One thing you need for revisions: a screwdriver. Not a real screwdriver. A language screwdriver. I read through the manuscript today on the lookout for unnecessary words. Maybe singletons, maybe whole paragraphs. One chapter, which incidentally was the first scene written and is now Chapter 13 (The Graverobber, in case the numbers change), went from 3500 words (it was the longest chapter in the book) to 2900. There was just stuff that had been in it for so long, I was used to looking at it. I'd forgotten to wonder whether every word was singing for its supper. Turns out: nope. Ciao. Tighten tighten.
A lot of it is just super-simple stuff like this:
The long mustache that had once been his pride hung lank and tangled.
The mustache that had been his pride hung lank and tangled.
The elevator door closed, and she was alone with herself and her reflection
The elevator door closed, and she was alone with her reflection
She sensed from the tenor of Z’s voice that
She sensed from Z’s agitation that
(Here's a doozy. Youch. To think this clunker might have snuck into the book.)
A look of dismay edging on horror slowly spread over his face as understanding dawned.
Dismay spread over his face as understanding dawned.
Those cuts add up! You can slice hundreds of words like this and never even miss them. This is an easy, restful part of revisions. That whole "writing new scenes" malarkey is so much harder, and I'm not *quite* done with that bit yet. I have one lingering section that needs some new material written to seam some stuff together. It makes my brain feel tired just thinking about it. Can't I just fiddle with my screwdriver instead? Well. I'm almost there. So close! Another day or two of this, and it's off into the ether again!
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By the way, cool news: I am going to be a guest of honor at the 2011 Sirens Conference in Vail, Colorado! I'm so excited about this! It's a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature, and it just happened last weekend -- wish I could have been there! The theme this year was "fairies" about which I have a thing or two to say :-) Next year, oh, this is so cool. Next year the theme is MONSTERS. Mwahahahahahahaha! In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as in, I think, all my books, the idea of what really makes a monster is central theme. It's a whole year off, but I'm psyched. Also psyched about the other two guests of honor: Justine Larbalestier and Nnedi Okorafor, who are both AWESOME!