Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Novena for Order 2020: Day 3

As part of my push to start submitting my novel to agents, I've been doing a massive editing pass, and discovering that Stephen King was right when he advised cutting 10% of your manuscript. I've also discovered that the accountability of National Novel Writing Month (50,000 words in 30 days) -- accountability which I dearly need -- comes at a cost. Most of the words I've cut have been padding I used to get to my 1600/day word count: convoluted ways to phrase a sentence; an exaggerated formality; bits of unnecessary description that I labored over because I wanted everyone else to see what I saw so clearly, but which only slowed the story. The later chapters of the novel, which I wrote over the course of two years instead of 30 days, are much tighter and immediately readable.

And I've had to kill my darlings. I cut an 800 word scene which was funny, well-written, and full of character moments because it was doing the exact same work, beat for beat, that the following, more essential scene was. I saved the text in a document so I wasn't just throwing out my hard work, but it's now out of the manuscript, and the pacing is better for it.

My work is driven now by outside accountability: "Look, another rejection!" I said, as I opened an email from an agent, only to find a request for the first 50 pages. Those I had already edited, but now I'm in a push to get through the book before this person or anyone else wants to read more. 

I'm in the Marie Kondo phase of editing: if it doesn't spark joy, cut it out.

For Ordering a Life Wisely

St. Thomas Aquinas

O merciful God, grant that I may
desire ardently,
search prudently,
recognize truly,
and bring to perfect completion
whatever is pleasing to You
for the praise and glory of Your name.

Put my life in good order, O my God

Grant that I may know
what You require me to do.

Bestow upon me
the power to accomplish your will,
as is necessary and fitting
for the salvation of my soul.

Grant to me, O Lord my God,
that I may not falter in times
of prosperity or adversity,
so that I may not be exalted in the former,
nor dejected in the latter.

May I not rejoice in anything
unless it leads me to You;
may I not be saddened by anything
unless it turns me from You.

May I desire to please no one,
nor fear to displease anyone,
but You.

May all transitory things, O Lord,
be worthless to me
and may all things eternal
be ever cherished by me.

May any joy without You
be burdensome for me
and may I not desire anything else
besides You.

May all work, O Lord
delight me when done for Your sake.
and may all repose not centered in You
be ever wearisome for me.

Grant unto me, my God,
that I may direct my heart to You
and that in my failures
I may ever feel remorse for my sins
and never lose the resolve to change.

O Lord my God, make me
submissive without protest,
poor without discouragement,
chaste without regret,
patient without complaint,
humble without posturing,
cheerful without frivolity,
mature without gloom,
and quick-witted without flippancy.

O Lord my God, let me
fear You without losing hope,
be truthful without guile,
do good works without presumption,
rebuke my neighbor without haughtiness,
and -- without hypocrisy --
strengthen him by word and example.

Give to me, O Lord God,
a watchful heart,
which no capricious thought
can lure away from You.

Give to me,
a noble heart,
which no unworthy desire can debase.

Give to me
a resolute heart,
which no evil intention can divert.

Give to me
a stalwart heart,
which no tribulation can overcome.

Give to me
a temperate heart,
which no violent passion can enslave.

Give to me, O Lord my God,
understanding of You,
diligence in seeking You,
wisdom in finding You,
discourse ever pleasing to You,
perseverance in waiting for You,
and confidence in finally embracing You.

that with Your hardships
I may be burdened in reparation here,
that Your benefits
I may use in gratitude upon the way,
that in Your joys
I may delight by glorifying You
in the Kingdom of Heaven.

You Who live and reign,
God, world without end.


translation by Robert Anderson and Johann Moser
from The Aquinas Prayer Book


Melanie Bettinelli said...

Oooh a request for chapters is promising!

Killing your darlings is so, so hard.

Antoinette said...


Meredith said...

So excited for your progress! Can't wait to see what happens.