The last time I posted here I was going to have a look at some suspect chapters with a view to relaying their information in other ways. In total I cut three short chapters from my book, dropping its word count by around seven thousand words. The information has been nicely melded into other chapters and spread around in such a way that it’s not so blatant that you should be paying attention to these things anymore, so that’s a bonus for me.
Following that major edit I went ahead with the next sections of the book, building it up to forty chapters for the third time in the process and fleshing out the outline for the final section before the Christmas period. Filled with roast beast and whisky, I settled down and finished the last chapters in January leaving me with a 410 page, 122,033 word first draft. Concerned that I’d written too much and would need to edit it down, I gave that problem to Future Mik and then took a little time to myself to play video games and binge watch shows on Netflix.
As my esteemed colleague, Past Mik, has pointed out, he left me with a load of editing to do. It’s a tough job that I’ve been doing for a week already. While there’s a lot more action than the previous novel, Wildfire is actually a slower moving piece so it needs to be rid of everything that slows it down even more. Thankfully Past Mik has a talent for noting the parts of the outline that either lead nowhere or take too long to get somewhere, and he’s been cutting those parts out while writing this book. In some cases he didn’t write them at all, such as an entire subplot that was ridiculous or another one that literally needed to keep two of my mains from speaking to each other so they can’t figure out what’s happening around them. Bit by bit Past Mik shaped the draft and made sure that every word of it led up to something.
There are a lot of writing tips out there, and one of the better known ones is to edit after you’ve written. Past Mik didn’t get that memo and was editing every few weeks as he wrote, finding where the same ideas were expressed in different ways over several chapters and getting rid of some of the extraneous versions. It’s left the first draft that much tighter. And that makes the main editing a nightmare. With so much of the chaff already cut away, I’m only left with things that Past Mik has already declared good enough to keep. And I’m slashing entire paragraphs of it away, getting rid of some of the description and world building that I’ve done throughout.
In some ways that’s so much harder than it was with Wildwood, but so much more straightforward. In that a good third of the book was cut away (and actually reappears in Wildfire in a much edited and shorter form) and the chapters were rearranged a hell of a lot. Each time a chapter was moved, it had to be rewritten so that it fit where it was moved to, and some of the surrounding chapters needed a rewrite too. So far there’s only been one time that’s happened in Wildfire, and that’s because I’m changing which of two characters travelling together is the viewpoint for that chapter. So many of these rewrites have already been taken care of by Past Mik during the main writing stage, so I’m thankful to the handsome devil for that.
The good news is that there may be some more sample chapters put up at some point next year. The bad news is that these will be the ones I thought not good enough to keep, and then they’ll be sanitised of any reference that might give the plot away. Still, I might be able to get some nice character pieces from them. I’ll also be showing off some more details of my world beyond the currency systems and prototype runes of the ancients, so you’ve that to dread/look forward to.