Yesterday I took a break from what had been two continuous weeks of day-job work to write the last chapter of the second part of The Prometheus Option.
Every once in a while, the words really flow. I type quickly but writing isn't typing. You spend a lot of time lost in thought, reading, re-reading, editing, picking different words, trying to eliminate adverbs. Not so yesterday. The words were essentially a continuous stream from the moment I sat down to the moment I got up, four hours later.
I've had a few episodes like that before, and they always feel glorious. It's as if nothing at all stands between me and the story but the passage of time. If I could just sit in front of the iMac long enough, the book would write itself to a conclusion. Unfortunately I have to deal with things like eating, sleeping, spending time with loved ones, being a nap-platform for the cats, and (shudder) working for a living.
Today was all about editing. Valerie's feedback on chapter two was that it introduced too many superfluous characters who would never be seen again. Naturally I resisted the idea that I could have made a mistake, as I always do, but it only took me a couple of hours to realize that she was absolutely right—as she often is.
Today I fused chapters two and three and spliced out a bunch of one-off characters who didn't contribute much to the story but length. Then I ran through the rest of the chapter and cleaned out a lot of techno-jargon that slowed the narrative down. There's still plenty of jargon but it's more concise and hopefully more accessible to the non-chemists in the reading audience.
The word count has now dropped from 104,000 to about 102,000. I'm done with part two, and moving into the thrilling and terrifying end game of the novel. I hope I can bring it in before I hit 150,000 words. It's gonna be hard. The first continuous editing pass is going to be harder.
Speaking of editing: I find that it's a lot easier for me to be critical of my own work when I'm not in front of the keyboard. I'm writing the book in the new beta of Microsoft Word for Mac 2016, which is a massive improvement on its predecessors. There's a matching iPad Word app, and I do my editing there. The only downside to it is that it's a little tricky to position the cursor and select text. It looks like iOS 9 will solve that little problem. And the iPad version of Word lets me use Dropbox, so I don't have to push files back and forth between the devices.