Checking in – nearly five months later

The hacking 50k words out of Boralos is still underway, having been interrupted by various pesky excrescences of real life. I'm about six chapters from the end (of sixty chapters), and looking like being about 130k words by the time I'm finished. That's slightly less than I was asked to cut out (50 rather than 60k) but I'm pretty happy with it as a first pass, and suspect that I can carve more from the first third still.

What's more, I'm pleased with the changes its wrought to the story itself. I'd always been worried that there was a little too much sitting around and talking going on (but then again, I'm constantly worried that I'm a derivative, pedestrian, paint-by-numbers storyteller who's committing all the sins I hate most about genre fiction and delivering nothing big, nothing new, nothing amazing and I should give up right now and set fire to my work… so basically I squint suspiciously at everything my subconscious kicks up about my writing and often ask other people for their opinions). On the other hand, I'd always sort of been aiming for “political fantasy of manners (in the tropics)” for this book, so I have resisted most strenuously the urge to have people dashing about doing uncivilised violence instead. But in the course of editing, I've been able to trim, combine, elide, circumvent and trick out quite a bit of the sitting-around-talking stuff.

Once I'm done, I may need to find one or two readers who haven't seen the thing before to see if it still makes sense, or if I've cut out something vital to the plot without realising. That could be tricky, since I think I imposed upon just about everyone I know to read it the first time. We'll see.

(While I've been doing this I have, of course, had another story idea. I've always been a bit hysterical-laughter about that whole “how do you get your ideas?” question. I want to respond with, “How do you stop??“)

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