I’m getting impatient and almost added the book description to the Fantasy page. It is… not ready, to put it mildly. I did stick it at the top of the manuscript doc, though, so I have to look at it at least briefly every day upon opening and can noodle with it as inspidesperation1 moves me.2 I instead satisfied my need for administrative progress by uploading the final cover to retailers so it’s at the top of my drafts to greet me when I log in.3
ETA: The Fantasy page is temporarily gone, not because I’ve canned the book but because I can’t have a pre-pub “reveal” if a slightly shabbier version of the cover has been sitting there this entire time and I’ve succumbed to temptation to prematurely post the jacket copy. It’ll be back when the book is more than an empty promise.
125 rough draft pages have become 203 revised pages.4 We can now do the Halfway Hustle! Remember, the pelvic thrust when coming out of the twirl goes toward the right.
The last batch of pages went really fast, and then this batch (same length as the last) screeched to a halt. I had to remind myself again the goal at the moment is not a “perfect” draft. The goal is to clean it up enough that the next pass is less overwhelming, which means any given paragraph is allowed to be garbage if I can’t get my head around it right now. When there aren’t 200,000 other things clamoring for attention, that garbage paragraph might be heard whispering what it needs to get better. Until then, I’m wasting time trying to read its nonexistent lips.
Shout out to Past Me for “writing” [Something contemplative here] on the last page of this section so I would have ample opportunity to practice that super chill “garbage paragraphs are fine for now” philosophy!
During a chase scene, I had Heroine grab a pedestrian when she was running full tilt to use as a pivot, but upon reflection, that seemed like a) an asshole thing to do to an innocent bystander (in terms of both potential physical injury to and scaring the crap out of the grabbed party) and b) too unpredictable of a variable to calculate a favorable outcome (if he falls or grabs her, her mad dash isn’t continuing as intended). Neither of these things is consistent with Heroine’s character, so I went back a couple of pages and made sure to mention there are lampposts so she could instead swing around a sturdy inanimate object one could reasonably expect to be present.
In this section, it’s obvious I wrote this far without knowing the specifics of every villainous plan. Focusing on the effects of those plans being carried out (because Heroine has to combat those effects) got me through a draft, but in a book, there’s no need to lovingly reproduce real-world “we don’t know what’s going on, we’re just reacting to what’s thrown at us.” I have the godlike power to scatter around enough puzzle pieces that Heroine (and readers) can put them together, so it’s a waste to make everybody bumble around cluelessly until a villain condescends to explain things.5 I let Heroine do some figuring out here, but there will eventually need to be a redistribution draft to pace the growth of her understanding and break up awkward enlightenment dumps.6
From this batch of margin notes: “This is also a shitty transition. Really interrogate the necessity/utility of some of these conversations.” When I say I have no fear of the meanest editor you can throw at me, this is why. I have already mercilessly beaten my own ass before anyone else lays eyes on what I’ve done. If they can find a valid reason to be brutal at that stage? *shrug* Price of not doing my job.7
- in·spi·des·per·a·tion noun the process of being mentally stimulated by despair to take rash or extreme creative action
- I’ve been noodling since I wrote this, and the description is probably in the general shape it will officially take. I do want to glare at it a while longer before making it public, though. It’s an art to write good jacket copy. I’ll settle for a terrible chore done to a standard that doesn’t embarrass me.
- I have since, of course, been noodling with the cover. Success depends entirely upon that single pixel of difference between two letters in the title, don’tcha know.
- Periodic reminder that we’re measuring progress based on the only known quantities: the 240 pages in the rough draft and how many of them we’ve moved to the “done for this round” pile. The current revision page count is only trivia.
- Ideally for me, evil monologues would be received by protagonists with approximately 90% “I already figured that out, clown” and 10% “welp, that’s a horrible surprise to have to deal with in the final act.”
- Plus, there are places I feel like I’m repeating myself, but at this stage of this very lengthy process, I can’t remember if I already wrote it in the text, if I wrote a note telling myself to put it in the text, or if I’m only imagining ever having had the thought previously. Yeah, burnout’s going great. I’m actually looking forward to the period between drafts because it is so much easier to make lists than it is to make stories.
- Yes, “I hit myself so you don’t have to, oops, guess I should have hit myself harder” is wildly unhealthy. I have some bad news about the amount of childhood trauma therapy can fix in the absence of a life conducive to healing. I imagine it’s pretty easy to not use unhealthy coping mechanisms when one is never in the situations those mechanisms were developed to cope with! Publishing—with its arbitrary rules, power trips, and relentless criticism—is actually a great place to be heavily armed/armored with abuse survivor strategies, should one be imprudent enough to venture there.