Nightmare Novel Editing: Week 2 FINISHED

Image is Fuseli's Nightmare.

Image is Fuseli’s Nightmare.

Pages edited: 308/308
Number of words cut: 3,262 words
Favorite mistake: “She let herself be led into the black temple, into the room with the dais, which was where the Night Mare led her.”

Honestly, that line still cracks me up. Where was the Night Mare leading her again?

The second half of the editing was more intensive, especially as I approached the end. For a while, I was just sitting there looking at what I wrote and wondering, What the hell was I thinking at this point? Where was I going with this?

Then I realized a lot of the problem with the phrasing and lack of focus in certain places was because 1) I didn’t know where I was going with it at the time, since the ending of the rewrite was almost completely different than the original. So it was a first pass, which meant that I was figuring it out as I went. And 2) I wrote the climax scene at 2-5 o’clock in the morning and hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before either, so I was a little out of it. Sometimes during the edits, I just sat back and looked on the screen with this WTF expression on my face.

In all honesty, though, if that’s my writing while semi-delirious from exhaustion, I didn’t do so badly at all. Once I had figured out where I was going, the action cleaned up pretty well. I remember that, when I wrote about finishing the novel, I wasn’t sure about the ending, and I said I was too close to it to tell whether it was good or as weak as I felt it was at the time.

Well, I may still be too close, but I decided during the edits that I really like the new direction of the ending. I find it very satisfying, and that’s a good thing, because I knew the original had problems.

I also think that the reason why the cuts were so modest is that I’m used to cutting down NaNoWriMo-type writing, which is by its nature more stream-of-consciousness sometimes. I had a better idea of exactly what I wanted to say in this novel (also aided by the fact it was a rewrite rather than completely original material), so there wasn’t a lot of extraneous detail.

So next on my docket is putting together a query for the novel (Query Shark is indispensable as a guide, y’all) and finding agents to pitch to. I’m going to take about a week or so off to do some short writing projects, and then I’ll dive into the fairy tale remix edits. That’s a daunting task (448 pages in comparison to the 308 of the nightmare novel).

It’ll be interesting to see what the cuts are like for that novel. Like the nightmare novel, the FTR was written with a better idea of what I wanted to say than the average NaNoNovel. As far as I know, the only place I’m certain there needs to be a huge change is just transposing a scene and integrating it into its new home. I may also tone down the sexual scenes, but I’ll have to see when I get to them. I do predict that my 25 pages a day quota might need to go up. Brace yourself, A.

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