Friday, April 6, 2012

Passed a Gauntlet

That's the boys, back before they started getting gray like me. I've trained them to give me hugs. Steeler on the left weighs in at 90 pounds. Cowboy tops out at a buck and a quarter. The brown one on the right thinks he's a lap dog, and the white one on the left thinks he's in charge. These two will be a book some day. I'm thinking it's a little too simple for YA, so MG. Definitely have to change the voice.

Anyway, I've passed the no-dialogue zone. It was a scary place, but I think I emerged with enough cuts to keep it quick and painless. Well, not painless for the characters. The next part is snapping in quickly, so I should soon get to the chapter with the greatest number of cuts to make. It's going to be brutal, deciding between which arguments to show the reader. I have to cut more than three quarters of the words I've already written and add transition and setting in without going over about 4,000 words. I don't want to slow down the story at this point because it's about to go down the ramp and the Olympic high jump. Writing should be fairly simple once I'm past this next chapter, not that I'll be done before the summer's over.

I've been fretting a lot over setting lately. I think I need to animate a couple of my secondary characters a little to add some gravy to the biscuits. One of the posters over on CC is infatuated with Updike, and he's been posting rules Updike broke. Oh, wait, they're more along the lines of guidelines.

Not a big fan of Updike's dialogue or plots, but his setting and action description is magnificent. If I'm going to get this fucking thing down under 120K words, and still give the reader a sense of his surroundings including smell, I'm going to have to come up with some innovative ways to condense setting description like Updike. Only clearer. Saying more with less is priority number one, because we have a big plot here. The three braids of the plot have to be equally clear for everything to work. Setting isn't terribly important to two of the plot threads, but it's critical to the third, otherwise, I wouldn't have to bother. Setting's the drummer that keeps the band in time.


  1. And setting is my weakness. Er- well one of the many weaknesses!!

  2. I'm so looking forward to this manuscript weighing it at whatever the hell weight it ends up at. The key word being, the end. Yeah, setting is a hard line to walk, orienting the reader so they aren't confuse as to where, but also not to encourage skiming.

  3. Forgot to add, thanks for the setting to this blog post. Love meeting the mutts.