Slash and burn

Only a few days back from my rapturous time in New Mexico, and I’ve already managed to work my way through a third of the draft of The Sleep of Reason. I need to cut out about 7,000 words from the 107,000 total and make it read more urgently.

I’m doing pretty well. As I said, I’m a third of the way through it (by chapter count), and I’ve managed to delete a hair more than 3,000 words. So far I’m just trimming the fat, cutting out excess words that add nothing to the meaning. Boy, do I write a lot of relative clauses! If I keep up this pace, I’ll have no problem getting it under a hundred thousand words.

Still, I should probably do some structural cutting too. I’ve noted here that a certain ritual is performed three times during the course of the novel. I devote a lot of words to the preparations the protagonist goes through for those three events. I think I can do some serious cutting there. The process gets described the first time. The subsequent times it doesn’t need such full development. At this point I don’t want to remove one of the three ritual performances altogether, but if it comes to that, I can already see how I might do it.

So I press on.

Curiously, I found a significant continuity problem that none of my readers caught. I have the story opening on a cold January day. Later that same day, my protagonist notes that he doesn’t feel much warmth coming from the fire on the cold February night. Oops!

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2 Comments on “Slash and burn”

  1. Brian Keaney Says:

    The timetable of a narrative is always such a tricky thing to keep track of. I’m always making mistakes like that.

  2. Brian Keaney Says:

    Wish I hadn’t used ‘always’ twice.I suppose it shows how much you need to edit everything.


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