This post is mostly going to be about Shadows, but I don’t have a Shadows-y picture to put up there, so I went with one of the images the amazing Darek Zabrocki sent me when he was working on the cover for Lost and Found. This image came pretty near the end of the process so, as you can see, it’s quite a bit like the end result — just with a fewer details. Still, one thing this version has that the end one doesn’t is that little bird in the tree. I love that bird. The cover works better without it, but I don’t mind telling you I was sad to see it go.
So, I’m working on Shadows. What will be the final draft until I have either an agent or an editor to help me apply the final layer of polish. It’s going very well. I started writing this draft longhand in February and finished it in June (I think). I did a workshop in early spring that meant I had to send stuff in for critique, so I broke my rule about letting my work rest a few months before revising for the first few chapters, but once the workshop was over, I shoved those critiques back into a drawer to mellow along with the rest of the draft. That was a good choice. Feedback I’d thought was frivolous or just plain wrong looks very sound and insightful once you give it a few months distance. Also, the story which I’d had personal issues with, is stronger than I’d remembered.
I’m revising as I transcribe from my notebooks onto my computers. It’s been interesting. I think years of NaNoWriMo combined with my natural inclination toward wordiness have taught me some bad habits — or maybe it’s just that the draft I’m transcribing was a fresh draft. A second first draft, as I like to call it, so I can expect some… badness. Still I laughed as I revised “…drew a smile on her lips.” to “She smiled”. Then I opened up a new Word document to track some of the best/worst examples of my wordy-ass (and just plain awkward) writing. Allow me to share 🙂
drew a smile on her lips –> she smiled
for having not been paying attention –> for not paying attention
The liquor seemed to have done more than loosen his tongue, it had given it wings -> The liquor hadn’t just loosened his tongue, it had given it wings. -> The liquor had given his tongue wings.
The smile that filled her face –> Colby’s smile
He paused, looking around him –> he paused, looking around
as he began to clear a spot –> he cleared a spot
I’m hoping the THING would be able to help make… –> I hope the THING will make…
There are several other examples already but I can’t share them without context or risk of spoilers. As much as some of these make me roll my eyes at myself a little bit, I’m actually really excited by my ability to notice them in my own work and revise them out. That feels like growth to me. Progress. And in this case, progress is good.
Right now I’m estimating that this book is going to finish up about 65k words. That’s a little shorter than I wanted, but it’s still a decent word count for a YA fantasy novel, and best of all, the plot is much stronger in this version than any of its predecessors.
I’m currently at 10,737 words transcribed and revised. Whoot!
As for NovPad… I’m um. Behind. A lot behind. My poem for day four turned into a short story. I’m hoping to make some progress toward catching up today, but I’d planned that yesterday too and it didn’t happen. Keep your fingers crossed for me.