Chazho pounds forward...

Chapter 34 done. 4,267 words chopped down to 3,261 -- yep, this book is losing the equivalent of an entire short novel in verbiage and all the better for it!

On a darker note, last night was the night for bloopers and I was careless enough to seriously impose on a very close friend. She knows who she is, I apologized privately -- and apologize again. I feel so stupid. I'm never that inconsiderate. I don't *do* things like that, but I left my brain in my socks in an excess of enthusiasm.

Maybe it's time to catch my breath and get my balance. The holidays are usually jittery for me, though this year's are a lot better than most. I *might* be a little wound up over this submission. It's the big leap. I've been working toward this all my life and I've been hurtling over obstacles that aren't there while tripping over real ones that get me every time -- it's a bit of a trip reevaluating my limits. This is stress. That's all it is. I've dealt with stress before and I've gotten better at it over time.

I don't like it when I screw up. Well, I didn't spend all these years beating back toxic perfectionism to give in to it now, and I can put things into proportion. I did sort things out as best as possible and managed to lighten it up somewhat, and it's a lot better to pull myself together than beat myself. I had a slow start last night on this chapter after having gone off on a mad tangent.

Another good friend sent me a link for www.hisnibs.com -- a wonderful website with very reasonably priced fountain pens! I finally paid myself back for my 2001 rejection slip dollars and spent them happily on the Hero 330 Dragon and Phoenix pen, a fine point aluminum barrel fountain pen that uses bottled ink. I'm starting to collect fountain pens. They're neat. They always meant something wonderful to me... and this one is my reward for finishing Chazho. Ordered in advance, it should arrive right around the point I'm banging in the last edits on Chapter 44. If it's early, I won't open the package till I finish that file, do the last wordcount and pop all those chapters into Word for formatting.

That's so cool.

This is the big one. I'm doing it step by step and it's going to get done one day at a time. I've got a lot of momentum now and I am still immersed. This last chapter came out great. I tore up the mystical psychic tug of war to rescue the possessed guy, who had convulsions when the baddie got evicted, injured my hero severely, got in some neat alien medicine at the end and managed to get all that clear without too much explication! It was fun! Lots of action and magic all in the same chapter, blood on the floor, writing's good. Life's good.

Happy holidays, everyone! Onward!

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Three-Quarters Milestone...

What I wanted to learn from this rewrite, I'm getting it. I'm finally getting a feel for what to put in if I need to pad something to length, and what to take out if I'm trimming to length-- so that either way the piece is improved.

From the time I was a kid, I considered that as one of the primary writing skills. Not the "rewrite for quality" but the dirt gritty chainsaw job I am doing on this book. It needed a quality edit. I'm a lot better than I was when I wrote it, duh.

But it also needed a length edit when it weighed in at 195,000 words. I would NOT be surprised to find out that an equally good New Author got into the queue ahead of me because his or her book fit the production slot. Perfectly. It is an evolutionary advantage.

It's an old one because Gordy Dickson and Leigh Brackett and all those Old Pros that mentored me as a 20 year old following them at cons said so and did it routinely without making a literati fuss about it. The "craftsman" attitude I have to this day came from them and it's shared by Forward Motion, so much.

If you're a contractor and someone says "I want a three bedroom house, a master bedroom and a kids room and a guest room" you don't go making it a four bedroom cause it's prettier unless you're Frank Lloyd Wright, who basically told the people who bought his buildings what furniture to buy and where to put it and how to live.

Versus someone like the builders of Victorian houses, who separated the toilet from the bathtub in different rooms, maximizing the use of rather limited plumbing so that no one danced outside the door while someone else bathed. People reread for comfort. They know the gist of the story and want to rediscover the details, go back somewhere they liked and be reminded of something that meant a lot to them. I want my books to be good rereads. I am finding out in this rewrite that Chazho is still just as exciting to me on the rewrite as it was when I didn't know how it ended or what was in the next chapter. That's a good feeling.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (Race me, Qufur!)


Insane Goals Dept...

Chapter 32 is finished, losing 1,001 words. I'm sticking to Word Watchers and watching the flab peel off of what's turning into what I thought it was when I wrote it - - a contemporary fantasy with a thriller's pace and a whipsaw plot that just doesn't quit. It now reads more like the thriller. The elbow room epic fantasy writers take with passive language and poetic constructions is dropping out -- but I'm not killing any detail with it. Nuh-huh. If anything I'm adding description with nouns and verbs. Maybe in its own way it's becoming *more* poetic... in the sense that poetry is concise and conveys a lot of layered meanings.

Even my characters' good lines are sharpening up.

Nine days to go in December. Twelve chapters left to edit on this pass and I was doing about a chapter a night steadily. Can I do it?

I might as well try... to finish this pass on the Chazho Rewrite during 2001. It'll get another line edit before I ship it. I might even lose a few more words in the line edit -- even a little could help, because this book is a big hefty monster, a good long read even after the edits. When I wrote the Piarra Series, I overestimated the word count of a print page by about double. I thought it was about 500 words a page -- not 250 or so.

Now I know. Now my newer novels come in at the size I declare when I start. They should, I've had 32 novels to practice writing to length with. But the rewrites in 2003 are going to be giants losing weight, and sometimes going through mitosis if I feel it would benefit from "cut and then detail" more than just throwing out half of it.


I'm gonna do this thing.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (And my friend Qufur! My tethered catnip toy beat him up tonight, he tried to attack it and it threw him. He's just not a master of Cat Fu like I am...)