Only four days since I finished outlining Part 3 of “Tishta the Crystal Orb,” I have outlined “Part 4: Colmaria.” Jury duty has a nice way of providing distraction-free time.
The word count went from 27,175 to 25,465, and the number of pages dropped from 90 to 74. This edit is not meant to reduce these counts, but to outline the scenes, and their beats, in a spreadsheet. Beats are each action or feeling that happens in a scene. Since I am reading each scene fairly thoroughly to identify the beats, I have edited to remove words, or even beats, as I go. That accounts for the drop in words.
In a previous edit, I broke out actions very discreetly. This was useful in identifying what I later learned are called beats. Although very insightful, it left the manuscript with each paragraph containing the actions of a single character. I went so far as to separate the dialog from any sentences around them. This resulted in a lot of one-sentence paragraphs. The second draft—the one I sent to a group of Beta readers—was structured this way, and much longer than it needed to be, as a result. As I have gone through the book since then, I have created more complex paragraphs that include all thoughts, dialog and actions around a single character-initiated action. The dialog in any given paragraph is all spoken by the same character. The number of pages has shrunk as a result, which is good. I think I am happy with this methodology, but need to wait until I next record the book to see how it sounds.
After I finish outlining, I hope to figure out which scenes can be reduced or eliminated, to pick up the pacing—especially in the first half—as well as to reduce the overall size of the book. At that point, I can realign the moon—I have at least two scenes that depend on it being full—and draw the final version of the maps. I tentatively plan to do one more full edit, looking for extraneous items on my ever-growing list of words and phrases that I “should not use,” or, at most, should use judiciously. I will share that list in another blog.
I am totally stoked about outlining “Part 5: Mondar.” It is where a lot of the action takes place on the way to the grand finale. I made some headway this morning, but then, duty called—I was included in a jury panel, which was my hope during this week of civil servitude. I am excited to see more of the legal process in action and will be more than happy to sit on the jury if I am selected. Tomorrow morning, I will find out. For now, I should get to bed. The six o’clock alarm will sound long before I am ready.
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