Lena Brassard

Lena Brassard

KotSQ: Revision Update #3

Progress bar showing 5% complete for 13 of 240 pagesI’m going to take a picture of a progress bar and post that when I update because I can tell you right now I will not log in every day to keep a current total in the sidebar. Rather than guess a target number of pages/words that will be impossible to hit precisely, I’m using the known quantity of 240 rough draft pages and counting progress by checking off each page as it’s “done.” A page might shrink to half a page or grow to three pages in the next draft, but I can reliably measure when everything on one rough page has been addressed.

Before I started the fresh draft, I did a search-and-replace of names for three principal characters (yes, I put on my big-girl pants and changed them) in the rough draft so I don’t have to remember to change them a million times in the new draft. Moment of silence for the poor souls in bygone eras who had to do this manually.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #2

This stretch was all building my to-do list.

Why not just dive in on page 1 and start fixing things? Because if I spend time perfecting page 1 and then figure out on page 237 the story would be better if the whole first scene was deleted, I wasted time putting a lot of bows on trash. (This is the same reason I don’t bother with complete sentences, much less pretty ones, in the first draft. It would have been much more painful to toss the entire first act several months into the writing process if it had looked more like finished copy, and holding onto it would have been a disaster.) It’s much more efficient to build the to-do list and find all the things I don’t need to waste time on before I start doing the necessary work.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #1

It’s been almost three years since I finished a crap draft of a personal project. That one got ditched mid-revision because the “men are the absolute worst” was a little overpowering for a M/F romance… so much so that I realized I can’t write romance set in the “real” world anymore because I no longer believe that world is redeemable. In order to keep the full extent of my real-world cynicism off the page, I needed a different world, one where I don’t have to pretend insurmountable obstacles to a hopeful future don’t exist, one where I can write a history that creates surmountable obstacles so a hopeful future is achievable.

Surmountable obstacles for me include dragons, curses, undead bitey things, and evil murder mentors.

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Word processor word count showing 115,064 wordsThe finished rough draft of the fantasy romance clocked in at a maximum of 115,064 words… and then I scrolled down a little and discovered 15 pages of copy-pasted outline parts, what-if brainstorms, and descriptive dumps that didn’t get deleted after they served their purpose. After sweeping those into the bin, the final count is 108,704, which is good news. My contemporaries tend to run long (last two 130K and 140K), and this book needs extra room to accommodate the additional worldbuilding and the nature of the plot. There is, however, a point at which readers look at the length of even an epic fantasy and assume it’s a bloated, rambling disaster. If this one tops out around 170K (fingers crossed my editor then finds 10K to cut), I’ll be content, and starting under 110K makes that more plausible. 

Read more“Done!”

January Milestone (Almost There!)

Word processor word count showing 110,031 wordsI stalled for a couple of days on a Very Important Scene that didn’t want to be written. There’s obviously something wrong with it, but I wasn’t in a good frame of mind for diagnostics, so I put [XYZ needs to happen somehow] and made it a problem for Future Me.

Part of the problem may be, now that I’m so close to the end, I’ve prematurely begun the change of gears from design to production. I made a book trailer, which I can’t finalize until I add the release date (which I don’t know) to the internal text, but it became extremely urgent that this unfinishable video have the final version of the book cover in it, so I had to unearth my list of desired changes (one of which is beyond my artistic capabilities and looks kinda sad, but it’s small enough maybe no one will notice) and spend a day fiddling in Photoshop. I am thoroughly unmoved by book trailers as a consumer and expect absolutely nothing of this one, but I’m pleased with it anyway, largely because the app had a piece of stock music that made me scream, “THAT’S IT! THAT’S MY BATTLE JAM! RAWR!”

There are only three scenes left to write and much of their content is already in the file, so this draft will probably be a short of my prediction of 120K, which is fine. Now is the best time to be wrong. After this point, my wrongness begins to affect other people, so I’ll have to start being more precise in all areas.

Next update will be “Done.”