Mr. Sensitive

August 17, 2012

Book War II Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:57

The read-through/markup phase of the campaign is complete.  I’ve also reviewed the summaries and created a definitive timeline of events; the latter gives me a degree of command and control I haven’t thus far had.  I want to say I didn’t create this master timeline (there are three, actually–one macro and two micro) because I didn’t have enough information, but…really I was just dragging my feet.  Making sure every character is the age I want with the past experience their present behaviors imply and shoehorning all of that into real time isn’t easy, and I didn’t really need to do it with the prior books I’ve written.  Verisimilitude is hard, y’all.

So that means I read the whole thing.  How is it?

Overall, not terrible.

Breaking it down, I’d say about 60% is serviceable-to-good.  Honestly, I think it’s a bad idea to go virtuoso on every line of every page of a 150,000-word novel–it’s overkill, and people don’t like being overkilled.  There’s a reason nobody actually reads Ulysses, and it’s called ‘maybe take your foot off the gas every now and then, Jimmy.’  Serviceable is as low as it should go, though; ugly prose is never necessary (except when ugliness itself is in order, but I digress).  20% of the draft is pretty darn good.  By ‘good,’ I mean to say only that it does what I meant it to do and sounds like I meant it to sound, not that it’s great writing by any objective standard.  I don’t know–or care–about objective standards, on account of they aren’t objective.  I really like the last chapter, so everyone else should get ready to be bored and/or confused!  60% decent plus 20% good leaves the 20% that is various flavors of crap.  Chapter 18 is a special mess unto itself; it hurts my feelings trying to read that one, because I’m just not making the point I’m trying to make.  Ugh.

Now, on to the rewrites.

I still plan to have the second draft complete by Halloween.  If I manage that, it will mean I took one full year to write the book, beginning to end.  If 10/31 begins to look unrealistic, I could push back as far as Stalin’s birthday, December 21.  The rewrites look daunting.  Many changes will be straightforward: I didn’t like how something sounded when I read it, I knew then and there how it should sound, and I re-wrote the passage longhand on my draft copy.  Nothing left to do there but make the change to the Word doc.  At the other extreme, there are passages I knew I hated–crossed out or NO-ed on my draft copy–but I didn’t have a better idea.  For those sections, I still have to get the better ideas I didn’t have before, and that will take however long it takes.  Separate from the rewrites to the draft, I have to compose five new vignette chapters.  Taken together, there’s still a lot left to do.  If Brinky wasn’t such an amenable baby, I’d be up against it for real.

Ha ha, I’m kidding.  He’s a terrible baby.  But he’ll never beat me–never.


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