Sent off the latest (last?) revision of Chrissie Warren today.
The major change in the middle, telescoping the action down from one night to two, works very well, but had some unintended consequences that had to be dealt with down the line. For instance, there were two characters introduced between the two nights who now had no place to go and no role to play. I was able to find Thorne, the former privateer turned honest merchant seaman, a job as a sergeant in the Royal Marines. But his buddy Sullivan, is now gone.
Oh well, maybe I can find him work in the sequel. Which is what I'm working on today.
It's worth noting that the second draft of this book was 88,000 plus words. This is the fifth draft and it's now 75,000 plus, a 12-percent cut, but more things happen in it. It's a better book this way, tighter, moves faster. A classic case of "less is more."
But I resisted the urge to tighten the dialogue. I can hear these characters. How they talk is as important as what they say. It tells you about their personalities, their characters. Chrissie is very guarded, very reserved. Makes sense for her lines to be short, terse. But her father Dan is a raconteur, a born story teller. He'd never use four words when sixteen are available. So even though the meaning of a sentence might be the same, the difference is important. "Never fear" doesn't work. "Never you fear, me darlin'" tells you a little more about the character than the fact that he doesn't think his daughter should fear. (And "Never fear" sounds way too Dudley Do-Right.)