Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

How many miles to Dublin town? Four score and ten, sir.

The novel. It’s not finished but I’ve just passed an artificial barrier erected to mark progress. On April 26 I finished the 99,407-word draft. This afternoon I completed the first intensive editing, reducing the wordage to 91,929. I mention this as a gauge of my seriousness. Like everyone else who parades their stuff before an audience I have ego problems. That I’ve cut out 7478 of my hard-sweated words means, I hope, my ego can be tamed.

I have also re-jigged the initial two paragraphs which The Crow suggested may have been otiose. Parenthetically I should add that the MS doesn’t contain any such five-dollar words and it’s a relief to allow myself this voluptuousness. As I said, an artificial barrier, now in the past. I’m celebrating with a picture of our garden, now someone else’s duty.

What’s next? The rather harder task of finding out whether the story’s any good. How will I do this? I’m uncertain. When I know I’ll post – probably at length. Under the shadow of my blog’s title which may turn out to be ironic.

6 comments:

The Crow said...

I am ready to read anytime you wish.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: I appreciate your offer as I appreciated your constructive doubts about those first two paras. However, I should have worded the post more precisely. Before I can submit the MS to anyone else I need to convince myself of its worth. And for this reason: editing some of the middle chapters proved be an intellectual strain whereas two or three of the latter chapters (in particular the last, into which so much emotional effort was poured) slid by utterly without pain. Far from being good news I regard these experiences with grave suspicion. Why the disparity? I need to know the answer.

However, I think I can screw down my apprehensions and let you see the amended two paras, together with the rest of page one which I am sending by email.

marja-leena said...

Trying to think of a clever response to a man full of them, I can only think of "no pain, no gain" for all this writing and editing you are accomplishing. Onward...

I love the garden, and envy the hired help!

Rouchswalwe said...

I had better start brewing now so that I can toast your edited manuscript with something homemade when you're ready to release it.

christopher said...

And I am in awe of this process, but I can't help wondering if some editor will say, get it down to 50k, then we'll talk.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: Hard work is not the problem; rather in what direction.

RW (zS): Hold hard for the moment. The event may call for one of those long matured beers. Imperial Russian Stout, say

Chris: The aim, established over a decade ago, was to write a 300-page story. Page rates for modern books vary between 320 and 400 words so 92,000 is in the ball-park at the lower end. Anything shorter is novella territory (eg, 50,000 would be below 200 pages at either of the above rates) and novellas are works I don't particularly care to read, let alone write.

An earlier novel I wrote, which attracted the attention of an agent, was about 300 pages. My aim has always been to tell a story which has some relevance to modern life, rather than an impressionistic poetic sort of thing where there isn't space to describe someone going to the bathroom. So: Early Phillip Roth YAY! Later Phillip Roth BOO!

Incidentally I appreciate your drawing attention to the difficulties of writing dialogue. I was aware of this but you sharpened my perceptions. I suspect quite a lot of the lost 7000-plus words existed between quotation marks.