camp nano banner 2018

I’m still at Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m still editing Curved Space to Corsair.

Even better news, my illustrator has got to the window of opportunity she had to do the cover device for it!

My Darlings

Darlings are those things you love, that you keep doing, that you don’t realise you can’t let go of, and YOU JUST HAVE TO.

I’ve already told you before how much I love looks that people give – to each other, as a means of expression, as a direction…

Here are a few more I’ve discovered.

  • my go-to letter for planet names is M.  Maturians were mixing with Mendacians, while the Magorrians were drinking Mongallan tea. Maturians are no longer mixing with Mendacians, although both are still around. Lagorrians now drink tea from Freemantle.
  • I also have a large number of species and people with names starting with G. Gnarssants as well as G’naussians in consecutive chapters. Gnarssants are now Triassians, since G’naussians appeared in the first book.
  • Lars hmmphs a lot.  Pete even tells him off for it occasionally. I’ve made this into something more because it’s catching, and Pete throws a wobbly when Dolores starts doing it too.  I’ll wait for my editor to tell me whether this character flaw in Lars is funny the way it gets on everyone’s nerves, or whether it just gets on the reader’s nerves.  Then again, I changed someone else who hmmphed into harrumphed, which is, of course, entirely different!
  • I have a relatively short scene with Maggie and Lars in which Maggie is encouraging Lars to work out more.  It’s got some interesting stuff about the effect of space on the body, but, except for Lars feeling his lack of fitness later on, it doesn’t really add to the story. Maybe as light relief. I’ve currently left it in, highlighted as a possible cut. But it’s definitely a ‘darling’ because I like it and don’t want to let it go!
  • when I was doing my ‘look’ search and replace, I got the feeling I was introducing ‘check’ a lot.  Sure enough, there were nearly as many of those as there were ‘looks’!  So I had to do a search and replace on that too, which was interesting, because several other words were much better than check, depending on the context. I resisted changing a couple back to ‘look’, too!

Look – an excerpt to demonstrate

I seem to be getting better at look.  Going through to check them all out, I allowed roughly one per page. I haven’t had to change nearly as many as previous books. This interchange was fun. Pete, Lars, Dolores and Maggie have discovered that their computer’s voice program has some uses, and they are turning ‘him’ on:

“Computer, how will you know you’re included in a conversation.”

“I can take it from the context in which you are talking, or if you address me specifically.” The computer used a measured baritone, with a slight Brahen accent. “If you prefer me to take a visual clue, I can put an image of me on a screen and you can see me as you would see each other.”

“Mmm, nice voice,” Maggie whispered, which made them all laugh. 

“What do you look like?” Dolores asked.

“You may choose from a range of images. I can display—“

“Let’s leave that to later,” Pete said.

“Let’s leave that to the girls,” Lars added. “They’ll probably get a better face to go with the voice than we would.”

from Curved Space to Corsair, in prep. © 2018 J M Pett

All those marked in bold were ‘look’ before I edited it.  I decided one ‘look’ in the exchange was enough!  But the repetition of ‘see’ is deliberate.  I think nobody would make an effort not to repeat the word they are using in that context. ‘See’ replaced two ‘look at’s though, and you can see that it makes it better.  I had a long thought about Dolores asking ‘what do you look like’ and decided nobody in their right mind would ask anything else.  Okay, more formally you might say ‘Describe yourself’.  Please disagree if you like!

Progress report

So the wordcount is now 88,000 words, which is about right for the type of book.  That’s without all the front and back matter, of course, which could add as much as 1,000 more.

All the little definitions that I use at the start of chapters are done, and they now have some bearing on the chapter, mostly.  In a way they are darlings too, but it’s a quirk of the series, and it will continue.  I wanted to put them in a hyperlinked set of pages on the website, but it’s too complex, as I don’t know how to do bookmarks in html.  I could do it as an ebook very easily, though. There’s a future project.

I could probably reduce it more if I needed to lop another 5,000 off, but there’s no necessity to do that.  But I should now wait for my editor’s views, do the changes, and then think about further trimming.

I wonder what other darlings she’ll point out to me?


Postcard from Camp week 3: My Darlings #campnanowrimo
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One thought on “Postcard from Camp week 3: My Darlings #campnanowrimo

  • 28 July, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Your name issues made me smile. I have the same tendency to land on a letter and stay there. As for the “looks,” sometimes even the over-used word is the right word.

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