Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The First 101 Words

Perri at Lesser Apricots has a neat contest for readers of her blog to celebrate her 101 follower (which, in the days since that post, she's surpassed). It's a simple contest - just post the first 101 words of your WIP and she'll randomly pick a winner by April 12. The prizes include lots of lovely yarn, and a one page critique and some other goodies. I'm all for contests, especially small, intimate ones like this that are really a 'getting to know you' community builder. Go check out the contest and the blog.

While getting my 101 words ready, something unexpected happen. I'm on word 69,000 or so of my WIP - so close to the end that I've written about being on the road to Damascus before - I can see the finish line but I can't get there. Going back to the very first 101 words was illuminating. 

First I selected word count from tools (this is on MS Word) and figured out what 101 words looked like. It came out to a short paragraph. I looked at the paragraph hard, squinting at it, even. I found lazy words in there - words that were just standing around doing nothing. Then I found words that were confused - that I'd meant to be doing one thing, but were actually doing something different. There were even a few words that didn't make sense, like those clean cut crazies on the subway that look fine until you realize they're mumbling the black mass under their breath.

All these words came out. A very few words came back in. the process didn't take too long, it wasn't about agonizing about each word. It was just tightening up, making the words as aerodynamic and as serviceable as they could be. I'm proud of the results, that was the unexpected part. Just revising this concentrated small bit of my WIP made me feel positive, eager to get back in the fray. Revision is a terrible, terrible thing. But it can be beautiful.

So, if you are interested,read the first 101 words of BookEnd after the jump.

It’s early, before dawn but at the bakery everyone’s been up for hours. I stand where I always stand, down the alley in back, opposite her window. It’s the best place to look at her. I want to see her before she can see me. I’ll go in soon and buy the morning bread and a cinnamon knot for Story. Story got another tooth last night and she needs something to gnaw on while I finish whittling her teething ring. But the bakery isn’t open yet and I need to see Jane first, get over her loveliness before talking to her. 


  1. Great revision. Things are starting to come together. How exciting! I will be submitting the first 101 words from my NaNoWriMo novel as well.


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