Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Goals vs plans

See, it was my GOAL to finish the current WIP and cut 100 pp before August 20th (classes started today, see, so back to work!). But that was not a PLAN. ‘Cause a plan is kind of a commitment, whereas a goal is just a goal, see.

So! I’m glad to say that I have indeed finished the current WIP! So far I have cut about 60 pp. More importantly, I have done the hard cutting that involves thinking. I cut chapters 5 and 6 entirely and knitted up the raveled edges, connecting the back of chapter 4 with the front of what used to be chapter 7. This required a certain amount of thought, as you can imagine. But we now get to the exciting part much faster!

I would still like to cut about 15,000 words — about another fifty pages — but a whole lot of that will be at the brainless read-and-cut-words level. Very little actual thought. A few changes will need to be made to be consistent with the stuff I changed in the early part, but not for a while and not too much.

Then I will read it straight through from front to back. That will actually be the first straight read-through. Hopefully I will find I like the ms! Although I will be trying to tighten things up a bit more and be working on characterization, that’s the part where I will actually be concentrating on catching all the inconsistent tidbits and fixing them. I think I have a fair knack at this, luckily.

Finally I will go through and deepen character arcs. Sigh. That is in fact something I always work really hard on, and I always wind up going through multiple times and thinking hard about things like: is this enough of a relationship between these two characters? Really? Does this other character change and grow from the front to the back? Really?

That is the stage at which I get both bored with the ms and unable to judge it; that’s when I finally send it to my agent. Her fresh take on it is SO VALUABLE, I can’t even tell you. Then usually one or sometimes two revisions after that.

Can’t wait to tie this one up with a bow and send it off. I haven’t worked too hard and thus am not feeling like I need a break to whittle down the TBR pile — I’ve been reading fiction right along and actually the TBR pile is amazingly small, only about forty books left on it — but in fact I have another ms I really want to pick up as soon as I’m done with this. So! New goal: to have this one sent off to my agent by the end of the month. Actual plan: to do that not later than the end of September.

If I get started on my other new ms. by the beginning of November . . . maybe I can actually get that one finished over Christmas Break? That would be great! (But it’s not a plan. It’s not even really a goal, till I see how it moves after I pick it up.)

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