I counted the number of copies of my novel that I have stored on various drives. I have... wait for it... forty-one copies. Forty-one! And that just includes the laptop and portable flash drives where I store my backup copies, not the PC itself. It also doesn't include all the files with chapters, chapter notes, and other material.
You know you used to work in clinical data management when....
I've got a paper trail, baby! If anyone wants to audit my files, it's all here.
I had to create yet another new copy today, because, based on the results of last weekend's First Page Blogfest, I've decided to cut the first three chapters off the novel and start it where it used to - Chapter 4. That is the "waterfall scene" for those of you who are familiar with it. So now I have the huge headache of trying to weave all that great character and background info through the rest of the book. I'm going to miss the nightstalkers in the snow. I really am. Maybe I can put them in the next book.
Why did I make this decision? Because I realized that the inciting incident occurs in that scene. So if I want to jumpstart the narrative, I have to put that first. I have to make Raynor the focus of attention from the beginning.
Sorry, Michelle G., the kissing scene has to be cut, also. I got icky responses from my male readers. That really seemed to turn them off. It wasn't really working for me, either. I think it's going to have to be a flashback. In fact, I think I'm going to have to put several flashbacks in there. And find a new way to introduce Harth and his prowess with a bow, and to emphasize his and Faldur's friendship. I don't know yet how I'm going to make that work.
Why is none of this getting any easier? Okay, I guess it's a little easier in that I'm more confident about my decisions. But I still can't understand how people can pound out novels in a month or two, revise them and send them off to agents lickety-split. Am I too careful, or just mentally challenged?
I want this book to be done. Oh, how I want it to be done! But done well. And that, as they say, takes time.