Archive for September, 2010

Bookends, Pt. II

Felt like someone hit me with a baseball bat last night as I realized how much power the bookends control – if I get it right.

Before this morning I knew I was close, but I also knew I needed something extra to really bring it home. This morning I found what I was looking for, a way to juxtapose my peace with the continuing turmoil.

We’ll see if it does the job.

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Just about time to tie the whole thing together. I’ll refresh my bookends as there are a couple of things I want to add to heighten the overall impact.

I’m still not very happy with the Pierrepont section – too much gloom. Ironic considering I always thought of Pierrepont as a bit of Animal House. Now I see just how far removed from reality I’d become.

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Doing some rough editing of the final two chapters at present. Last night I decided moving some stuff out of the second to last chapter was the right thing to do. Today I did the move, then chopped it down from a page to a paragraph. When I read the result, I got chills. Interesting…

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Dancin’ Days

Dancin’ Days – Spring 1983, the second to last chapter (as of this moment). Getting closer and closer to the final page.

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Gutting and Cutting

I decided to slice and dice things a bit. I knew I had some rearranging to do, but when I took a look at the end result I wasn’t happy with it. So I gutted an entire chapter and moved a couple of the main elements to where they belonged. Took out some info I didn’t have a rock-solid clear memory of, and changed the tone of the rest to more closely match what it was really like for me at the time. I’m not done yet, but the changes are very pleasing.

And as a bonus, the word count went down by about a thousand words.

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I’ve got the end of the book in sight, I’m trucking along quite nicely, but all the while I have this nagging feeling that something isn’t going quite as well as I’m thinking. And then it hits – the time line is off. I’m thinking how bad?

So I go back to my notes and letters to see where I screwed up. At first it looks bad, really bad – chapters are going to get rearranged at best. More likely they’ll be gutted altogether, leaving me with a bunch of bits and pieces to fit together.

On closer inspection, though, the situation doesn’t look so dire. Something I thought happened in January 1983 actually happened in December 1982, and something I thought happened in February 1983 happened in mid-March 1983. One event that I thought happened over Christmas ’82 didn’t happen until Easter 1983, or else I’ve lost my mind.

I’m sure there are a few other minor details. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and fix them.

Happy happy joy joy.

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Voices from the past

When I started writing Over the Hills and Far Away, I presumed everyone I knew put as much distance between them and the schools as I had, and that over time people changed and went their separate ways never to look back. I’ve been surprised and humbled at just how wrong I’d been.

Over the years I’ve heard from most of the people I knew at the time, all with very positive comments about those days and not a hint of hesitation in answering my questions, even if I pressed. I am truly thankful for the encouragement and support I’ve received.

I try to update the website with *something* at least once a month and, as I wind down this particular project and move onto others, I will change the site’s focus accordingly though I’m sure it will return to OTHAFA once the screenplay is completed. 😉

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I’m constantly amazed and glad at how rethinking and resequencing can make all the difference in the world. Yesterday I started doodling, hoping inspiration would hit me because I had no idea how I was going to rescue the latest chapter. It was so A, B, C, then D and completely lacked any real impact. I was left thinking, “what’s the point of the chapter?” and that is a sure sign of a needed cut.

Today, despite some smart assed Leprechaun pounding away with his pointy little pickax inside my skull, I managed to turn the chapter around, and now the chapter hits exactly the way I wanted it to.

I still need to tweak the part where the Saudi started shooting at me on the beach and when another Saudi tried to get me into his car with promises of “a good time”, but the flow and content of the chapter is about as perfect as it’s going to get. Well, until tomorrow at least. 😉

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Word count wonders

I mentioned the day before yesterday that my word count had increased. It’s still increasing and will continue to do so as I add more details such as my take on the Falklands War.

What will remain after the final cut I can’t say for sure, but I’m also trimming fat at every opportunity and it’s been a very rewarding experience.

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Word count growing

Word count now stands at 94,740. If they’re good words then that’s okay. Being a realist, however, I see pruning in the near future.

My latest edits have taken me down a path I’d been reluctant to go down, but if I’m to be honest then I must. Just more putting myself in the spotlight which is not always kind to me.  I gotta do what I gotta do.

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