NewBook Progress

Today–tonight, actually–I cleared up a major problem found late last week.   In moving things from file to file, chunks of a secondary “transfer” file got mangled and I hadn’t noticed.  Luckily, since I knew I wasn’t thinking as well as I used to, I kept multiple earlier drafts under different titles, and was able to find the complete draft of that section (it’s about 8-9 pages).   I gave it a contrasting color (to be easy to find) and saved it twice, once with a title that contained Save Until Final MS and the other that said [plotpoint] for editing. Then I inserted the latter copy into the main ms. file, deleted the mangled bits, made sure everything fit together properly before and after.   And did some mild editing, just to calm my nerves again, on the  eight pages (changed a couple of verbs, took out a clumsy transition and put in a smoother one) before saving the ms. and staring at the wall, trying to organize what next.  Oh yes.  After midnight.  Bed would be a good idea.

The eight pages reveals that electricians have been working on the place for the past ten days…but nothing in the action of the last ten days mentions that…hmmm.  Yes, they needed an upgtrade of some wiring and some storage units in the basement, which we haven’t seen yet, so there’s something to work on tomorrow.  (There’s PLENTY to work on all this next week, along with getting M- his second COVID shot, and a trip to the dentist, and a trip to the city to pay his rent & utilities.  But I can’t just dump something like “Yes, that’s what the electricians have been doing in the basement the last ten days” when as far as readers know the last ten days were all about something ELSE.  As a reader, that would stop me in my tracks and I’d sit there flipping pages to see what I’d missed.

There’s about 30 days in the summer, now, that I know are packed full of busy-busy-busy, but not all of it’s plot-worthy.  How many times do you want to read through instructors trying to teach kids of different ages and stages of training to do various things with horses and ponies?  And deal with gardening, housekeeping routines, trips to and from town for groceries, visits to the clinic, and suchlike?  Not as many times as these things happened, since they’re just routine everyday…oh, and deliveries of hay and feed, and hauling away of manure…it’s stuff that interests the characters doing it, but readers, I hope, will be more interested in whether Ky’s used a blue card yet, and why a character didn’t know something Ky thinks he should have known, and why another character is so very hostile, and so on.  Nonetheless, plotworthy or not, that pink and purple 3 drawer chest is staying IN.

All of which ARE plotworthy but are layered onto the existing day-by-day of bringing a large  household into full working order, while working around the invited but still chaotic invasion of riding instructors, horses. the whole riding school support system.   The plotworthy bits need to be shoved around so they make a reasonable (for some definition of reasonable) sequence without leaving too many long stretches of ho-hum more of the same.  I didn’t have to worry about this sort of thing previously, but…though the ingredients are in this book now, almost all complete, it still needs to have a temporal sequence that will make sense.  Not some crushed together plot-bits with  long pauses between.    Luckily, Ky’s past exploits have ways to stick their pins on the map, to throw out yet another metaphor or simile or…I am too tired now and need to go to bed.

9 thoughts on “NewBook Progress

  1. Bed sounds like the right idea. Good for you!

    I’m so glad to read that the knitting brain and the writing brain have been coming back. Your descriptions are so clear, but reading them made my heart heavy. I hope you have weather suitable for riding and getting out on the land, AND the time available to do so. Of course it will also be a good sign when New Book insists you spend time on it, rather than clean-up feeling like an obligation.

    If distances and circumstances were different, I’d be delighted to introduce you to a friend with gaited Peruvian Paso Finos. Riding one provides a remarkably different experience from riding the generic saddle horses that my late uncles owned.

    I’m glad that Jazzlet’s idea worked for you. The Marie Kondo “Does it bring you joy…” philosophy comes to mind, with the addition of “… or find it useful?” The challenge for me is actually getting rid of the items that fail the tests! The other approach of shedding of replaceable items, and realizing that you made a mistake on some items and need/want them again, still means that you have eliminated the rest, so congratulations! Easy to say, still difficult to do.

    Best wishes to you, and R____, and M____.

    1. New Book’s being demanding right now. Headstrong, even, which is definitely a good sign. I have actually ridden a Peruvian Paso…they’re amazing, aren’t they? The feel is a little different even from other Paso Fino breeds, and VERY different (as you said) from TWH and various “easy-gaited” other horses I’ve ridden. (The days when I could put a name and complete description to every horse I’d been on is past…) I still think Ragtime (Rags) has a tendency to gait a little…his fast walk goes syncopated sometimes. Right now we’re in a rainy spell we really needed, and the horses need their hooves trimmed.

  2. Hi – I don’t know – the day to day happenings can be a part of a novel – like Dickens who takes 100 pages to set a scene with a lot of day to day things happening, then bang there is a page or two of desperate action – and then he starts all over again. Like Lady Cecelia with her horses – much of her interactions could be considered just fluff – but in the end it helps us to understand her character. What would your readers who help you write say? But going to bed is good too. Stay safe and sane,
    Jonathan up here in windy New Hampshire.

    1. Yeah, and it depends on what kind of novel you’re writing. Some are day-to-day things mostly (or entirely) with the slow unfolding of a character, and some have a lot more obvious forward motion. It’s like horse breeds. There’s as much “character” in a draft horse as in a hotblood, but the experience of dealing with them day to day is quite different. Even my two show their very different characters in their level of activity, their level of alertness. Tigger’s a “What’s that! Look! Listen! Alert!!” animal, so his plotline if centered on his character would still involve ‘alarums and excursions’, while Ragtime is very much a “What? Oh, that’s over there and there’s grass/hay/feed right here” so his character plotline would be mostly about eating, loafing, and how heavy his rider is.

  3. I think the day to day activities are useful in showing the picture of the characters states of mind. You did it very effectively for Dorrin Verakki and the characters around her when she returned to take charge of her childhood home. In your case it helps that you write about the commonplace as well as you write about the action, not all authors manage this – sometimes you can feel them champing to get to the ‘interesting stuff’, when if properly done the everyday provides either a build up tp or a complete contrast to the action passages.

    1. None of the three of us had any real problems with the 2nd shot…was aware it could be, but fell well within the norm for other immunizations we’ve had. Sore arm, short but definite frontal headache that responded quickly to Tylenol. M- didn’t take Tylenol for his headache and said it went away about an hour later w/o meds, so (since it took 40 minutes to drive home from our shots) the Tylenol may not have been the cure I’d thought…maybe it would’ve disappeared on its own. Other than that, sore arm for a day to two days (not sure when it faded completely but only the first 24 hours were the sorest.)

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