I’ve made it to chapter ten of the redraft, which feels a major achievement. Chapter ten! The air feels different at chapter ten. Getting to chapter ten sounds more serious than wafting around on chapter nine – I’ve made it to double figures. The teens are in sight.
This was my monster chapter, and I have managed to shave 4000 words off it already. I love this sort of editing – putting sentences through a vigorous exercise routine so they reveal themselves as lean toned things of beauty, rather than forcing the poor things to drink Pad-Em-Up steroid drinks. The overall word count now stands at 110,000, but my goal is to get this to 100,000 (or less) to give this novel a better chance of being taken on by an astute and charming agent (just in case any are secretly reading). So more chopping yet to come, but there will be plenty of opportunity – there are still twelve chapters left to redraft.
I do wonder with a sinking heart whether it will take me another year to finish this novel. It can’t, can it? Real life work gets slowly but steadily busier with each week that passes, and it seems to take longer and more effort for me to disappear into my story the way I need to when redrafting. Maybe that will all shake itself out though.
And thinking of editing, I keep glancing sideways at chapter nine. It struck me at the weekend that I am saying something very similar with chapter nine and chapter ten, and perhaps I use both chapters to make the same point. There are differences… but still, I can’t help giving chapter nine a hard stare when I think it’s not looking. I am not sure whether it will come to deleting the entire chapter… but… it’s a thought. Not a pleasant thought granted! But if I do delete the current chapter nine then it means I’d have to delete a later chapter as well… which brings my word count down where it should be, and my chapter count down to twenty. But there’s a lot of good stuff in both, so that will be a rather painful decision. At the moment I will leave it where it is, keep calm and carry on. But I'll keep poking at the idea, like a child with a loose tooth, until something resolves itself. Eek!
Edit: I have just realised I wrote chapter ten over two years ago, in 2007. Two years? What on earth have I been doing? You can read all about it here. Weird to think I have now reached the 'later date' written about on that post... bet I didn't think then how much later!