Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The (next) end is in sight!

I’m kind of thinking I can finish the entire first clean-up and cut of the manuscript by Friday. Probably. Certainly by Monday even if things go slower than I expect.

I’m going straight through from top to bottom right now, editing and cutting as I go, trying not to keep moving forward rather than going back over and over a scene I’ve just altered. Let it rest, let it go, it’s fine for now, and I know I’ll have better judgment about whether the scene works better LATER.

You know what’s weird is when you’re approaching a scene and it occurs to you that of course you should change it in some obvious fashion — edit out a particular character, give an action or piece of dialogue to one character rather than another — and you get to that scene and LO! The change has already been made.

I have no memory of editing that scene before. If particularly friendly and specialized brownies are doing my job while I sleep, well, I hope they keep it up.

I’ve got it down to 388 pp now; that’s 125,000 words, more or less. Progress! I have to remind myself sometimes that cutting paragraphs and whole pages is still a good thing, I shouldn’t just concentrate on cutting words and phrases — that’s for later. I definitely mean to cut at least 5000 more words, that’s about 15 pages, but three times that would probably be better.

So, break time when I get it done! I don’t know about another quart of double-chocolate brownie chunk ice cream, because I try not to do that too often, but I definitely have a celebratory book picked out as a bribe to myself to get this revision done! Five books, actually: I just discovered the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. It’s a set of seven short YA novels involving the invasion of Australia by an unspecified nation.

I’ve read the first two and they are SO GOOD. I am so impressed by Marsden’s characters. He has quite a few and they are all distinct and well drawn and the way everyone responds to what’s going on — perfect! I love his plotting, which is tight and clean. And his writing is great, it just disappears so you can fall right into the story.

And I think it was so clever of Marsden to avoid specifying the bad-guy invader nation. Honestly, there IS no possible real-world candidate for a nation that both could and would invade Australia, and he totally side-steps this whole problem by just deciding up front not to try to shoehorn a country that couldn’t work into that role. That is so much better than trying to twist things around to make something work when it couldn’t.

So, anyway, I’ve got the other five books ordered and they should all be lined up in a row waiting for me just about exactly at the time I finish this revision. Can’t wait!

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