Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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Working hard vs. hardly working: where my word counts went.

So I haven't been posting many word counts recently -- not, as one person jokingly asked, because I've given up writing in favor of playing Kingdom Hearts for the fifteenth time, but because I've entered one of those phases where the word counts are somewhat less quantifiable. If I start out with a file containing 50,000 words, and finish with a file containing 51,000 words, I've clearly written 1,000 words, right? Well, what if, in the process of working that day, I deleted an entire chapter, replaced it with a new chapter, and rewrote three fight sequences? I actually wrote 11,000 words. My net gain, however, is 1,000. And how do you measure revisions? Sometimes I'll spend six hours of quality time with a manuscript and a machete, and come away bleeding, grinning, and down a couple of thousand words. Negative word counts seem a little silly in that situation. I wind up just waving my hands around in the air and saying, blankly, 'lots.'

I've actually been busting ass around here lately. Discount Armageddon got a whole new first chapter, as did Late Eclipses of the Sun; in the case of Discount Armageddon, the original first chapter stayed on as the new second chapter, but in the case of Late Eclipses, well...kill your darlings. I've said it often enough that I really do need to learn how to live by it. I've also done some serious restructuring on the rest of Discount Armageddon, making it tighter, leaner, and much more prepared to dance the samba all over whatever happens to get in its way.

Late Eclipses is going through a similar, but much more dramatic, series of restructurings; several large swaths of the book are being tossed out the window and completely rewritten, including, so far, the original chapters one and two. (One of the other things I say way too often to plead ignorance: the author can be wrong, and that's what rewrites are for.) The story is still essentially the same, it's just getting tighter and more directed in the things that it's saying. That, and I'm slaughtering a lot of wishy-washy modifiers. They're like kittens -- one is awesome, thirty is a crazy cat lady.

I'm just about finished working on Discount Armageddon for a little while, since it's a busy book with places to go and people to see. This is going to mean the return of the word counts for The Mourning Edition, as I get back to work on my favorite zombie universe, and probably the beginning of the editorial revisions on An Artificial Night.

In short, even when it looks like I'm goofing off and having fun with art supplies, I'm working too much to sleep.

Tags: an artificial night, being productive, busy busy busy, discount armageddon, editing, late eclipses, proofreading, writing

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