I am ecstatic. I finished the outline of “Tishta the Crystal Orb” today. After cruising through “Part 4: Colmaria” in four days, “Part 5: Mondar” was more of a slog—it took twelve. Granted, at 42,402 words it is 65% longer than Part 4.
Even though, as I have said in past posts, this pass through the book was meant to simply provide an outline, I was hard-pressed not to edit along the way. As I noted each beat in each scene—a technique author Anaea Lay suggested—it seemed prudent to trim the ones I felt were extraneous, especially this far into the book, where I feel more confident that whole scenes are unlikely to be cut. I also could not refrain from rewording, or removing words, where appropriate. At the same time, I ended up adding bits and pieces, where I felt the story would be better with the new words—there is more of this to come after I read through my notes. In the end, I trimmed the word count by 9%, down from 46,521.
While the page count dropped a bit, and the scene count stayed the same, I ended up splitting a long chapter into two, making the break at a tense moment in the story, to add to the tension. This was on the advice of author Elizabeth Guizzetti, after she graciously offered to read my second draft, and provide feedback and comments. This was a good call on her part. I like how it broke up the flow.
My next work will be to analyze the outline, looking for beats or whole scenes that do not move the story forward. Because I know this will mostly affect the first half of the book, I held back earlier on making the copious edits I allowed myself in Part 5. After taking a quick glance at the current revision in .epub format, I could not help myself—I immediately made some edits. It is interesting how I notice things in this format that do not pop out when I read the same thing in Scrivener. It is going to take discipline to finish the analysis before diving into edits like these—that is work for the next phase.
I expect that cutting scenes will be the most challenging thing I have experienced, so far. I have heard stories of authors crying over favorite scenes that dropped to the cutting room floor. I am bracing myself for this inevitability, but I owe it to my readers to provide them with a properly paced book. I am beginning to understand how it can take years to publish a book, and how some books never are. I love my stories. I want to share them. I will do this.
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