Monday, January 31, 2005

The Treadmill

I just spent an hour tonight on the treadmill, walking my way through the entire "Starship, Greatest Hits" album. It's a great one to work out to, because it has a good mix of slower speed songs and faster speed songs, and takes approximately an hour to get all the way through. That got me 2.5 miles and burned over 300 calories. Yep, it's get in shape time. I'd forgotten how good it feels to get all the muscles perfectly warmed up, and then just at the point where you're breaking a sweat, the endorphins kick in. No wonder they say Sagittarians like cardio. Gotta love that 5% grade at a speed of 4mph. Hey, it's only my first day back, after all! I'll hit it harder as I get the muscle tone back. But it occurs to me that there's another writing analogy here.

That last long stretch through the end of a manuscript can be a killer slope that makes you gasp for air, or it can be the place where the endorphins kick in and you feel like you can go on at that same speed for miles--or however long it takes. I'm editing Shadows now, and words are coming off and going on like poundage on a roller coaster diet. But I'm not burnt out on the story, for whatever reason. I'm still discovering things I didn't know about characters, figuring out why So-and-So did what he did in Chapter Whatever. I'm taking things from here and fitting them in over there and whipping the plot into fighting shape. Went from 161,000 words to 146,000 words in a very short span of time. Some more stuff will be taken out, some will go back in, and on occasion two scenes will be compressed into one before we get to the scale for the final weigh-in.

Then, presumably, I get the manuscript to Bob and we--or the future publishers--drag out a whole new scale.

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