Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The machete unsheathed

Finally revising: I spent a week house-sitting for friends in Vancouver (it was originally to be house- and cat-sitting, but the cat was boarded at the vet's instead, since I'm not qualified to give injections to any living thing) and finally, finally, I got stuck into the revision of Willow Knot.
Apparently I'm still recovering from the cold I brought back from the UK, since I was hacking up phlegm randomly through the day, and falling asleep between 7pm and 9pm each night.
Still and all, I got at least 5 hours of steady pruning in each day, and cut at least 10k wordage. Plus doing a little tidying and dusting to earn my keep.
What I removed: restatements of previously established material, which I think is a workshop habit resulting from posting chapter-by-chapter; notes to myself describing places and plot points (cleverly disguised as narrative, but not necessary to the reader); groundwork for plot or motivation that didn't end up happening.
The unicorn is gone, gone, pretty though it was. The babes in the wood remain, because I believe they're thematically important: not all tales end well. Some incidents are intensified, like the encounter with the head groom in chapter one, which is now nastier and introduces the 'traitor' point.
The first part is still a survival narrative, like Hatchet, or My Side of the Mountain, or half of Canadian literature, depending which critics you read. That's what drew me to the story in the beginning, the question of how the little sister manages in the forest by herself, and since she knows her brother is enchanted, how does it affect her actions and decisions?
FutureBarb notes: about 17k has presently been removed, but some of it will have to come back as the holes are filled.

I made sure to go for a walk each day, and the house is in a pleasant part of Vancouver, with quirky little shops and restaurants, second-hand bookshops and (oh no!) dollar stores.
I'd brought books from my To-Be-Read pile, and still ended up buying books, at Book Warehouse and at two of the used-book places. I also bought (doom! doom!) notebooks. What could I do? There were at least three dollar stores within an easy walk, with notebooks and stationery decorated with oddly translated English or strange images:

The icecream snowmen are just creepy. I love them. You can find more of Menji's notebooks here. I also found new Barunson notebooks, and a Young Art pocketbook that says 'I Love Coffee'.

I did read books, filing it under 'research', though most of it was reacquainting myself with the subgenre of fairy-tale retellings. I finally read The Door in the Hedge, but wasn't as taken by it as I'd hoped after Deerskin and Beauty. I finished A Telling of Stars, and got started with Winter Rose and A College of Magics.
But it's late, here, so I'll comment on them later.


Dave said...

YOU CUT 17K words?!?!

Geez, you're vicious! I can't imagine what you cut (although I did read what you posted -- I just can't believe it's that much). Brave lady.

Lulu said...

Ruthless, more like. Not that BG isn't brave also...

batgirl said...

The pruning reached 20k last night! If I hadn´t been so sleepy I would have had a celebratory brandy.
Maybe I can get part-time work with Readers Digest, condensing books.

Lulu knows I´m ruthless - it´s the baby-face that conceals my true nature ;)