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End game, redux

February 12, 2011

I passed the 60k word mark this morning. But Jeff, you say, you said you’d crossed that line last week. Are you losing it? Perhaps, but that’s neither here nor there: earlier this week I slashed somewhere between 800 and 900 words from the current (next to last) chapter, dropping me below 60,000 words, and I’ve been replacing them ever since. The last entry, where I talked about not having enough room between where I was and where the story needed to end, got me thinking, and more important, rereading.

This chapter is mostly trial testimony. The problem with testimony at this stage of a story is that it can’t help but recap earlier events, in this story and the two previous novels. There’s no way to write an interesting recap. All right, maybe someone better than me could, but I can’t, and that’s who we’re talking about here.

So I started cutting testimony, changing dialog to compressed allusions to events. Where something new or different cropped up I kept it, but I sped the scenes up considerably, and in the process created the “space” needed to make everything fit between here and the end of the next–and final–chapter.

I hope. I’m certainly in a better position to do it now.

ETA: I don’t mind having written all the raw testimony only to cut it. It was a case of needing to know what’s said even if I don’t share it all with the reader.

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