The Merlin Spiral Progress Report

ExcaliburIt has now been exactly two months since I last gave a progress report on my book, and I am now 90% done with my first draft! My projected finish date has slipped slightly to June 18th.

This means that I have only about 40 pages left to write, and am right in the thick of things. Some are dying. Some are near death. And some have just been saved from death. But the climax hasn’t come yet, although it is being deftly setup.

In fact, it is a minor miracle that the finish date hasn’t slipped more than it has because I’ve been trying to hit a moving target. When I wrote my last progress report, the novel was predicted to be 140,000 words, but I’ve already blown right past that and the novel is now predicted to push 155,000!

This means that as I’ve written, my predictions have been off for the length of scenes and how many scenes I needed. So moving the percentage has been painful, and keeping that date close to early June has been more than painful.

But I can smell my quarry and the hunt is almost over! One more month and it will be finished so I can let it rest while I edit my daughter’s book for a few weeks.

The Merlin Spiral

So am I happy about my book ballooning to 155,000 words? Not at all! I am realizing my need to do some flab-reducing edits plus major surgery to get this down as close as I can to 120,000.

What? Cut 22% of my book? One fifth? I know it sounds crazy, but if Sol Stein is right (and I have no reason to doubt him), then what remains will be stronger because of it. I will need to be ruthless and slice out every bit of text that is unnecessary. Scalpel all parts without tension. Excise useless adjectives and adverbs, making sure my verbs and nouns are as strong as they can be.

Thankfully, my daughter is not in the terrible position I am. Her book is only 850 pages. What? 850? Yes … and pushing 200,000 words. After a recent talk I convinced her that she needed to cut her “book” into “two books”, so we found the middle, adjusted it 17 pages to come to the end of part 2, and found it was a PERFECT spot to divide her book. She was so taken with the idea that she started correcting me when I spoke about Part 3. “No, no … you mean book 2!” she told me.

So then she ends up with 2 books at the perfect 100,000 mark, and I end up with a nasty editing job. Unfortunately, my book doesn’t divide nicely.

Either way … Further Up and Further In!

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