Monday, July 14, 2014

Stuck in the Chunky Peanut Butter Swamps of Time, Part 2: The Long Unsticking

It feels so strange. I get up, and there’s no narrative to unfuck. No little vertical lines to look for in the margins, no searching for invisible points of insertion or deletion to Accept/Reject. No more search-and-destroy for periods following exclamation points, duplicate quote marks, etc. 

This last week alone was devoted to a refit, then a complete re-do on my penultimate chapter. 
How’s this for a magic trick? I took a 12-page chapter, which I felt was too long, and turned it into 17 pages. Yet I managed to keep the overall page count down to 263 and drop the overall word count 394 words by ruthlessly tearing out modifiers and narrative asides from previous chapters. At 94,817 words Grace Among the Dead is still within shouting distance of 95,000, and still the longest sustained narrative I’ve written.

The bottom line is it reads a lot faster, all the loose ends are wrapped up, and I’m set up for the big world-shattering thermonuclear doo-dad that will be my third and final book for the series, The Wrong Kind of Dead.

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty....”
I wrote the jacket copy for Grace Among the Dead last night. I was so burned out I had to warm up to the job by writing the precis to The Wrong Kind of Dead. This turned out to be a very enjoyable task that I took to with more enthusiasm than I expected after my horrible month-long slog after spending a year and a day writing Grace Among the Dead.

Aside from the excitement over a change in process, I like that I’m destroying one world and building another. Grace Among the Dead ups the ante and the stakes of Bleeding Kansas. The Wrong Kind of Dead will take us to another narrative dimension altogether. It’s stuff I’ve never written before, in a way I’ve never written before.

There’s only one way to find out if this works.