12/15/04: It sucks

Word count: 119459 | Since last entry: -5467 | This month: -2718 In the last week, I… …added a graphical “time map” to the top of each chapter to help the
reader make sense of my unconventional timeline. …went through the critique comments and made a list of things I wanted
to do to the novel. Actually, I only looked at my notes from the oral critiques, and I only put the most important comments on the list. It was still eight pages long. …went back and highlighted only the most significant issues. That was
about half of them. …did a quick red-pen edit of the manuscript.
This was something half-way between Holly Lisle’s one-pass revision method and Neil Gaiman’s rather facetious six-step revision method and took most of three days. …checked off about one-quarter of the items on the things-to-do list.
Most of those were the simple ones, the ones that could be addressed by adding a sentence or a paragraph. The big ones, like almost all the ones under the heading “make the aliens more alien,” remain undone for now. …sat down and keyed in the red-pen edits, which took only half as long
as the editing itself (still a couple long evenings’ work, though — I haven’t had more than about 5 hours’ sleep in a night this week). …cut two complete scenes, several partial scenes, and a whole bunch of
paragraphs, sentences, and words, for a net gain (by which I mean loss) of over 5000 words (4%). I am proud of this. …reformatted the manuscript in Courier 12, printed it out, and sent
it off to the novel workshop just under the deadline. 509 pages plus cover letter and synopsis. Go me! So how do I feel about this significant accomplishment? See the title above: It Sucks. I have been looking at nothing but the flaws, missing details, missed opportunities, and most especially the petty, whiny, reactive, boring characters in this novel for the last week, and of the dozens and dozens of changes I wanted to make to address those flaws I was only able to make the simplest 25%. But. There were also many positive comments (about as large, and welcome, a percentage of the total as the raisins in raisin bran, but critique is focused on the areas for improvement) and at least I am done with the damn thing for a while. And I did feel a sense of accomplishment as I put the tightly-wrapped manuscript in the mail. Next: catch up with everything else in my life, which has been on hold for the last week. Then start in on critiques for the other novels in the workshop.

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