The Marathon Cruise

First, lets recognize a couple of birthdays.  First, we have George R. R. Martin, born in 1948, which if my magic calculator is correct, means he turns 64 today.  I offer this as a public service to all my friends who follow A Song of Ice and Fire series, only to remind them that he’s another year closer to not finishing the series.

Second, we have the birthday of a certain Malcolm Reynolds, who likes to wear a brown coat and tight pants.  Of course, he won’t be born until 2468, so if my magic calculator is still working correctly, we only have to wait 456 years before the blessed event occurs.  Take heart, people, you have plenty of time to get flowers out to Shadow.

With that said, lets move on to the other insanity.

Writing is hard:  I think I’ve said that on more than a few occasions.  If you want to create a story, and do it the right way, you gotta work at this stuff.  You gotta write every day, even if it’s just a little bit here and there.  And you have to edit.  It’s not enough to get it slick the first time around–you gotta polish it up even more after you’re through with the story.

Last night was like that with me.  Two chapters of Her Demonic Majesty, about six thousand words.  The first chapter disappointed me; found all sorts of things that needed fixing, so I fixed them.  By the time I was finished, I’d cut out about one hundred words, rewrote more than a few paragraphs . . . got it nice and pretty.

Then I looked at the next chapter:  another three thousand words.  It was 8:30 PM.  Did I want to get into that?

You do what you do, right?

This chapter was much better.  I rewrote a few paragraphs, but the net result of this edit was to add words, to make everything clearer.  Stuff was removed, but the net result of this edit was to bump the word count.  By the time I was finished, I found my word count was pretty much a push:  I was about twenty words ahead of where I’d been when I began working.

It was 9:45.  I was tired.

You never realize how tiring this work is until you get into the actual doing.  It’s a matter of concentration, trying not to miss anything, reading everything so that it makes sense.  It’s actually a lot more work than getting the story down, because you’re looking, thinking, feeling . . . wondering.  You see the words on the page before you, and you’re mind is going in circles, deciding if what you are reading makes sense, and if it doesn’t, how should you go about fixing those words.

Two move chapters into the “Done” category.  That’s six total.  I have eighteen to go . . .

The next chapter is fifty-four hundred words.  The chapter after that is about forty-five hundred words.  No matter what, I tackle the first chapter, and put Part One to bed.  What I might do, after I’ve finished that first chapter, is take on two shorter chapters in Part Two and kick them out of the way.  The more out of the way, the more likely it is I can have this all wrapped up by next Saturday.

I’m not in a sprint:  no, this is a marathon, though it might not look that way.  If you’d rather, think of it as a short triathlon–similar to the one Sunita Williams did the other day.  She swam half a mile, biked eighteen miles, and ran four miles in one hour, forty-eight minutes, thirty-three seconds.

Oh, I forgot to mention:  she did this in orbit, aboard the ISS.

From that perspective, I’ve got it easy.