Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Finished!

I moved THE WHITE ROAD to the “Finished” folder from the “In Progress” folder Sunday evening.

Woo hoo! No better feeling.

468 pages, 147,000 words. That is longer than I think is ideal, and anyway, my books nearly always improve with some hatchet work. This is not necessarily true; the saying is that every book is improved by being cut 10%, but I have heard of writers who ADD 10% or more to finished manuscripts, fleshing them out, so like any other truism, you need to take the so-called rule with a grain of salt.

But for me . . . I would like to cut this right back to 400 pages or so, about 120,000 words. That is my average finished length and for me a 15% cut is generally about right.

I have 38 notes to myself about stuff to fix. I sorted them out into “trivial”, “plot issues”, and “character issues,” and I will deal with them in that order. For me, it’s easier to nerve myself up for working through the trivial fixes, plus I can do those along with the first read-through-and-cut pass through the draft. Then, with the story more complete and fresh in my head, I can deal with the far more demanding character issues.

Stuff that surprised me in THE WHITE ROAD:

1. I did not have a good feel for the actual personalities of some of the important characters till right close to the end. That is why the character issues loom so large for the revision.

2. I was still fiddling with the actual plot till I was right at the ending.

3. About 20 pages from the end, I killed a character. I did not see that coming until it happened. I’m not 100% sure that character is going to stay dead. I may change how that worked. But it sure avoids the feeling that things have worked out too pat for everyone. Anyway, I’ve never sudden unexpected death strike down a character before. I sort of thought I was supposed to see that kind of thing coming.

Anyway, regardless of revision work, it’s deeply satisfying to type “the end” across the page and declare the draft complete.

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