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I’m Onto the Final Draft(s)!

Finally–I’ve moved onto the final drafting part of my novel. I’ve been in Excel for a year because it organizes my thoughts without

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crimping my creativity. I use its columns to tell my which character is up, which scene I’m in, time of day/month/etc. That way I don’t lose track when my character is dressing or eating. I always know their temporal and physical location. If I need to find a character’s last scene, it’s a simple process of scrolling back in the ‘character’ column.

True, I stretched the limits of Excel’s cell contents (well, 2003 anyway. 2007 seems to have none), but that was a minor inconvenience.

A week ago, I transferred the entire bloated monstrosity to Word–178,390 words. OMG. Time to shed a few pounds, but Word is better for that than Excel. Already, I’m down to 138,341 and all I’ve done is cut the obvious fat. Wait’ll I really get into it. Which I can’t do while I’m just back to teaching. I’ll have to wait for Thanksgiving vacation, when I have a week to really dig into the verbosity.

I turned the first chapter into my writer’s group, after much rewriting and worry, hoping that they wouldn’t mangle it too much. What was their most prominent comment? It read like Chapter 2. I needed an action scene in front. They have no idea I’m supposed to be cutting not adding.

Unfortunately, without too much introspection, I agree with them. I’m off Wednesday (have to take my husband to the hospital for ‘minor’ surgery). Maybe I can whip out an extra chapter if I work at it for twelve hours. Assuming Husband doesn’t need much hand-holding.e’ll see. I’ll let you know.

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6 thoughts on “I’m Onto the Final Draft(s)!

  1. I’m counting on that–cutting redundancies later. I spent the weekend chopping and have it down to 127,500. Getting there! I agree about being careful of too much focus on cutting. I’m so used to my story, I have to be careful not to cut out critical detail.

    Thanks for taking time to comment in the midst of your marketing flurry!

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  2. When you add that chapter, you may find that there are redundancies you can cut elsewhere as a result. That happened to me when I had to add the extra chapter to Separation of Faith following the beta reader input.

    As long as you stay right around 120,000 words or less, you’ll be in an acceptable ballpark. I’m reminded of the lesson I learned early this year (and blogged about) where I was so focused on minimizing my word count that I wasn’t letting the story be told the way the readers wanted to experience it. So that’s a fine line and balance to manage.

    But I have to say that anyone who can write the first draft of a novel in Excel can pretty much do just about anything, in my opinion. You’re really something, Jacqui!

    Hugs. –Cheri

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  3. Putting your character information into a Excel spreadsheet is an amazing idea, not sure how or why I’ve never thought of that before as I love laying out everything in spreadsheets, it makes things so much easier!
    Good luck with your final draft!

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    • It started as way to organize the story before adding detail. Then, I found out it was much simpler to keep track of everything with by merging cells for days–one quick down arrow and I’m on to the next day. It’s usefulness is showing in that now, in Word, I am having a much cleaner editing job.

      Thanks for visiting.

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