Busy day yesterday. I apologise for neglecting you, truly I do, but I really, really wanted to finish rekeying my MS before I went across town for a casual freelancers-in-poverty lunch with writer friends that promised $10 meals and cleanskins (wine without labels). Mission accomplished: I have rekeyed 62,000 words, shedding 17,000 from a document that was 79,000 words long when I began retyping it. 17,000 words dumped. Yep. That’s what I said, too.
Next I pulled those 62,000 remaining words (all looking pretty nervous now, like army recruits before their first cold shower) into two documents. I have a story-within-the-story, so I pulled that out, putting it in one document, and then I put the story in another. The story-within-the-story is in reasonable shape, although it needs an ending. Just a small detail, like, say, leaving flour out of pasta. The story, on the other hand, that narrative arc bizzo that is the bane of my existence, needs not just its main ingredients but much more work besides, and so I’ve separated it from the story-within-the-story so it can’t continue HIDING behind a support act that has actually taken over the entire show. What I’ve discovered pulling them apart is a real imbalance, whereby the story-within-the-story has taken the lead role, while the story itself has been become a sort of mediocre understudy. Not. Good. Must. Change.
I was concerned from the outset, in fact, that the two documents would reveal a heavy bias in favour of the story-within-the-story and that the story’s own word count, without this misleading buffer, would be so slim as to warrant serious creative and existential panic. The good news is it’s not quite a landslide, although personally I wouldn’t build my dream house there. It’s just not a solid enough foundation. So it’s going to be incredibly interesting going through the story today and just seeing how it reads without the story-within-the-story propping it up. I’m expecting it’s going to throw up all sorts of really fucking ghastly gaps and hazards, but that’s exactly what I’m looking for.