Sunday, March 16, 2008

Busy as a Beaver

It's been a busy month (writing-wise), so thought I'd post an update--this is meant to be my editing journal, after all.

I'm still editing my way through Kindred/Take 2, and feeling encouraged by how much I've been able to cut out the past few days, just weeding through my wordy prose. Man, do I ever have the tendency to overwrite. I'm working through a section that was written nearly four years ago, and happy to think I've grown some, as a writer. Or at any rate, enough time has passed since the writing of this bit for me to see the forest for the trees. There's a lot of trees. I'm pruning and thinning and clearing out that messy undergrowth.

I'm also debating about cutting one particular chapter altogether. Not sure it adds enough to the forward movement of the story to warrant the space it's taking up. I'll decide tomorrow whether or not it stays or goes. If it goes I'll parcel the necessary bits of information out among a few other scenes.

Two of my beta readers, Joan and Lauri, have requested I send Kindred to them in 50,000 word chunks, as I get them edited. I'm looking forward to their feedback (they are both fellow writers whose knowledge and instincts I trust), and I'm a little nervous too. The first chunk should go out by the end of the week, depending on how much extra work this current chapter-cutting debate causes.

I'm also reading Donald Maass's book WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL (subtitled: Insider advice for taking your fiction to the next level). Sounds exactly what I need. I've heard much good about "the Donald" from those who know him or have sat through his classes at writers conferences, and figured it was time for me to give his book a read. If I glean one insight--just one--from his book that makes Kindred a leaner, cleaner, better-told story, I'll be a happy camper.

Who knows? Maybe I'll find two or three... or ten insights. I'm hopeful!

Went for a hike today after church, with Brian and Hiero. 7 miles around a lake. I'm beat and sore but feeling great for getting out of doors. I need that, once a week. It's part of my Sabbath. I don't mind being home alone in front of a computer five-six days a week. I seem particularly suited for the life. I crave solitude. But if I don't have one day in seven that's the complete antithesis of my work-a-day life, I suffer for it.

A cold but sunny day. Spring is flirting with southern Oregon.

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