Yep, it’s revision time again, this time for Wyoming. Scott is out of town, leaving me free to co-opt the kitchen table to dissect the manuscript. It’s a bloody process. Dead darlings all over the floor, accompanied by maniacal laughter every time I kill another one. Entire limbs amputated. Red ink everywhere. A good five (okay, closer to ten) marked-up pages to every one that sneaks through change-free—and that, only because I probably missed something.
Today, just to make things more fun, I came across a scene that I have absolutely no memory of writing. “What the hell is that?” I said, much like Steve Martin and Bill Murray in the (can it be?) 35-year-old sketch. But it worked, so it stayed it. Speaking of “absolutely” no memory: I thought I’d gotten pretty good about forbidding access to adverbs. But the damn ms. is full of them, all of them emphatic. “Absolutely” (God help me, more than once). “Completely.” “Truly.”
Absolutely embarrassing. Completely unnecessary. Truly godawful. I probably used up an entire red pen deleting such nonsense.
While my head is full of Wyoming, Dakota is out in the world, seeking a cozy bookshelf—although a nightstand or floor will do nicely, not to mention an e-reader, tablet or phone—to call its own. Readings start next week (see the schedule, here), which means I’ve got to forget about Wyoming’s Wind River region for awhile and think of things to say about North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. Let’s just see if I can get through this without adding some lines about strippers to Wyoming, and bringing up veterans and PTSD when I talk about Dakota.