In some mad urge toward upping the completed word count (as if quantity mattered over quality, am I nuts?) I melded two takes on the first section of Dog of Pell into one lumpy wodge. Since they took place in different sections of the character’s timeline, I thought it was a marvelous way to make up some time.


Trying to smooth one part into another was impossible. The tone didn’t match, so each sentence was right for its section and wrong together, not to mention the bits of backstory were doubled up and in some cases in complete conflict. So, after a few weeks of muttering, I killed the second section and returned to expanding and clarifying the first. It cut my word count down by half, oh the agony, but it was absolutely the right move.

Each time I approach a manuscript, I think to myself “oh, this one will be easy. The story will just flow out.” Well, no.

I do have a lovely new keyboard, a DAS keyboard, very retro, with that wonderful click sound, and a full set of directional and functional keys. It was an early birthday present from my husband and I love it. I hadn’t realized how much my reluctance to work on the book was related to the discomfort of typing on the spiffy but tiny and rigid Apple wireless keyboard. Clickety click click, it’s the sound of progress.


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Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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