Tuesday, September 4, 2012

(Work-in-) Progress Reports: Bonnie and Clyde

Word count (to the nearest thousand): 41,000 for Bonnie, 45,000 for Clyde
Status: Bouncing back to Bonnie after wrapping up Clyde’s latest draft
Attitude: Meh

Here’s how my month went down: I added almost 30,000 words to Bonnie in the first few weeks of August, then turned my attention back to Clyde once my readers’ notes came in. They gave me some great big-picture stuff to fix, so I spent about a week and a half working through their suggestions. Since I was a little ahead of schedule, I thought I’d give the manuscript one last read-through and start cleaning up the prose.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

I don’t know why I think that last read-through will make me like the story more, because it never does. Nothing short of silky smoothness will satisfy me when it comes to wordsmithing, and that’s a hard standard to meet over the course of an entire manuscript. Mind you, no manuscript--and not even any published book--is perfect, but I usually feel pretty good about ninety-five percent of the sentences by the time I’m finally done.

Clyde’s hovering somewhere around fifty percent at the moment. Yuck.

Anyway, I’m trying not to think about it while I wait to hear back from Amy and Jeni (and Kelly, too, of course!). Instead, I’m devoting all my subconscious thought to Bonnie. I wasn’t quite sure where to go with her a few weeks ago, but now the gears are churning again. I’ve already had a few ideas that should give me more to write, so that’s something, at least.

How are things going for you?


JeffO said...

I spent last week working on a short story while letting Barton's Women cool and hoping for some good news from somewhere on the Parallel Lives front. And then, today, I started re-reading PL and was mortified at some of the things I found in there: mostly typos (bad, but forgivable in moderation), but I also found one continuity error and a couple of cases of a couple of cases of repetition. AARGH!

Tara Dairman said...

Krista, I totally hear you when it comes to the wordsmithing. It's so hard for me to read over early drafts of my stuff without cringing. I know I should just push forward with the story and focus on the big picture, but when my crit group or betas are going to be seeing it, I want it to be perfect. So I probably spend a lot of time polishing stuff that's just going to get cut anyway.

Anyhoo, I added about 20k words to my WIP in August, but I just got my editorial letter (eeeeep!) for Gladys, so I'm going to be setting the WIP aside to dig into that for a while. Good luck with both of your projects!

Ben Spendlove said...

I think you excel at spotting awkward sentences, Krista. (If I had a nickel for every "awkward" in my ms...:) It's not as bad as you think.

That said, the day after I finally dug back in to THE FREEZER, I got a nasty cold. That's my excuse. BUT, I think I've got the ending figured out. I'm still not going to give you the ending you wanted, but I think you'll like it much better.

ilima said...

That's funny, because I always think my stuff is crap when I'm revising smaller sections. Sometimes I have to stop and read the whole thing to motivate myself, remembering the story is awesome and dive back into the smaller stuff. Good luck!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I feel your pain, JeffO. Once I decide a manuscript is finished, I don't let myself reopen the document until I decide I need to revise. Otherwise, it's torture, pure torture! :)

Yay for editorial letters, Tara! And yay for 20,000 words! Sounds like you're definitely headed in the right direction:) (P.S. I'm posting an interview with Shauna tomorrow, so stay tuned!)

Ben, your comment made me both blush and cringe. If it makes you feel any better, I'd label most of my sentences as awkward if I were reading through it like a CP. (And yay for THE FREEZER!)

Isn't it so interesting how different we all are, ilima? I definitely feel better about individual scenes, at least when I'm revising.

Tara Dairman said...

"(P.S. I'm posting an interview with Shauna tomorrow, so stay tuned!)"

Really? How cool! I'll definitely want to read that!

Ben Spendlove said...

Oh, I couldn't feel better about your comments. I need them. You show great attention to detail that I sometimes lack. I just mentioned it because I can totally see you doing the same thing to your own writing, and it struck me as kind of funny. And I meant to say that your manuscript isn't as bad as it seems, but that's not very helpful. You've got to be happy with it. (And it'll be AWESOME! Wooo!)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yes, Tara, I can't wait! We were actually going to talk about GLADYS a bit, then decided to focus on one of Shauna's other books, since I'd already highlighted GLADYS on the blog. (But I'm no less excited for it, I assure you!)

Don't worry, Ben--I knew you meant it in the best possible way:) I worry sometimes about pointing out all those little things in my critique partners' manuscripts, but I just can't contain my inner copyeditor:)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I know that feeling, Krista! But never fear! I'm five chapters in and enjoying the characterization immensely. Thanks for letting me read! <3

Temre Beltz said...

Thanks for this, Krista! I really enjoy getting to read your progress reports. It makes me feel like we are all in this together, even though working on our own projects :) You are doing awesome juggling two manuscripts at one time - that can be tough. And it sounds like you have some great inspiration for Bonnie - yay! I just completed a new MS at 47,000 words. I know there is lots of work ahead for me, but thankful to get to write "The End" again :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yay, Amy! Happy to hear it! (And thank YOU for reading.)

Temre, I love that feeling of accomplishment that comes whenever I get to the end of a draft. Good for you! And it is nice to know we're all in this together:)

Julie Sondra Decker said...

Wow, sounds difficult. I think that's happened to me a couple times with individual scenes, at least, and I've had a couple of "ugh, no one will like this" moments on books, but being disappointed by a read-through sounds depressing. Still, there's nothing like the idea-churning stage! Good luck.