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Vroom, vroom.

I have excised a chapter and a half from the first half of my book. It remains to be seen if I have broken the characterization of two of the secondary characters thusly, but without a doubt, I have solved some pacing issues.

Let this be a lesson to me:


This is the end of the excision of a segment of book my agent wanted taken out from the beginning. I've done everything but stand on my head to make this segment of the book work. I made it hilarious. I made it touching. I seeded it with all kinds of secondary information and foreshadowing. I made it long. I made it short. But in the end, it was still there, killing my pacing. If the book were 80,000 words long, it would be fine. But the book is meant to be 65,000 words, and after chiseling and chiseling and chiseling--from agentorial and editorial encouragement--I finally have removed all but the most essential piece of the segment.

In the first iterations of the book, Reveka goes into the woods and gets extremely lost, meets 2-5 characters of varying importance (but definitely the antagonist and the sidekick) and comes back. For about five chapters.

Now, she walks into the woods, gets briefly lost, meets the antagonist, and comes back--in about 2,000 words.

I can't beat myself up too much for this process, though I wish I could have seen to the heart of the segment much earlier.

This is also the case of killing a darling. A lot of the reason I couldn't give this segment up is because it was so witty. I had probably the best line of the whole book in it. The line EVERYONE who read the book quoted back to me.

I wandered forever in what I hoped was a northerly direction, until in the distance, I heard the lowing of a cow.
A cow! What a wonderful sound a cow makes. The sound says, "I'm very stupid, so I have people to care for me and to take my milk." A cow meant people.


But it is not meant to be. Maybe in another novel. Maybe in another lifetime...



In other news, I met up with Catherine Shaffer for a writing session today (I had the day off work)--and did some good work, but couldn't make the editing work on my tiny netbook screen, so had to bail after two and a half hours. We hit up Zingerman's Coffee Bar, which is relatively close to my house (closer than anything else Zingerman's)--and is a pretty great little space, but hidden in the midst of a number of industrial airport-area buildings. If they were open past, oh, when I get off work, they could be an awesome place to have evening writing get-togethers. But they aren't. However, I can foresee doing some "on the way to work" writing some mornings. Maybe as a Monday ritual (or perhaps Thursday, since my drawing class pretty much means I don't end up writing on Thursdays).



On the way home (ish), I stopped to look at stoves. Our stove seems to have lost a burner, somehow--the knob won't turn--and has never heated exactly right (a little hot above 350, but a little cool below it--what the hell)? And, there is always an alarming explosion when you preheat if you don't open the door a little--which I forgot until JUST NOW, that's how used to the explosion I've gotten. And our pilotless ignition hasn't been great since the day we moved in. Add to this that in a fit of cleaning I "cleaned" half the numbers off the thermostat for the oven--and after studiously not cleaning it for about five years to preserve the remaining numbers, the cleaning crew I hired scrubbed the rest of the numbers off. My husband said three days ago, "We should consider getting another stove." And I considered it so hard that I bought a new one today.

It's nothing exciting, really, but it does have five burners instead of four, and uses the whole top surface for cooking, which makes it look much bigger than it is. I did some preliminary research a while back, and honestly, for the price-range I'm in, a stove is a stove is a stove. Gas was a foregone conclusion--I have never looked back from cooking with gas, but beyond that, my biggest test was how it felt opening the oven door. There's a certain heft and smoothness I find requisite.

I almost didn't buy a self-cleaning oven--it's not THAT great a feature, in my viewpoint, because you're still reaching into the oven and poking at stuff, it just happens to be soot instead of something you scrub--but the one I wanted in non-self-cleaning didn't have an oven light. And an oven light is requisite. (The thing I will miss most about my range is a feature I almost never use--the surface light. It has hidden lighting that lights up the whole surface of the stove. It's too cool. Purposeless, but cool. But since I don't use it more than once every three years? Never. Mind.)

So, the oven I asked about (which appeared to be the next model up) was a convection oven, but I didn't notice that until it turned out I couldn't get it in white. Puzzling! But that's when I figured out it was a convection oven, which I didn't want, and there was an oven between the oven-lightless one, non-self-cleaning one, and the convection one. So, I got that. The only downside is that the center burner is round, not an oval, so I can't use a griddle thingie. Chances I would actually USE a griddle thingie, though? Pretty. Small. Maybe to cook pancakes, but you know what, round has worked thus far for pancakes, so whatever.

And that's the saga of buying a stove. They had to order the white one from another store, but at least they make white. Now, for the first time, all our major appliances will be one color! When we moved in, the oven was biscuit and black, the dishwasher was black, and I sincerely don't remember the fridge, but I suspect biscuit. And now, all white. All ready for my all-white kitchen that I might someday have.


Now, other than editing-editing-editing, that's been my day.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
cathshaffer
Aug. 14th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
Ah, same color appliances. I have a brushed stainless steel fridge, blue stove, and white dishwasher. *sigh*
merriehaskell
Aug. 14th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
I find that I don't NEED matchy-matchy--if I get to pick stuff out, that is. At least those don't clash. But the LAST thing I wanted were black and biscuit appliances. I rather liked the looks of the stainless steel oven best when I was hopping, but with 2 other white appliances--? It was kind of a no-brainer.

I did see a teal dryer I kind of coveted. That was pretty.
qrssama
Aug. 14th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
I learn the strangest things about this area from reading your blog. Does the coffee shop also sell baked goods, or just liquid?
splash_the_cat
Aug. 14th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
The coffeehouse just does coffee, but there's a Zingerman's bakery in the same line of buildings, and also a Zingerman's creamery.

Edited at 2010-08-14 05:10 pm (UTC)
merriehaskell
Aug. 14th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
They had a limited supply of baked goods in the coffee shop proper (I had apricot hamentashen!), but it is right down from Zingerman's Bakehouse--and Zingerman's Creamery. So, baked goods and cheese, all in one easy locale.

Edited at 2010-08-14 06:03 pm (UTC)
alanajoli
Aug. 14th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
Such a sad darling to kill! I see more and more "director's cut"-like excerpts popping up on author web sites, so there's at least one outlet for resurrection. Now that e-books are looking for extra content to be played on multi-media tools like iPads, I wonder if scaffolding will find its way into the "extras." :)
captainblack
Aug. 15th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
*Sigh* It is a very funny line. Sorta shows you are a true daughter of Pratchett.

But maybe it is best therefore that it is gone. We want people to see the genius of Merrie, un-eclipsed by Terry.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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