Monday, August 26, 2013

Progress Report -- August 26, 2013

Here's something I didn't know until recently: the publishing industry is kind of like school. They have a summer vacation.

Now how could I not know that? I work in the publishing industry. We certainly don't get the summer off... we don't even really slow down in the summer. Individuals take vacations, but the company keeps trucking along at full steam (is that a mixed metaphor? Were there steam-driven trucks? Never mind).

Maybe it's different for Sounds True, or for non-fiction, or what have you. In any case, summer months are the doldrums for fiction, so my agent and I are regrouping and gearing up for our next assault once editors get back from their holidays.

For me, regrouping meant a rewrite of Dragon Waking, which I managed to trim by 100 pages (previously 350, now 250), without, I think, losing anything essential. There were only a few big chunks that I thought I could drop entirely. The rest of the process was like cutting down a tree with sandpaper. Every sentence, every paragraph, and every exchange of dialogue got scrutinized, and I tightened up everything I could.

At first, it was agonizing. And then I started to really enjoy it. I learned a lot.

I also figured out something more exciting to do with the second chapter, which amplifies the tension in the all-important early pages. So that's good.

In short, Dragon Waking has slimmed down into the middle-weight division (or middle-grade) and is leaner, meaner, and ready to get in the ring and mix it up. Fortunately, unlike prize fighting, you only have to win one bout in this game to come out ahead.