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!

Explore posts in the same categories: Sleep of Reason

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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