Break Down in Russel Square

Hacking and Slashing (now there’s a term I haven’t used in a while) was hot and heavy last night.  I finally had my kids off their feet, out of the Tube, and into the restaurant, and the cutting and adding of words was underway.  By the time I finished for the evening, I had no idea what I’d written.  That’s because with all the deleting that was underway my total words written check was way off.  There are ways to figure this out, however–like copying the area you were working in and pasting it to another text form.  That way you discover you wrote and edited nine hundred and six words.  Easy as Pi, right?

With all my old scenes deleted–goodbye, you first draft messes–my corkboard looks like this now:

All my scenes lined up, sorta neat because they never go anywhere.

All my scenes lined up, sorta neat because they never go anywhere.

 

While my outline shows me where my word counts are:

The numbers keep going up.

The numbers keep going up.

The word count for my current scene is just under three thousand, but that’ll change.  Then I have to rewrite the trip through the Chunnel, which takes on an air of confusion for Kerry due to things happening in this current scene, and then I can move on and rewrite a few other things–

Then I can get back to Act Two.  Maybe.

So what did my kids do last night?  A little of this:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

A light rain was falling upon Russel Square when Annie and Kerry stepped from the Underground station and made their away across the street to the Pret a Manger cafe. The place was busy but not overwhelmed with people, so they found a table and ordered food. Since the lunch rush was coming to an end their orders were ready in under ten minutes. Kerry’s was first: a club sandwich with avocado and a mango smoothie. Annie’s came moments later: a chicken salad and a Lemon Aid. She returned to their table to find Kerry’s computer unpacked and powered up.

“What are you doing?” She sat across from him, twisting her neck to see if she could follow what he was doing with his phone.

He didn’t look up. “Bluetoothing the pictures over to the hard drive; I wanna make sure I get all the pictures we took.” He tapped tapped something on his phone. “This way I have plenty of room for more, and everything’s saved.” He lay the phone next to the computer. “That should finish in a few minutes.”

It was difficult for Annie to keep from chuckling: he always seemed so serious when it came to his technological toys. She wanted to talk about something else . . . “You said you’d been to London once before?”

 

Yeah, bluetooth those pictures, Kerry, and free up some space on your phone.  You never know how many more you’re gotta get with that little octopus hangin’ on to you.  This is where I wish I could draw, because there were some great photos they good that I could include.

As if I didn’t have enough to work with at the moment.

Starting Seems to Be The Hardest Word

This thing happened last night.  This thing is actually what is known in the biz as “Beginning a New Scene,” and it should have went off without a hitch–

But you know that’s not gonna be the case.  Not with me.

"Okay, that's eight words.  Does 'Urrrr' count as a word?  If it does, that's nine . . ."

“Okay, that’s eight words. Does ‘Urrrr’ count as a word? If it does, that’s nine . . .”

I run into this all the time.  I know what I’m going to write, because I’ve already went over this scene in my head probably eight or nine times.  Sometimes I’ll even say the parts out loud, because that’s the sort of crazy person I am, where I’ll act it out because–why not?  Who doesn’t talk to themselves all the time when they’re at work and they’re working on scenes while they should be, you know, doing something else.

I’ve got it all down in my head, and then . . . it’s time to write all the descriptions need to bring the scene into focus.  Which I normally don’t have a problem with, but when I’m starting everything up–

It doesn’t come out right.  It comes out slowly.  It comes out in spurts.  I comes out feeling like I’m missing something.

I managed about six hundred an thirty words all in all, getting the next breakfast scene rolling.  I’m usually like that at the start, and tonight I’ll read over it again and probably redo some of it before launching off into the new stuff.  That’s when my chaperon, Ms. Rutherford, pretty much throws shade as some of her charges–which you would think is something she wouldn’t do in front of another student, but Annie ain’t just “another student.”  (I was told by my fourteen year old daughter that none of the cool kids ever say, “throw shade”, and that she’d never heard of the term until I asked her about it.  I’m just being a proto-hipster here, yo.)

Besides, like a lot of my scenes, nothing really gets started until the first thousand words are out of the way.  There’s always the set up, the build, and then I launch into the goods.  The real business starts when Annie is getting ready to lay down the law to everyone else, and Kerry pops out of the lift–then I get going.  Then I know what’s going to happen, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation in getting it done.

This is nothing new:  it’s all been there, done that about fifty or sixty times since the story started.  And since I’m in rebuilt mode right now, I’m working hard to get things right.  Essentially I’m taking three scenes, completely scraping two of them, writing a new one to replace the first and rewriting the third with parts of the second scene to make it seem more interesting.  It’s a bit of a detour, because I should be a few tens of thousand of words into Act Two right now.

Getting this stuff right in the first part is more important, however.  Particularly if I want to polish this up and publish it while I’m still finishing the novel–

Wait–did I just say that?