Reflections On The Halfway Point

I did not expect for this latest draft to be going by so quickly, nor did I expect a revived excitement that rivals, perhaps even exceeds that day I started typing this thing some two years ago. Hello everyone. Your favorite aspiring author has returned with more news on how my manuscript is developing.

Today I completed my latest draft of Chapter 10 of my novel and ported over a whopping fifteen pages for chapter 11, and that’s just for starters. There is much more to come for the ports, which promises to make chapter 11 one of the longest in the book. Funnily enough, old chapter 11 will be made up primarily of ports, so it’s not a stretch to imagine it being wrapped up today.

We currently stand at 255 pages and 93,000 words. That’s at 10 1/2 chapters, and I expect this book to clock in somewhere in the neighborhood of sixteen or seventeen chapters.

It is surprising to me just how quick this entire thing is coming along, and better yet how well it seems to be coming together.

I mentioned before there were always those nagging worries about plot details and contrivances. In my stubborn insistence on working within the box, I tried to figure out how I could make these contrivances work. Two main villains only appearing for a few scenes, one character getting very little build up, seeming inconsistencies in the universe of this world, lack of character development on certain key plot points, and so forth.

I never thought to make a list of the things that worried me and figure out how to fix them. It would entail doing something that was both difficult and incredibly fun. Just re-write them. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes on this book I wrote just to fill out my self designated chapter quota. Now that’s a big no-no. If a chapter if fifty pages, let it be fifty pages. If a chapter is a single word. Fine. Let it be a single word. But don’t write just to fill in a desired number. Writing like that is as sturdy as a house of cards, and the only thing entertaining about it is watching it topple.

I should have known there was a problem, because those passages were always a drag to edit and proofread. They bored me. If they bore me, they should have no trouble boring the reader. I realized that earlier last month, and sought to remove all that bored and replace it with all that could awe.

So I did that hard, fun thing and got to re-writing. I made a detailed outline with a list of all those little nagging worries, and in the outline I checked them off one at a time until the story, which by this point had been nearly edited to death, sprung to life on the operating table. The worst of the last draft was thrown in the bin, and the best of it carried over to live on with the new material that gave this story a revived voice and character.

Even managed to squeeze in an all new chapter with all new material while I was at it, and noticed an increased smoothness with how it came to be. I was writing quicker than two years ago, and writing a lot better too.

Now I have the opposite problem. Some of my chapters are too long. I find myself trimming fat that either no longer fits in this new version or is just dull. But that’s good, because the dull things are lost, leaving behind only what shines.

What do we have in the end? Those two villains are now much more active, that character is better built, the world is more consistent and reliable, and that little plot point is developed enough to finally have a punch. And the exciting conclusion of this story is coming, which if you recall, involves Two Dragons Punching Each Other.

I’ve crossed the halfway threshold many times for this story, six times as it were. Nobody has been harder on it than me. I was hard on it until I had no more questions. The passages that bored are replaced with ones that awed, the questions that so worried me are now all but gone. The story finally moves with a purpose.

It’s alive.



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