Okay, so today — what day is this? Oh, the 24th, we’re sure getting close to the end of October. Well, I may or may not complete this draft by the end of the month, but I’m certainly going to come close. I’m standing riiiiight at the end of the tunnel.
Last week was terrible, 3000 words, but the weekend was fine, 12,000 words. I really think I could just not even look at my laptop all week and it would hardly make any difference. The problem is that I’ve got lots of stuff interfering with my normal schedule of getting up REALLY early and getting through a couple thousand words before 8:00 AM. That’s what I prefer. I mean, by A LOT. I strongly, strongly prefer to write in the morning, as early as possible. That’s my high-energy period. Afternoons are terrible by comparison, and here we are, with everything in my life interfering with mornings rather than (most) afternoons.
Well, whatever, weekends are fine. I’ve hit the action climax! Also, I’ve figured out exactly what’s going to happen!
We’re very confident right now — well, Aras is very confident; Ryo isn’t quite as sure that everything is under control. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that they’re shortly going to encounter a disaster. This will be the final disaster, although not the final … I’m not sure how to put this … not the darkest moment for anyone. That will happen shortly after the action climax gets resolved, as a direct result of the manner in which that resolution occurs.
Anyway, I’ve finally figured out what the disaster comprises. I only figured that out Saturday. This is how the action climax always works for me: I figure out the twists at the last moment. But it’s fine: not only do I know what the disaster will be, I know how to get into it and how to get out of it. I even have some lines of dialogue in my head.
What I’d like to do is get through the action climax during the week this week, then read through the already-finished scenes that come immediately after that, then be ready to write the last bit of the story this coming weekend. That’s the last weekend of October! I’d like to write The End this month, although I’m hardly obsessive about that and if the draft takes another week after that, fine. Barring terrible disaster, this week or next week should about do it.
What comes next?
A) Cut a hundred pages or so, 30,000 words, from the back half. This will again be mostly at the sentence level, BUT, I put in some foreshadowing that did not get used because I changed my mind about this and that, so and at least one scene can be lifted out whole. Maybe two. These are scenes that take place between the time we leave Avaras and the time we cross The Break into the country of sand. They are not important scenes! You won’t miss them! The bit where Tasmakat tells Aras and Ryo the origin story of her people has picked up some more foreshadowy bits and will stay, at least for now. That scene, I would have been sorry to cut, but I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.
B) I have accumulated about thirty Notes To Self. Those are in the file that used to hold the notes about the plot outline. I delete the plot outline as I write the scenes that have been outlined, and in the place of the outline, I write an increasing number of Notes To Self regarding stuff that’s going to need to be revised.
Let me see. All right, here’s an example: At one point, Darra asks Ryo to write and promises to write herself. But then I forgot about that and no one ever writes or reads any letters. So, I need to add in some bits where Ryo receives or writes a letter. Not just Darra, but Ryo’s mother and Etta, would surely write. And letters can certainly be delivered, though obviously with an enormous lag. Not only that, but sending letters back and forth will let me foreshadow a plot element that is going to be important way, way late in the book, during the denouement.
Or again, at one point Ryo specifically mentions something he’s noticed, but I’m not sure the thing he noticed is actually there. I need to go back through and make absolutely sure that it is in fact there.
One important secondary character’s character arc wasn’t clear to me at the beginning. I took notes about that late in the book and now I need to go back and make sure that arc is actually clear.
So, about thirty things like that, some small and quick and some much bigger and more trouble. My general policy is to start with the quick ones and work my way through the list toward the most difficult ones.
I cut first, because if I read through my notes and then start cutting, and then read through the notes again every day before I go back to cutting, then some of this revision stuff can be done simultaneously with cutting, especially revision that needs to be smoothed out for chapter after chapter, such as character arcs.
How long will revision take?
It depends. If I’m hating the revision process, it stretches out. But! I often enjoy the revision process. That’s been the case for every book in the Tuyo world and I expect it’ll be the case for Tasmakat as well. I hope to whip through the revision in two weeks or so. After that, I’ll be asking first readers to take a look.
Meanwhile! I get to start the genetics section tomorrow. I’ll be walking through genetics for at least two lectures, more likely three, and I’m actually quite excited about it!