My schedule being odd, I spent the evening writing. I worked for almost three hours on the novella "America, Such as She Is". Using the New Model Process, I have gone very carefully through the text. I netted a very narrow gain in wordcount, less than 2% of the story length, with perhaps twice as many words cut.
Careful sculpting, in other words. Unlike my novels, where I'm increasingly willing to go in with power tools and a glad hand, at least when approaching the raw draft, this piece is so carefully balanced I don't want to knock it over. There is considerable editorial feedback, much of which I disagree with in the specific, but I am aligned with the intent of the feedback.
The hardest issue here is that even my intentions for the story are ambiguous. That's a very difficult trick to pull off, because it tends to create inappropriate ambiguity in the text. I'm working with a slightly different ending — literally 50 more words or so — as I try all the way through the manuscript to validate the deliberate uncertainties while eliminating the accidental.
Writing is hard. Especially when you can't set down your passion for a piece long enough to be an objective craftsman. At the same time, the passion is what carries this story. We'll see if the editors agree.