Tag Archives: The Librarian

Revising Meet the Larssons, Day 5: What’s the Third Pile For?

Holly Lisle describes the set up for the Manuscript Slog as requiring space for your spiral notebook and three piles:  one for the pages you haven’t reviewed yet, one for the pages you’ve reviewed and marked up, and one for the pages you’ve reviewed but haven’t made any revisions to.

So far, I only need two piles.  I reworked another 10 pages last night, and 7 more tonight — through page 76 — and I sincerely doubt I will ever need a pile for that last category.  I mean, really, if I got an entire page of MTL perfect the first time, it would be only by coincidence, the same way that if you put a monkey in front of a word processor and let him type long enough, he might turn out a page of comprehensible English.  And yes, I’m the monkey in that example.

By cutting the first eight chapters, I cut approximately 11,900 words.  As I’m editing into the meat of the book now, I worry when I cut lines or paragraphs that I’m cutting too much.  But in addition to all the cutting, I’m doing a lot of rewriting (as opposed to revising):

Selected pages from tonight's Slog.

Selected pages from tonight's Slog.

The front of page 72 - I kept the first two lines, then crossed out everything else on the page and wrote over it.

The front of page 72 - I kept the first two lines, then crossed out everything else on the page and wrote over it.

I continued onto the back of page 72, and then on to page 72.1 in my notebook -- it flows neatly into the original start to page 73.

I continued onto the back of page 72, and then on to page 72.1 in my notebook -- it flows neatly into the original start to page 73.

I do feel like my writing has improved in this past year, though, so I would hope that MTL will get better on the rewrite.  God knows, it can’t get worse.  There’s a reason this part of the process is called the Manuscript Slog:  it’s like wading through a fetid swamp, and being bitten to death my mosquitoes above the water line while leeches drain your blood below it, but in a good way.  Imagine being Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, towing the boat and Katherine Hepburn upriver, and you’ll have some idea what I mean.  In the end, you know there will be the satisfaction of a job well done, a hearty handshake of congratulations, and a helping hand to pull off the leeches.

Which reminds me:  my first blogiversary is coming up on December 17.  Not the leeches, the feeling as though my writing has improved in this past year).  I need to prepare for My Year in Review About Me, with a very special post about me.  Please remember to stop by on Dec. 17, and leave a comment — about me, my year of blogging, whatever else you’d like to say … about me.

Here’s something about me that you’ve probably already figured out:  I am an enormous geek (enormous being the size of my geekitude, not me; I’m kind of short). Because I am an enormous geek, I am unreasonably excited that TNT has produced a new movie in The Librarian series.  The really geeky part?  This is the third one in the series, and only now are the Mrs. and I talking about whether the kids might enjoy watching it, too.