thinking that the tone of his novel isn't all that different from mine. However, I'm not sure I want to qualify Forging a Legend as literary if it holds the novel up to a standard that will make it even more difficult to get published.

So I'll leave you with that question while I get my nose back in my book. I'd love to hear what you think.