I just completed a full edit! Two lines over 406 pages and 139,591 words. Wow. That feels like such an accomplishment. But the ending leaves me more nonplussed than it used to do. What should I do? Do I end it on page 405 with the protagonist’s last scene with his adoptive mother? I’m not sure that I want to add another scene. I don’t think that there’s another scene too add. Hmmm….
For now I let it end where it has. I want to send it out for peer review. I think I put a note in the doc and see what readers think. Because I used to love that ending, and I like that it shows that the characters are discussing the future without the protagonist, making plans for him. And I like the cyclic beginning and ending with the same character using the same phrase to tell off the protagonist.
I thought of one more change I want to make, but I got home late from work and with a headache, so it will not be made tonight.
Thus, as the clock turns to midnight and I type these last words on this last blog post, does PerNoEdMo November 2013 end.
Day 26 I realized that my explanation of a magical attack was nonsensical. I’m fixing it, making it more simple. I’m ending on 375 of 407. I have 139,585 words.
Day 27 I found a few continuity issues. I now have to figure out why reinforcements didn’t come from down the hall. I know he’s been ordered not to leave his post. But not to leave his post even with the odd sounds that have to be drifting down the hallway? Or maybe nothing is drifting down the hallway. It’s probably a quite soundproof door; you would put nothing less on a cell. Perhaps that will be my reasoning…. And then I found a conversation that relies on a scene that never happened and never will happened. Whelp. I think I quit for the night as it’s 12:46a. I’m on page 379 of 407 and have 139,630 words.
Where did day 28 go? Well, I ended that day on page 392 according to the notations in the Word doc.
I’m beginning day 29 on page 392. Black Friday has left me exhausted. I probably shouldn’t be editing. I shared this site, The Historical Thesaurus, with all of my friends in a fit of excitement, so let me share it with you too. I am calling it a day on page 400 of 407. I have 139,614 words. These last few patches have been a little rougher than some, but most of the falling action is pretty smooth.
Day 24 I gave up on for a sick day. I spent the day watching movies, television, and YouTube videos and cuddling a puppy. I did do some thinking about the novel, though. How could I not? I’m less certain now that my antagonist would have the protagonist held back during the antagonist’s villainy. He might just incapacitate him. Nasty antagonist. I will have to try to write the story this way and see if it takes. (Note: he was a little more violent, but my protagonist still get just held back.) Also, I came up with the villain’s reason to keep the captive that he does. People (other villains) have asked me this question before. Now I have an answer, and I hope that it will please these villains.
Day 25, I started on page 363 of 407 again. My characters gave me a rewrite that I’m pleased with. I always wondered why only this one magic was visible as anything other than its effects, and though I could rationalize it, I like it better now that it is as invisible as every other magic. I think readers will too.
I wrote out a fight scene blow by blow only to realize that my protagonist is not in a state to be able to recognize a blow by blow. I may have to… I don’t know, save that for a weird scene out of character to be put in a paperback release or maybe to give to a movie director so that she knows what’s happening and can accurately depict the fight then put a filter over the footage to wash it all out. Or wash some of it out. There’re a lot of close thirds and first novels that have been made into movies. All of them have cast a protagonist rather than have the camera be the protagonist. This is just an observation, Hollywood.
I’m ending around page 371 of 407. 139,657 words. I’m stopping for the night because it looks like I’ll have to remind myself of what got to stay in the story before I can finish up this scene.
(I realized today that I cut a line that I really liked: “I don’t know. I’m a magician not a physician.” Then I realized that I potentially enjoyed it so because it was not only a good, musical line but also an accidental Star Trek reference: “Dammit, Jim. I’m a doctor, not a ___.”)
I think I will also need to go back and rewrite the ending of this scene. Why not? I’ve rewritten most of it and liked what I’ve done.
Well, you know, I could have worked on my PerNoEdMo project on November 21, but I wrote a legal theft piece and chose to go see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire instead. I am comfortable in my choices. I still don’t really know how old these minions are and have moved on to puzzling where my antagonist will be able to set a fire in this room (Is there a grate for a fire? Are there torches and torch brackets? Would you just a light a fire in the middle of the room? Is there a brazier or coal pit for torture purposes?), and puzzling over the room’s dimensions, etc. I will probably just need to draw myself a map. The room has, I think, since it was first conceived, moved to a much lower level of the fortress, shrunk, and become much less opulent. This is not a chamber designated for an important ceremony anymore; it is cell, maybe a holding cell. A cell with room for the… seven people I am asking it to accommodate at once.
We were overstaffed at work, so I was sent home. More time to edit! I began by just trashing what I had written for the beginning of this climax and writing some of it fresh. I don’t know if I want to thank George R. R. Martin for all that he’s taught me about violence or if I want to scowl at him for giving me this ability (and I am comparing this ability to Harry’s Parseltongue in my mind), but I will say that it reads better. I always thought that my villain seemed a little… lackluster when it came to this climax. I still have more editing to do, but I made some good progress. I am on page 367 of 407, and have 139,654 words. 40 pages to go and 8 more days in which to edit them.
Today I realized that there was no reason for my antagonist to be at the top of the mountain. There is no reason that he might not at that particular moment happen to be a few yards down the hall interrogating someone in the dungeon; he does this on occasion. I can explain that this is where he was with a throwaway line and save myself a lot of headache. I just wish that I could have saved myself yesterday’s headache.
My question now is how many people are coming to investigate the noise down the hallway. Do you send one spy or two? How old are these spies? Because they are trying in my head to be young boys, probably no older than 13… maybe 14. Which is great, except that I need them to hold back a very much weakened adult (temporarily) and a small, very desperately fighting 16 year old. So… conceivable but probable?
I made no actual edits to the story today. Tomorrow is legal theft day!
Starting day 19 on page 358 of 406. I’ve entered the patch of the novel where timeline and plot line are both a tad cloudy–and that’s not good. I really ought to know who knows what when. And I ought to know why now. I have edited through page 363.
I have hit a snag. The most effective base-of-the-mountain-to-top-of-the-mountain communication that I have available are errand boys who are really fast runners. That seems extremely inefficient and tiring. I don’t want to wait that long for my antagonist to arrive on the scene for the climax. He really needs to come quickly, which may actually mean either way that he has to have either conveniently been nearby, on his way there anyway, or have some form of super-fast travel as well as communication. So how do I summon him using only kinetic energy or the manipulation thereof? (And if I can only use kinetic energy, how do those glowing hands work?) I am considering a very long bell pull but that too seems inefficient as it would require making and maintaining a very long wire. Perhaps a vein of something that runs through the mountain and might in some way be manipulated to act as an alarm?
I did determine who (or what group of people, though two of this number have yet to take form or name) would be informing my antagonist that the climax is about to start and that is a significant improvement from what I had this morning, but I will have to continue pondering these other questions tonight and probably tomorrow.
Day 17 the only thing that I did was waffle on the name “Bill” for an extremely minor character, a debate that has spilled over into day 18. He may also end up being called “Sykes,” and I would like to ask you, my readers, for other suggestions. This is a throwaway character. His name is going to come up in this one conversation (I may even decide to call him by his title and skip his name) and never again. If you’re a Dickens fan, you’ve probably already guessed the man’s profession: “Bill” or “Sykes” or whatever he may be called is a pimp and a trader and a generally unpleasant fellow. Because his is such a throwaway, I want to give him a name that hints at his profession. Most of what I read, you’ll notice, is for a readership thankfully mostly ignorant of the existence of such people. Let me ask then those of who read more adult books, who are some famous literary pimps? There’s Pandarus, yes, but I don’t think that I want to use that name for my character. That’s a little too obvious. Can you name any more for me? A little more digging has uncovered the possible names of “Harris” or “Derrick” (“Samuel” is too nice a name to waste on such a character.) Voting open. Thanks!
Usually the comments that I’ve left myself in previous edits I can now ignore, but today I stumbled across one questioning what material would be used to make the doors in my hollowed out mountain fortress. Are they wooden or stone? I’m really not sure, but I do need to know, or I suppose I need to know because I want to know if a knock on a door could be heard, though as my note said, I think that a metal knocker might make enough noise on even a stone door to make itself heard from the other side. The question here is also whether the fortress’ makers would have been trying to create a comfortable atmosphere or if they’d have been more concerned with security. All this makes me suspect that the doors are made of stone, in which case I may need to search for any reference to them as wooden, as being knocked upon, and maybe add some comments on the fact that the doors are made of stone, which would be a novelty for my protagonist, who lives in wooden cottage. But what do you think?
A more major character is also changing his name. I’ve been getting fed up with his name for a few days now, and now that I’m about to get to his scenes, it is time to start looking for a new name for him. I think he’s settled on one because it is both a good and telling name and it will be an inside joke with myself and perhaps a few readers.
I got through a lot today. I’m ending the day at 359 or 406. I’m realizing that there is a day of training montage that may be unnecessary or that it might be possible to combine with the previous day’s montage. I’m only stopping now because I need to give some serious thought to plot points, and I don’t want to get into that can of worms today. 47 more pages to edit in 12 days! That’s only 4 pages a day. That’s doable…. I have 139,325 words.
Day 14 I started the morning on page 338 of 408. I complained a great deal about not knowing how my antagonist would speak to his lover when he thought that they were alone, and about having to even record such an awkward conversation. I really didn’t leave page 338, though I did begin an off-screen scene of their first commingling. Kid again heard some of it. My roommate has I believe talked me out of visible a Lichtenberg scar, but I think I will know that he has one, just along his back where it will remain hidden (and I guess now you’ll know too). I did an Enneagram Test for my antagonist (he’s a 3). Then the afternoon was given over to helping a friend, and the night was sacrificed to using my computer to introduce my roommate to the Sherlock fandom. I read through page 344, but with a mind to refresh my memory and enjoy the story rather than to edit. I had 139,775 words at the end of day 14.
Day 15 (halfway! yikes!) sees me again on 338 of 408. I have 70 pages left to edit in the next 15 days! And if that isn’t a kick in the pants…. I’ve Enneagramed a second character, and she too is a 3, though he is 3 with a 4 wing and she is a 3 with a 2 wing. Today’s quandary is how to safe search and get the answers that I need for this scene. The answer is, as far as I can tell, that such a thing is impossible. As such, I have not searched and will not search, but I will rewatch scenes from HBO’s The Game of Thrones, because I know then at least what I’m getting into. In trying to find these characters’ voices, I’ve started another off-screen scene, but the most successful venture seems just to trim their dialogue. I’ve pared down the document to 407 pages and 139,642. I’m on page 340. I think I’ve just forced myself over the hurtle.
Day 16 and I’m starting on page 340 of 407! 67 pages in 14 days! Finishing day 16 having edited through page 344 and read through and made notes to page 349. I hit a large swath that needed almost no changes at all–or I say that, but…. I have 139,643 words.
Today’s rereading begins on page 331 of 408. I’ve decided what needs to be set alight. I need to decide how active a role my protagonist takes as a magic defibrillator. Tonight I’m watching videos of people administering and being saved by portable defibrillators–and I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I want to describe someone being revived by a defibrillator accurately.
This morning I’ve backed up to 329 of 408.
Today involved going back and trying to determine if not a map of my antagonist’s fortress then at list a descending-ascending list of where each of the rooms visited are in relation to one another.
The same coworker asked me today if I’d heard of Lichtenberg scars (to which I answered enthusiastically “yes!”). He may be responsible for scarring my antagonist. I’ve not decided wholly yet that this will happen, but I’m pretty sure that it will.
Today’s other highlight was “writing” a paragraph while driving to work and having to sit a moment in the car after parking to be sure that I could get it on paper.
And there was an unrelated question that floated across my brain while working: Does this world have a flood myth? All (most) of our cultures have a flood myth. Probably all of the fictional world’s cultures should have one too.
At my farthest point, I’ve edited to page 338 of 408 and have 139,800 words. I’ve added no scarring.