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If you followed a link here from a comment I made on somebody's google blog, I would love to have you visit my blog, but this is no longer it. While I may occasionally post things here again once in a long while, virtually all my content will be at from here on out. If you were curious enough to come this far, why not give me one more click?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ever notice that your odometer doesn't change when you drive in reverse?

The rest of my darlings are safe . . . I'm done cutting for now.

I've gone from 120,084 words to 84,210, for a decrease of 35,874 words. Of course, the word count will continue to change as I continue to revise, but this is a good point to stop and take stock.

It took me about six months to write 120,000 words. It took four or five months to cut 35,000. The implication would seem to be that cutting is a lot harder than creating. I'll tell you what--it's a hell of a lot less fun. What's frustrating is that everyone focuses on how many words you've written as a way of measuring your accomplishment. Clarke said you had, what, 500,000 words of crap in you? What about the words you excise--don't those count toward your growth?A lot of people have a hard time grasping that I've been productive at all for the last five months, since my word count hasn't increased.

On the other hand, it really is a lot better now. So much of the stuff I cut was just crap. Stuff that, in hindsight, I'm not entirely sure why I wrote in the first place. Details, details, details. I am a detail-oriented person, but one thing I've learned is the difference between the telling detail and overwhelming the reader with minutae. Writing clichés be damned: sometimes you need to tell and not show.

I don't imagine I'm done by any stretch, but I'm finally down to a wordcount that is not totally unreasonable for YA, and that's something to celebrate.

Tomorrow, I hope to polish off my synopsis. I've got the bones of it done, but right now it's just a dry plot summary. I need to have it capture the feel of the book. After that, I'll focus on the material that agents are going to want to see in their partials. First thirty pages, first three chapters, whatever. I've got a week off coming up, so I should be in good shape to get that done. I'll also be trolling for beta readers, hopefully in the next week or so.


rebecca said...

What differentiates a good writer from a bad writer is in the revision process: a good writer does not fall in love with his words, hence, revision is something that is not pleasant but not impossible either. I've met many "writers" that refuse to excise the inconsequential because they feel they own those words, that story, those characters. Yet, the truth is that we own nothing and are at the mercy of characters that are sometimes fickle and refuse to be pigeonholed or labeled. They want change and as writers we must humor them otherwise the story fails. And what does this entail sometimes? Many, many lovely, beautiful, descriptive, original ideas and words down the toilet!

I worked on a short story last year that during revision
process it kept changing drastically and full, beautiful, lovely, descriptive paragraphs and characters I had loved went out the window never to be seen again. I was ruthless but the end result was worth it. And so it is with all stories.
Tough, huh? That we spend so much time and energy on constructing something solid only to have to de-construct it
in the end.

I'm jealous :) of your ability to write a book. It is something
I am still in the process of learning. 30 pages for me is tough; 250 pages? I can't imagine!

This is wonderful and the very best of luck to you and may all your hard work and dedication pay off. I am sincerely happy for your accomplishment because I know the road there is not for the faint of heart.a

Joe Iriarte said...

Thank you--and thanks for dropping by! :)