Progress is Slow

Pages Edited: 58/487;  Pages Updated: 8/487

The title says it all.  In the last week, I’ve only managed to line edit another 22 pages.  It’s clear that I haven’t managed to update any in that time.  I’ve started having computer problems (again).  The last go around took two days and probably about 10 hours to fix (some nasty software issues).  Still, I’m trudging along, working on the line edits.

I hope to have better progress news posted soon.

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Wishful Thinking

I first said that I was going to try to line edit 20 pages per day.  It turns out (as I feared) that pace is just not going to happen, at least early in the draft.  Since I’m trying to slow down the pacing in the first half of the novel, it’s taking longer than I expected to line edit the pages (I would note that the chapter I added in near the beginning didn’t take long, as the pacing was fine — I expect that the second half of the novel will be a similar story).

I’m okay with a slower pace — the important thing isn’t the pace, just that I’m continuing to work on it and making progress.  I do have some days off coming up in a few weeks which should allow me to make some more progress, and I’m taking a four day trip with long flights on both ends which should allow me to speed up the editing process on those days.

Of course, mixed in there is the fact that I do try to take advantage of the few sunny days we’ve had this summer — constant rain for weeks on end sucks.

Also, I’m going to start heading each post with the following:

Pages Edited: 36/487  Pages Updated: 8/487

Pages Edited refers to the number of pages I’ve completed line edits on.  Pages Updated refers to the number of pages where I’ve made the changes in the Word document itself.  As you can see, the number of pages updated is lacking — I haven’t been home much over the last week, and my laptop is getting very close to dying (even moreso than previously reported).  I’ve been out drooling at new ones on occasion, but with the whole condo-buying thing going on now, I can’t justify the expense (at least until after closing).

A Quick Note on the Adverb Issue

While I’m looking out for adverbs in my editing, the one spot where I’m not looking to correct them is in dialogue.  In reality we talk in adverbs — they’re an easy (some would say weak) grammatical device, and they make conversations flow.  I’m not going to change the way people talk — trying to remove adverbs from conversation would make the dialogue seem a little more stilted and unnatural (at least to me).  That being said, I am still removing adverbs from dialogue tags — that’s one of the spots where adverbs are most overused and often the most unnecessary.

Things I’m looking for (Part 2)

I already talked about how I’m looking at the pacing of the first half of the novel as I go through this draft.  The next thing I’m looking for are the dreaded adverbs.  I find that my writing, like many others, contains far too many of these weak links.  In particular, I’ve that “clearly” invades my work way too often.

So my goal is to work around as many of the “ly”s as I can.  If I can’t rewrite it without an “ly”, I have to decide if the word is needed (for example, as I was writing this sentence, I almost wrote “I have to decide if the word is really needed” and then changed “really” to “actually” and then realized that neither is needed).

I’m alright with the occasional adverb — sometimes they are the clearest, most concise way to make a point, but for the most part they are unnecessary.

Opening Paragraphs, Take Two

Some time ago I posted the opening paragraphs from my first draft.  Now that my second draft is done, I figured I’d post the new opening paragraphs.  Here they are:

Like every morning, as soon as the sunlight pierced the eastern window Leopold awoke.  It was a lesson passed down from father to son – arise with the sun and you would catch your enemies while they were still sleeping.  Of course, that lesson was from the days in which the enemies the King worried about were the assassins sent by distant relatives.  While Leopold did not need to concern himself with those enemies, there were larger problems.

            Leopold looked over at the empty space on the left side of his bed.  His wife, Lissanna, used to sleep there.  In the mornings, he would roll over and give her a kiss on the cheek before beginning his day – she was always a late sleeper.  Now, she slept on the other side of the castle, estranged by her duty to the kingdom and the burden it placed on them both.  He still loved her, he always would, and he missed her warmth at night.  But he knew they would never share the same bed again, and like every morning as he lamented the past, Leopold let out a great sigh.

Now keep in mind that these are (very) rough paragraphs.  I decided to change around a few of the chapters, including moving what was the first chapter to later in the book.  These paragraphs will definitely get rewritten during the next step of the revision, and I’ll share them here after the third draft is completed.

Things I’m looking for (Part 1)

As I said in my last post, I’m going to discuss things I’m looking for during the third draft.  The first thing is pacing.

I found during my read through that (as I expected), I liked the second half of the novel more than the first half.  One of the reasons was the pacing.  The first half is fast — too fast.  The second half is a little slower, and far more enjoyable.

Now I’m not looking to slow down the book too much.  There’s definitely a delicate balance to pacing — too fast and the reader gets lost, too slow and the reader gets bored.  So I need to slow the first half down, but not so much that it’s too slow.

It’ll be interesting to see what I can do with it, and changing the pacing will require a straight reading of the draft once it’s completed.  Indeed, if I end up needing to do line edits on a fourth draft before it gets to my beta-readers, it’ll be because of the pacing issue (most likely).

Time flies when you’re . . .

. . . forgetting to update your posts.  In my last post, I lamented the fact that it had been a month since I updated.  That was just over two months ago.  So clearly I mended my ways.

That being said, I at least have an update.  TBTWNE is also The Battle That Would Not Lose.  Try as I might, I haven’t been able to come up with a draft version that really appeases me.  I’ve made several attempts, but nothing that satisfies me.  So I’ve decided to move on.

It’s now time to start step two of the revision process.  Tomorrow I take the file to Staples to print out the second draft, and then I start the line edits.  It’s 487 pages, so if I average 20 pages per day, it’ll take 25 days to finish the line edits.  I’m not sure if that’s a totally achievable pace (it’ll depend on how many edits I have to do per page), but that’s going to be the pace I hope to go with.

I figure that TBTWNE/TBTWNL will get some work-over through this part of the process, so I’ll end up with something I like a little better. 

Now I’m also planning on updating this blog more regularly.  To kick it off, over the next couple of days I plan on posting on some of the things I’m looking for while doing line edits.

So here’s to the second draft, and the third that is yet to come.