So. I’m editing. After talking with Kate at Candlemark & Gleam on a few plot issues, we agreed that expanding Pilgrim of the Sky in a few places is definitely the way to go. Initially my goal was to write an 80,000 word novel. For some weird reason in 2008, when the book was written, I was under the opinion that this was What I Needed to Do. Keep in mind that the second draft of The Aldersgate was a whopping 160,000, and you can probably see that my intentions were well-founded.
However. To get the book to where I want it to be for publication I need to add some stuff. I need to fluff out the world a bit, bring out a few of the characters who fell by the wayside (Joss Raddick and John Iosheka in particular) and just generally go in with a finer brush.
At this point I’m about 1/3 through on the first pass edits, and just finished my first bonus scene in which there is a magic compact and frequent use of the word transcorporeal. Also, some debate as to whether or not Jesus was a dragon. (He wasn’t.)
But anyway. I’ve got a net gain of about 1K at this point, but I anticipate much more heading into the meat and potatoes of the book. Oddly I also cut down on cursing. Much of the dialogue was written ages ago (what feels like) and I’m spending a lot of time making it flow better. It’s not so hard with Randall, who speaks more or less like most of the characters I write (i.e. a sort of casual Victorian thing)–but my main character is from the present. And this whole talking like a normal person thing is just harder for me.
Yes, I like editing and I have a hard time writing modern dialogue. I’m weird. (My husband Michael thinks that the difficulty stems from years of MUSHing; I think it’s just from years of reading very little that takes place any time after 1900).
So, considering I’m back in the swing of things I thought I’d present a shorter update/status/metrics thing. Behold!
One thing I loved: The elevator. There’s an elevator in the Roths’ house and I absolutely adore it. It’s all shiny and weird and steampunk and uber-Victorian. It’s really dorky to love an elevator, but there you go.
One thing I loathed: Well, there are quite a few things I loathed, but I got rid of them. This is why editing is fun. Mostly they were large chunks of exposition that said something to the effect of “Maddie felt frightened and/or on the verge of panic and didn’t know if she should trust Matilda/Randall.” The delete key, it is my friend.
Best quote: Randall has just taken Maddie to his office, which he shares with one J. G. Iosheka, who is apparently not in attendance.
“Who’s J. G. Iosheka?” asked Maddie, shivering into her stole. It was alarmingly cold in the office. There was a fireplace, buried behind a chest of drawers, but likely not much of a chance that it was in working condition.
“That’s who I’ve brought you here to talk to,” Randall said, going over to the cluttered desk. He removed a ring of keys from his pocket, and after a few tries—no doubt due to the decidedly dim light—he got the drawer open.
“He’s not in your desk, I hope,” Maddie said. She noticed a row of pickled specimens on the other side of the room and pointed. “Or over there.”
Randall laughed. “Dear me, no. But those are his. He’s a bit of a biologist. But it’s been some time since we shared the office, though I keep his things here as a matter of sentiment, I suppose.”
“He’s not here and you want me to talk to him?” Maddie asked. Perhaps Randall was more addled than she had been led to believe.
Worst quote: (Not a quote, but some juicy pre-dialogue mess) Randall shook his head, shaking his hand. (He’s all shook up, see?)
Thoughts: I really like Maddie’s sense of humor, her dry sarcasm and occasional wise-cracks. I’m trying to make that a little more apparent in this draft. But she’s one of the most humorous main characters I’ve written (at least intentionally so; I’ve got plenty of MCs who have no idea how hilarious they are at all). Her situation–being sucked into a weird, Victorianized version of her own world–makes for plenty of absurd moments.
Around the Bend: More John Iosheka, the Wilds, and Mother Mary. Yes, this all makes perfect sense to me. Also, going to have to tidy up those more intimate scenes… wait, that just sounds wrong.