Crap.

Only three pages this week. I’m in the mood to take a break but I really want to get a readable draft finished before we take off on our road trip and I have two weeks to do it.

Fingers crossed.

83,433 words and counting.

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I was on fire this weekend.

14 pages since Friday. Though, to be fair I salvaged maybe five of those from the previous draft, from huge blocks of text that I thought I’d have to cut entirely.

Still, I’m pretty happy with myself. I’m a whole lot closer to my goal: Draft 3.0 done by November.

But now I gotta stop and do some research.

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So burnt.

Writing has become a chore so I’m going to take some time off from working on the novel and work on a different project for awhile.

I can’t remember the last time I worked on a comic book project. Maybe it’s time to get back to that. If anything it’s be nice to have a seven issue limited series all written out.

Hey, , I think I might be ready for that invite into the “City of” MMORPGs, if you’re still playing.

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I love the Google!

Me: I wonder what the outside of the Cook County Office of the Medical Examiner looks like…
Google: Like this!

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Going into the third draft.

After listening to the recordings we made of our first and second workshops and reading the annotations on ‘s hard copy, I consolidated the notes and I’m ready to start in on the third draft. I’ve already crossed out everything that has to be cut.

For those of you who have read the second draft that means I’m losing any reference to the Half-Way World/Purgatory, most of the scene in the meatworks (including the Cowboy and the ladder-in-the-pit), the entire water dream will be replaced and the scene with Iku in the church will be completely rewritten. And there will be far fewer semi-colons.

I will be adding: More of the supporting cast in the second half, especially Cinque’s family. The importance of Cinque’s interactions with the supernatural characters will be more explicit. More emoting during conversations. More St Jude in the second half. More of the bad guy in the first half. More race and father issues throughout both halves.

The workshoper thought that I had drawn on The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn for influence so I decided to finaly read it to see what they were talking about. Both stories take place along the Mississippi and I have a Mark Twain quote in the first chapter. Strangest of all, Tom Sawyer briefly uses the alias “William Thompson” which is the name of one of my main characters.

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Saturday I got together with Melissa, Justin and David and they discussed the first twelve chapters of Picking Up the Ghost while I listened.
I came away with a list of 21 items that I should address in the third draft: More of the supporting cast, more reasons why the supporting cast is in the book at all, stronger connections between events that I thought were clear, more emoting during conversations, more emotional reactions from the main character, less semi-colons and on and on…

How about you people on the internets? Those of you who asked for copies of draft 2.5, any feedback?

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71,200 words (no holes or parts left that need fleshing out)
285 pages
25 Chapters

Last night, with Melissa’s help, I was able to fill in the last missing section.

This was the last of the second drafts. The last of the hidden drafts. It’s time to start showing it to people.

I was going to post it publicly online for peer review but when I suggested it on people started flipping out. Maybe old media, even print, is scared enough of new media that leaking the whole thing might be an obstacle to publication.

I still want to put it in front of readers before I put it in front of writers, but I’ll hide it behind the only message board I’m a part of.

Of course, if anyone reading this wants a copy of the word file, just let me know.

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Draft 2.0 done

70,751 words (still a lot of holes and parts that need fleshing out)
283 pages
25 Chapters

Next:

Draft 2.01 – Just like Draft 2.0, but I’m going to have to go over the last third of the novel again, I was really half-assing it, tired. I’m sure a week off and a week of Comic Con will recharge my battery.
Draft 2.1 – Double check my notes, make sure every plot point and foreshadow is in there.
Draft 2.2 – Fill holes, flesh out parts that need it.
Draft 2.3 – Ebonics draft. Double check the dialog. As I listen closely to African-American speech patterns I’m discovering that they’re not to different than rural American speech patterns. They were both born in the South. the difference isn’t the words, but the inflections and I can’t write inflections. Steve got me a book on the African-American accent, it’s a little old, but I hope it’ll help. But I don’t intend to saturate the book with the latest slang, that’s a good way to make it seem quaint to tomorrow’s readers.
Draft 2.4 – At this point everything should be in place. Time to start taking out unnecessary words. I’ve already done a bit of this in 2.0 on a sentence by sentence basis. This time I’ll be looking at chapters as whole objects.

Only then will I let people see it.

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The End-ish

I just wrote the final scene of Picking up the Ghost.
Total:
68,681 words
274 pages

And I’m still only half way done. I still have a half-dozen scenes that need to be finished and tied together with a subplot. Then there’s probably a hundred or so details that need to be filled in. And that’s just the first draft. From experience I figure the number of words I still need to add will be equal to the number of words that are going to be edited out during the second draft.

If the first draft is challenging physically, the the second draft is challenging emotionally. That’s where I discover some really embarrassing passages. Like a paragraph consisting of five sentences all beginning with “He went…” or a scene where a felt that detail about a character’s appearance was so important that I mentioned it four times in two pages using exactly the same words.

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Free Stuff

Cinque previewSo that I didn’t feel like a total fraud walking around the 2006 Comic Con with my unwarranted Pro Pass I printed up over a hundred of these: Handouts of the first part of the novel in progress.
I polished up the 60 pages I had and added an ending that won’t be in the final work. As I’ve been writing parts two and three I’ve realized that a lot of what’s in part one is going to have to change. And there are some style choices in the narrative that are going to be edited out as well.

The final story will have deviated so far from these handouts that I can’t use them to generate interest in the finished product.

I got seventy of these lying around so I’m giving them away. Anyone who wants one post your address in the comments (they’ll be screened) and I’ll send you a copy.

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