I retroed back to a far earlier edit today to find the best way to rewrite the ending of Chapter 5. This excites me because I’ve never before done anything like that. Usually, if I find it necessary to delete something, it stays deleted or I create something better in its place. Today, the only replacement that worked was what I’d had before my edits.
With each new edit of Damen I create a new file. The current file is “damen1-9e”. The 1 is still the first draft and e is the fifth version of the first draft, but the 9 is a mystery to me. The previous file was “damen1-8d” and before that “damen1-7c” and for the longest time, I had a file called “damen1-6b” which is what I called my “heavy notes,” but I don’t remember ever having just a “damen-1a” somewhere. I think I just started naming them to keep all the notes straight.
Anyway, I went back to 7c which is the first complete version of the first draft to find some prose about Damen and Tabitha. I remember hating the idea that this scene needed to get cut in 8d, but in 9e, I’m so excited I’m the digital packrat that I am. Of course, I jazzed up the original text, but just knowing that I’ve got my safety net is a comfort.
I’ve got the book down to 171K and I laughed as I told myself this morning, “If I can just cut 5 thousand words every five chapters from here on out, I’ll be set!” This novel is turning into an algebra problem: Dorienne needs to delete 50,000 words from her novel. If Dorienne has 30 chapters and 150,000 words remaining to review, how many words per chapter does Dorienne need to delete?
Still, 171K word isn’t the 175K I had at the start of July and it’s not the 289K I had back in March; any movement forward is still progress…