So Wednesday I started polishing Chapter Seven of Southern Discomforts, read the first couple of lines, realized I had no idea what was going on in Maria’s head. Need I say this is not good?
It was fixable, but it’s indicative of the problems I’m running into. I thought polishing this draft to get it ready for beta reading would be relatively simple. However it’s taking a lot more work. I’m adding necessary new scenes; having to shore up characters’ motivations where I found them weak; follow up on details I’d forgotten (“Wait, Alan saw Olwen disappear in front of his eyes, he knows something’s going on.”); setting up developments later in the book; and pruning exposition where I repeated it (there’s no point to having every character emphasize the same differences about life in Pharisee County). Motivation was part of the issue with Seven: it’s Maria dealing with whether to flee Pharisee and possible federal charges or to stick around. I finished the chapter but that issue will occupy the next chapter or two as well and bigger adjustments may be necessary. I’m also not sure whether Maria wouldn’t be too wiped out after earlier events to be walking down Main Street, but I have friends with the medical knowledge to answer that.
Regardless of the specific issues, I’m going to have to spend more time on polishing than I’d planned to get it done by the end of the month (I’d like to have a beta-reader critique party before the holiday season). So probably some of the other stuff I wanted to do this month will not get done. Fair enough.
Polishing Martinis, Girls and Guns took more time than I expected too, but I finished most of it (all but the Craig films) today. I think it’s looking much better, and I’m tentatively hopeful of seeing it out before the year’s end like I wanted.
And I finished Trouble and Glass which is looking very well for a first draft of a short story. The characters are all in place, the core plot is there, and that’s rare for my first drafts. Two things I do need to fix are that magic in one of the early scenes looks very eerie (I’d like to think) and I lose that feel later. Also I establish my protagonist, as a non-wizard, has become good at finding ways to counter magic, and I don’t keep that aspect up either. Still, I’m quite pleased with it.
Trixie has instituted a change in my schedule. Occasionally when I get up early, she’ll get up because she needs to take an early potty break. That seems to have convinced her that instead of staying in the bedroom with TYG, she should just come with me when I rise. This is slightly annoying as I like my two early morning hours of freedom from dog parenting. This morning I shut the door on her, but she began whimpering so much I had to let her out before she woke TYG. This is probably a passing phase, but it might last a while (it’s almost like they’re living creatures and not predictable automatons). As long as she goes to sleep downstairs and doesn’t want to jump on me during my exercises or stretching, it’s livable. And hey, she is adorable.