Finished Draft 5

So, draft 5 of ‘Wandering Stars‘ is complete. Well at least I have had a full pass through with the corrections I made starting back in October. Mostly this was about sharpening my point of view, keeping it more solid and consistent. I also made a few huge plot changes towards the end that came with a plethora of character modifications etc. So, basically I did a whole lot of stuff that I could have avoided if I had done more planing from the outset and less ‘winging it’.

But, that was sort of the whole point, I guess. I started this project as just something fun to do and it has become increasingly more serious and the tone of the book reflects that. At first, it was very light and silly at times, whereas now it is certainly a lot darker and more intense. Though I feel the whole piece still has a positive and uplifting vibe. I know distopia is all the rage at the moment, but by the time my book is really finished and ready to put out into the world, that fad will most likely be over anyway. The bottom line is, no matter what the industry is doing or what trends the world is going through, a good story is always worth telling and finds its way into peoples lives. Whether or not my story is what people would consider to be good or not, is beside the point…at the end of the day, my book won’t make it out into the world until I am completely happy with it.

I know that it still has a long way to go with editing. It stands at about 92000 words now and I know it is probably still 10000 words too flabby. Cutting out the last 6-8000 words was a hell of a mission and took its toll on my story arc, but now I know how much tighter it is.

There are a few more sections that are suspiciously superfluous, I know I have to go back through and floss them out.

I got a lot of tips from this guy, Larry Brooks, and his blog;

He talks about making sure each scene of the story is mission driven. Trying to make certain that every scene has a goal and drives the story forward, as well as revealing character development. It’s hard to be so ruthless when some of the really fun stuff that you love about your story, suddenly is revealed to be arbitrary, but it definitely makes a difference in the long run to shave it all off. Like a big messy beard that would look much nicer as a little goatee.

Brooks says that if you can’t sum up your story in 9 sentences, each one dealing with one of the major plot points then your structure needs revision.

Hunger Games (9) – The Entire Story in Nine Sentences

When I tried to do this with my book, I came to a grim realisation that my story is suffering from overflow…I needed at least 2 sentences at times to explain what happens and at the end, I kind of had two climax points.

Hmm…well this is what I will be looking at in draft 6. (I call it draft 6, but really it is all one long never ending draft that makes me feel at times that I will never be happy with it.)

My goal is to get it down to 85000 words, and be able to sum it up in 9 sentences with a nice solid plot summary. Then, maybe we will be ready to move forward.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get on with writing the short stories to build the back world and think about publishing them online.

OK, enough for today…I’m going to go eat more Easter eggs. Happy good Friday to all!

Weeding and Butchery

It seems these days that I don’t even get through a whole re-draft before I start re-working something else…I have spent the last month working through my book, trying to smooth out all the ripples that were echoing out from my last series of major changes. The most minute alterations to plot, character or storyline have such ongoing ricochets, its like shooting a laser beam inside a chamber walled with mirrors.

Now, before even getting to the end of my last draft, here I am making another huge array of cuts, the repercussions of which are splattering out rampantly across the pages, muddying my mind and my manuscript.

The great news is though, they are CUTS and that means, I have successfully trimmed a good 5000 words off a tangent in my storyline. A tangent that I now see was never needed. As colourful and fun as the chapters were, as beautiful and exciting as the action and descriptions were, I just didn’t need more junk bottle-necking up my conclusion.

Keep it simple!

I say that, as though it’s easy…

Feeling the weight of what I had just done I needed some space and distance – some time to think.

So, I had a break from my vicious chapter slaughtering and did some weeding. There I was, tearing whole lifeforms out of their homes, tossing them into a dark oppressive bag…upending communities of luscious green organisms and leaving their land in ruins. A battlefield of pulled roots and severed leaves. It seems today is all about butchery.

I return now to my pages, to my characters who are hanging by a thread, wondering if they will live or die, if they will be next.

I tell them, “What I do is for your own good…someday you’ll thank me for the pain I’m putting you through.”

(You know you are on to a good thing when you verbalize conversations with fictional characters that you  invented right?)

Now, if only I can get a handle on all these story threads that are left in tatters. Wrangling the severed tentacles of my literary hydra is not as straight-forward as I had hoped when I first hit that delete key.


Oops – Where one gruesome head was; there are now three.

Speaking of tentacles…I love this quote.