Only 281 words today, but I'm incredibly happy with them, so I'm not going to beat myself up about that. This morning I decided to rework the Big Dog's funeral chapter, which meant essentially losing whatever I could lose but also deepening the characters, deleting all lazy shorthand prettiness for actual depth and meaning. So gone now is Nic's killer-opiate-smile (always hated that, knew it wasn't in anyway "real") and in its place, fearlessness that is "equal parts curiosity and short-sightedness" -- he is no longer the golden boy who can do no wrong because he's got such white teeth, but a guy who is brave because failure doesn't scare him, who messes up a lot but isn't upset by it, just constantly and not entirely unpleasantly, surprised. He's incorrigible, is his real deal, and that absence of learning curve combined with courage is very attractive to Anna, as it is to most people. It's loveable even as it's frustrating. THAT'S what needs to be expressed about him.
Also, amazing how one phrase changes and FOCUSES everything -- for instance -- earlier draft:
"it didn’t seem all that strange or surreal to me that we were presiding over a grave-digging on our first day back to school, or at least, no stranger than I'd grown used to life seeming here."
"it didn’t seem all that strange or surreal to me that we were presiding over a grave-digging on our first day back to school, or at least, no stranger than anything else Nic had ever talked me into doing."
Lesson here: PLOT IS CHARACTER -- ACTION IS WHAT PEOPLE DO TO PEOPLE.