Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Mind Over Matter edits

It's been 3 weeks since I started the Mind Over Mind edits. I'm on page 208. I'm down from 132,000 words to 105,000 and am thinking I can cut 10,000 more. I am scrapping one major subplot/deep background about Joshua and building up the romantic tension with Deryl and Tasmae. I've also cut a lot of redundancy and explained some information earlier on instead of being cute and trying to give it piecemeal (which really ended up just rehashing things again and again).

Two minor characters, Ocapo and Terry, are taking on bigger roles, and it's fun to see them more often. Leinad went from cranky guardian to legitimate threat, and the beasts and the keep itself (which is semi-intelligent) are siding with Deryl and Josh openly. Deryl's less angsty, and Joshua, more so. I had to kill a couple of "cute" scenes, but they didn't really fit emotionally, anyway.

I had to do some pretty major manuscript surgery this past week, and just as I thought I was smooth sailing, they hit me with a new issue: thanks to the changes above, things have gotten a lot more serious a lot faster. Joshua has to get out of Dodge immeditately, and Deryl is going to be on his own when he wakes up from the psychic experience he's sharing with Tasmae. Sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun--once I write it--but I must admit, the thought leaves me with a "what, again? I thought I was done with cut-and-paste!" feeling.

No matter. The book has spoken! I shall obey!

Here's one piece of text I changed. In the first, I have Deryl and Joshua talking about Josh's fiance', Sachiko, who is not in this book. In the second, I have Deryl showing Tasmae his telekinetically-created shield.


Deryl gave a grunt of assent, then rose and went to the rack of weapons along the wall. He pulled a sword down, eyeing the craftsmanship. They’d taken his basic ideas, sure, but they’d gone well beyond anything he’d imagined. He swung it around, testing its balance. “It’s a salle, not a studio.”

“For you, maybe. I’m a dancer, not a fighter.” Joshua moved to the bench, picked up his towel and wiped off the sweat as he spoke.

“Oh, I don’t know. Sword fighting can be a kind of dance, too, you know. Have you seen Sachiko do her black belt form yet?”

“She’s got a black belt in Kendo?”

Deryl moved to where Joshua had been, took up a position, then began to move the sword in the established routine Sachiko had taught him. “Sachiko has four black belts,” he informed his friend. “And some other martial arts training as well. Her dad’s ex-Navy, special ops--“

“That explains a lot,” Joshua murmured.

“--and he wanted his only daughter to be able to handle herself.”

“She can do that,” Joshua admitted, and Deryl felt a sudden flash of Joshua’s memory of how she’d taken down and immobilized a manic patient that probably outweighed her by a hundred or more pounds.

Neither Joshua, toweling his hair dry and thinking about Sachiko pinning McDougal down with a knee and a hand, nor he, concentrating past Joshua’s inadvertent but strong memory and back his routine, noticed Tasmae silently enter the room and unsheathe her sword.

“You’ve got to get her to show you,” Deryl was saying. “She’s something to watch. Like you said, she’s got a temper. Sometimes, on really bad days at work, we’d sneak into the gym after hours and go at it with broomsticks, and I’d let her take it out on me. Or try to, at any rate. I’m very good at defending myself--“

Suddenly, he swung around and blocked Tasmae’s blow.

Joshua dropped his towel at the loud clang of metal, and saw Deryl push off of Tasmae’s swing and back away. He saw his friend grin at her, eyes sparkling, but she looked deadly serious.


“It’s a personal shield,” Deryl explained as he approached Tasmae. “Telekinetic. I imagine it covering me like armor, but I control it. I can protect myself from anything, but, if I want to touch something—“ He reached out and brushed back a strand of her hair. “I can,” he finished, his voice softer than before.

Tasmae raised her arm to knock his away, but again encountered his shield. Slowly, she set her hand on his arm.

He smiled.

Tasmae raked her nails across his arm.

“Yeow!” Deryl backed away, grabbing his arm. He backed up fast when she followed up with a kick.

“Must you always concentrate on them?” She asked. Though she continued to advance on him, swinging and kicking, she didn’t sound angry at all. Just calculating.

“Only to alter them,” Deryl replied, puffing a little as he ducked and blocked her blows. She kept pushing him back to the far wall where practice weapons waited neatly in a rack.

“Do we teach this to children, then?” she demanded. “Or can you fight and keep the shield?”

“Oh, I can fight!” Deryl spun, snagged a sword in his left hand and lunged toward her, swinging the sword wide. When she stepped back, he returned to a more natural stance while swinging his blade in a back-handed figure eight.

“Nice,” Joshua called from the other side of the room.

“Sachiko taught me,” Deryl replied.

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