Today is the second day of the Clarion Write-a-Thon, and it went much better than the first.
I was traveling yesterday, which was not conducive to writing, although I did jot down some notes and try to brainstorm.
For the Write-a-Thon, I am doing another edit on my next fantasy novel, Riddle of the White Gun. It mixes spaghetti Western action/tropes with fantasy and humor. Think Fistful of Dollars meets Discworld.¹
It felt great to get back to work on this book. I fell off the horse a bit while my previous final draft was being read by beta readers (which is my own fault, I should have kept writing fiction, even if it was something else).
It never fails to amuse me how much I have grown as a writer–and as an editor–since finishing my first novel, The Magic of Eyri, in 2007. I always say, if I did another edit on Magic of Eyri today, it would probably lose 100 pages (which couldn’t hurt).
In the early days, I was hesitant to cut, “Everything is perfect!”
These days, I don’t care. I’m not attached to a single sentence, paragraph, or chapter. If my gut tells me to cut, I do.
I have already chopped a few hundred words from the first chapter today. Most of this was as simple as rephrasing a sentence, but other fixes were outright cuts (looking at you, That). At one point, I was debating the description of metal emblems on the stock of the hero’s revolver. I went back and forth about which animal they should be (real, made up, etc), until I decided, “The hell with it.” I got rid of the emblems completely. I am working on not over-doing the descriptions in this edit.
The upside to not looking at this novel for a few months is I have fresh(er) eyes. I’m not attached to any of the text because I didn’t just finish –everything must go, if need be.
The most difficult part about something like the Write-a-Thon or National Novel Writing Month, or just working on a novel at all, is getting into the daily groove of writing, or editing.
But once I am there, look out. I get into beast mode and I cannot be stopped. I wrote the original first draft, all 77 thousand words, in less than three months.
¹ I hate making comparisons, but it is a necessary evil.