For anybody following on from home (or wherever you read my little posts from), you may have noticed that it has been some time since I’ve provided an update about the progress of Till Death Do Us Party.
“Have you abandoned it?” I hear you gasp, taking an unhealthy interest in somebody else’s work. “Please, say it isn’t so,” I hear you plead. So, please answer those gasps and pleas with a status update.
I have, indeed, taken a hiatus from working on this; taking some time to let the story breathe (or, perhaps more accurately, fester away in my head) before taking on the third draft. A good portion of this hiatus was spent working on another novel: one hugely productive month thanks to National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as us hip kids hating excess keystrokes call it), and a rather unproductive five weeks spent finishing what I call “draft zero” of a project that I am not ready to talk about yet, and will stay silent on until it takes shape through future edits, or not at all, as it sits there, never to be looked at again. I hope it’s the former.
Finally, as 2022 dawned, it was once again time for me to start work on this once more. After consulting The Infernal Dictionary and the demons contained therein, it was time to get back to work.
And that work? Taking a red pen to draft two, hacking and slashing it, letting its pages run red. And boy, have those pages run red. Those pages have run so red, in fact, that I had to take a second red pen to it, after the first red pen sacrificed itself. A noble sacrifice in the name of my art, for which I am eternally grateful.
So, what did I change? Not a huge amount, it turns out.
The crux of the story, which I won’t get into here, remains the same. The characters remain the same; with nobody added or removed from the story. It still comprises 34 chapters; no more, no less.
It appears that I have been on the right track, or at least a track that I don’t yet find completely offensive to the English language. So I’m staying on the track. It’s a track fraught with danger, complete with hurdles that need to be jumped.
In taking the red pen to draft two, I didn’t jump those hurdles; that is a problem for Future Was, and something I assume he will grow to resent Present Was for. But I cleared a number of those hurdles, removing them from the track. I also moved a few of them, while adding several more—either because I really want Future Was to resent me, or because they just kept popping up while I wasn’t paying attention. I’m still not really sure.
To drop the track analogy (those two paragraphs really are a little too much), I cut out chunks of text. Some are gone for good, while I replaced others with all new chunks. Hopefully, new and improved chunks, but time will tell. I cut a lot of jokes, replacing them with ones that I think are funnier. I have restructured chapters, mixing and matching them to create some kind of Frankenstein’s monster in their place.
And—I hope—Till Death Do Us Party will be all the stronger for these changes. Something a little more focused, something to help the story and themes (oh yes, this book has motherfucking themes!) shine through.
But for now, it’s time for Present Was to hand the reins over to Future Was. And Future Was has his work cut out for him, interpreting my red scrawls and rewriting the text as appropriate.
(Present Was, that is. Future Was is already hard at work on those rewrites, thanks to the joys of scheduling these posts. So, I guess I that now makes me Past Was, with Present Was undertaking the rewrites. Yeah… I’m glad I’m not writing a time travel story, too.)