I'm steadily moving down in word count, repairing plots and trying to tighten up my words. I know that writing about it doesn't help, but I'm partially distracted and partially getting frustrated. I'm driven to do it (down to 106k words) but I still find myself making the occasional detour.

This week's detour was to improve MfGames Writing suite. I added a mfgames-docbook count operation that does a word count on the Docbook file but not counting all the extra cruft of metadata.

Right now, I'm writing in Creole format. So my file looks like this:

= Some Title

> A two-line
> quote.

I like cheese.

Now, technically this is 8 words, but most word count programs count it as 12 because they include the two ">" and the "=". Now, that might not mean a lot in this example, but I have commented out paragraphs, notes on point of view, location, time, etc. And those were included in the word count.

This is one of those drawbacks of not using Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org.

I also split up the book a little more, trying to find other ways of looking at it so I can trim it down. Most of my chapters had two or more sections representing the same POV but time passing between the elements. The chapters were also averaging about 7k words each.

I wrote a quick little Perl program to split them into individual chapters. It increased it fairly sharply (42 chapters now), but almost all of my scenes are in the 2.2k word range; but I found a few sections that were very long and ripe candidates for word count reduction.

I also taught mfgames-creole docbook how to understand copyrights so it parts that output correctly. With that format, you put metadata in the beginning of the file.

= Some Title
Author: D. Moonfire
Copyright: 2011, D. Moonfire
Point of View: Bob
Time: Yesterday
* Location: The Moon

And here is a chapter beginning...

Except for Author and Copyright, everything else is turned into a Docbook subjectset. Author is parsed as is copyright. For my short stories (got about 90 now), that suits well because it a) searches nicely, b) lets me format those specially using PDF, and c) gives me a rough timeline so I can see how my writing as improved, and d) appeals to the programmer in me.

One reason I included the POV and time is because, I think, that when I recombine the chapters back up. I can write a quick little program (probably Perl since that is my go-to language) to combine all the scenes that have the same POV and rough timeframe. And that was my previous rule for creating chapters.

Well, just wanted to write about what I was doing… gonna edit now.

2011-09-21