Laying Out the Bones

Time to get radical. I’ve been hovering around the 130 page mark far for too long (moving things, changing things, fighting with things and ripping out things), the page count has ebbed and flowed like the tide – problem is it’s a book not a beach, and the page count would be fine if I was aiming for a 300 page novel, but I’m not, I’m looking at twice that.

Last weekend I surged forward and the page count currently sits at over 160 pages with no turning back. I’ve done my slash-and-burn. However, that doesn’t slow the clock down any, so it’s time to get a wriggle on – for those who aren’t familiar with the expression, it means I need to get moving.

I normally like to work with a clean area, but it’s time to open all my working files and lift over everything I have. I need to lay out all the pieces – all the bones of the story – nice and neat and in order, and have a look at what I’ve got and what is missing.


The upside to doing this is that it will give me an immediate big boost on the page count and look and feel really good. The downside is that there will be nothing left to bring in afterwards, no hidden caches of work-already-done – so that really good feeling will be short-lived as I come to grips what still has to come together.

However, it’s the fastest way forward. I need to know where I stand and where I would best direct my thoughts. Learning “what still has to come together” is exactly what I need to do.

The lift across will take a few days. I have a lot of working files and more pages out of the manuscript than in the manuscript. I need to sort it all into order and discard the inevitable clutter that will be clogging up individual folders.

I will let you know how it all goes.

Cheers, everyone. Happy writing!



14 thoughts on “Laying Out the Bones

  1. D. Emery Bunn

    Having a sudden wordcount spike sounds like a big letdown, but I understand why you’re doing it. Progress needs to be on the page, so that a realistic assessment of hitting “the deadline” can be made.

    Myself, I write in order with all of the “background notes” kept alive in my head, so the only spikes I get are when I’ve written a ton that day. One of these days I should try pre-writing a ton, it sounds like it would be an eye-opening experience for me.

    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      The pre-writing happens for me almost by accident. If something is flowing well and I’m getting word-perfect in my head, I have to catch it or I will lose the details. So I write out whatever it is and pop it into the right folder (usually a character’s name), so I know where to retrieve it from when the time comes.

      While writing my first book, I tried keeping all such things right there in the manuscript file, but found it got too cluttered and made it very hard for moving things around. I ended up with too much out of order. That’s why now I try to keep my working space clear so I have room to move… and now this has happened, where I’m not sure what I have and what I haven’t, so I still end up in a tangle!

      Comes from writing in too many directions at once, I think, on a manuscript that’s big. You’re much more sensible. 😀

      1. D. Emery Bunn

        I’m just as guilty of big manuscripts. Darkness Concealed was 103,259 at the end of the second draft…now it’s 112,097, and still climbing. Apparently when I speed-draft I cut out a lot of the side details that help things make sense.

        1. A.D. Everard Post author

          That makes us in the same bracket for big books – although I claim a win on numbers. 😛

          The Khekarian Threat (book 1) sits at 170,200 words and The King’s Sacrifice (book 2) has 161,600. All in the series will be roughly the same length.

          I prefer a big book, I love a story I can climb into and if it’s a big book it allows me to stay there longer. 🙂

        2. A.D. Everard Post author

          Not sure what you mean by “filler”. If you mean clutter that just fills the pages but could as easily not be there – then I’m sure you don’t have any. I can’t imagine you writing a simple plot that needs filling out. If you’ve got a big book, I imagine it’s because you’ve got a lot of things happening.

          Mine is multi-threaded, in effect two stories intertwined. I could have cut the first one in two and made two books out of it (I nearly did), but I didn’t want a serial. I wanted each book to be complete and have an ending, so I left it big. That rather dictated the size the next one was, as well as for the rest of the series. That’s why I say I write double books.

        3. D. Emery Bunn

          You’re right. My story has 5 climaxes, 4 parts, 4 main characters, and a whole boatload of “we’re not sure what’s going on here.” Complex in the extreme, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

        4. A.D. Everard Post author

          Sounds good. Multiple main characters work well and give the reader a choice of favorite. I do that, too. Seems like we have a lot in common. 🙂

  2. writingsprint

    No hidden caches — as in, blank slate? As in, let’s open the front gate and let the dog run as far as he can? Sounds like you’ll have a world of possibilities open to you soon.

    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      Well, I’ve pretty well got the blank slate in any case – the caches were more like idea files, although also a place to hold written scenes that did not yet have a position in the main file (manuscript), but would do. I liked those files in the background because it made me feel that there was more work done than existed in the manuscript alone. Once they’re cleared out, I will have lost that little pillow of comfort.

      That said, though, I have already noticed, as quickly as I clear them out, more stuff is going in marked for later, so it seems that pillow of comfort will last a little longer. 🙂

      1. writingsprint

        I’ve found that as I use stuff, the movement gets the creative juices flowing again so I can come up with more ideas. It sounds like you have the same thing here 🙂 .


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