This is probably going to get quite a few people upset. You know…in the same order of upset as “I don’t think hard selling on Twitter sells books.”
As some of you know, I’m currently drafting the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. The weird thing about it is that I sorta think it’s done.
But I’m not sure.
See, my rough drafts are done as soon as I feel I have enough information mapped out in my head to rewrite the whole thing to my computer. This rewritten draft will be the draft that I edit.
Unfortunately, the completion of my rough drafts always creep up on me. I can’t say something like “Only five chapters to go and I’m done.” Instead, I’ll be writing along happily, only to realize that I don’t have to write any more of the story. At least, not yet.
I’ve been getting a hunch for two days now that I’m at the end of this draft. And today, this hunch crystallized in my brain into “Yup. This is done.”
Thing is, this happened much sooner than expected. Almost exactly 20k words in. Okay granted, this is the second time I rough drafted this story. So maybe my brain’s feeling like I rehashed some stuff that I can use in the rewrite. Which means that yes, I probably do know everything I need to in order to write out the whole thing.
But therein lies the rub. Probably.
I have a ton of aspects to the story left unexplored. I know they’re there. I know that I haven’t really figured out how everything fits together. Which means that there’s a very real possibility that I might want to start rewriting early next year, only to discover that no, the story wasn’t as done as I thought. Something like that happening could be catastrophic to my plans.
That said, my gut and my muse says that this is done. That I can turn what I have between the two drafts into a plot and (more importantly) a story.
But at the same time, I just can’t help wondering if my muse doesn’t want to move on just because she’s working to a schedule.
Before I start, I just want to ask pretty pretty please that you check out this post. A lot of you have already volunteered to help me get word out about my book, but I’d love it if I had even more places to go…
Also, I’ll be putting the excerpts for Realms Faire Artists’ Way up on Thursday. So if you have an excerpt, please enter it in by Midnight, Tuesday. If you want to take part in the art side of the competition, please sign up as soon as you can so that I know who you are.
Thanks so much for the sympathy yesterday! Luckily it seems that I’m going through more of a cold than a flue, so it’s a bit more manageable now that I have the medicine I need to keep it under control.
I needed a bit of a break from thinking about writing, so I took a bit of a break, but I just thought I’d share how my editing went.
Well… My writing was tighter than I thought, but I still cut over 4000 words out of it.
I only took out maybe four tiny scenes.
Would you like to know my secret?
I read most of the book out loud. Yeah I know, tedious as hell, but one thing it does do is keep me focused on flow. When I read out loud, I immediately notice when the flow’s off. Or when the sentences are boring.
Another thing I got a lot was over-writing. If I said the sky is blue once, I don’t have to say it again two seconds later if it isn’t important to the story. So the best way I said it stays. The other doesn’t.
Sentences running too long when they sound better shortened got split. When you split a sentence, you tend to lose words. “Ands”, “buts”, “ases”, “becauses” etc. become unnecessary. He did something as another thing happened could possibly become Something happened. He did something. Depending on the sentence’s complexity, I lost at least a word.
Cutting to necessities, I changed phrases like: The exterior of the house to The house’s exterior. Two words gone because I changed the sentence. Another favorite: was “verb”-ing. The “was” goes the minute I simply change sentence’s tense.
Switching sentences to cut passive tense can lose three or four words for you.
Finally, I have one special word: that. I can’t believe how it infested my writing. I probably found five (yes. FIVE) sentences with three (yes. THREE) “thats” in them. *shudder*
Probably an anticlimactic answer to those of you who are new to editing. Still, one or two words per sentence might not sound like a lot, but when you’re dealing with thousands of sentences, those little bits at a time add up.
I probably cut many more words than 4000, but I had to put some in here and there to focus the characters’ motivations a bit more and so on.
What do you cut when you want to pare down words?
This might be cheating, because I’m writing this IWSG post on Sunday, 1 July. But given the shear horror I’m experiencing, I’m thinking I couldn’t possibly be feeling more insecure than I’m feeling right now.
I was fine until Friday, when I checked my goals for 2012 and saw that one of them is to finish the WiP2 rewrite by 30 September. *shudder*
Usually I have nothing against rewriting. I see it as a necessary and normal part of my writing method. But this…. this is different.
Because I already started rewriting last year. Two months in, I wrote 40 thousand words and I was so excited about the story. It was awesome. And then, the day after Christmas, disaster struck.
In the most catastrophic loss I ever experienced as a writer, I lost my entire rewrite, ironically while I was in the process of backing it up. I can’t describe how much that hurt. Still I loved the story and vowed that I’d finish the rewrite so that I can edit it early next year.
But now it’s July and the number of times I’ve even looked at WiP 2: Zero. Zilch. Zip. Not even after I decided that I’d have to start.
The mere thought of looking at it gives me the heevie jeevies. I loved the new version. I guess in the past few months, the perfection and beauty of what I’ve lost grew in my mind until I am where I am now.
What if this rewrite isn’t as good? What if I open WiP2 and find that I don’t love it any more? And should I even be forcing myself to do something when everything inside me rebels at the mere thought?
All I know is, if I want to finish this rewrite by 30 September, I better get over this aversion fast, because I have 80 thousand words and three months. My time to that deadine won’t increase if I keep procrastinating…
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I’ve got a bit of uncertainty going again. See… I’m coming closer and closer to finishing the edits to Doorways. And… I’m starting to think I don’t know what to do with it.
I mean… now is the good time to start drafting my query. But do I really still want to go the traditional route?
Yes, it would be a huge feather in my cap to have my ms accepted by one of the big 6. Or even just by an agent. But… in the current climate where traditional authors are pushed harder and harder to produce more and compete with the self-publishers, do I really want to sell my soul and contract my art in that way?
All this came about when I was speaking to my mother about how authors making a lot of money and producing best-seller after best seller… while they’re actually not writing the books with their names on it.
Or people producing books to the exact same formula. Again. And again. And again.
I have to say that I don’t have a lot of respect for those authors. In fact, (and I’m sorry if any of you do this), I feel that those books don’t really deserve to take the space that could have gone to authors who spent hours perfecting the craft. Honing it to get to agents’ and publishers’ standards. Only to be told no because the quota has been filled.
But. As time has passed and I got more attuned to the comings and goings of the publishing market, I realize that a lot of this has to do with pressure. Those authors seem to be trying to produce enough books a year to stay fresh in the readers’ minds. And now, they need to produce even faster to compete with self-publishers who need a lot less time to get their books published.
Where am I going to draw the line with my writing? Am I willing to publish less than my standards in order to keep a publisher happy? Do I want the added pressure that if my book does not compete, which it can’t because it’s at least three times as expensive as most self-published books, I’ll lose the deal with the publisher?
How much of my soul am I willing to risk in order to get my stories trad-published?
How do you/did you decide your chosen publishing method?
So… it’s not enough that I have 23 hours accounted for – and it’s not for writing. I also still have books upon books upon books that I want to read this year.
That I wanted to read last year already.
So far, I have been getting along, but with my writing time almost down to nothing, my reading time is in the red-zone.
Which makes me wonder… Should I just be reading when my muse isn’t prodding me to write? I mean, if I write without being inspired, aren’t I just wasting time? And besides, it’s so important for writer’s to read. But at the cost of precious writing time?
What do you suggest?
While I waited for feedback on Part 2 of Doorways, I started working ahead to fix whatever looked glaringly obvious, thinking that it would keep me busy until then.
Except I got into my first ever editing zone.
Think I’m kidding?
I started page 91 on 30 December. I finished the last page (550) yesterday. So twelve days to edit over 400 pages.
On one of those days, I edited well over 100 pages, but then had to stop because I made a nasty discovery (but that’s a guest post, so I’m not going to go into it now).
So yeah. I’m a little shocked at myself.
But here I am. I don’t really want to leave my Doorways universe, since I don’t want anything to distract me from the edits.
And yet I really really really want to do something more than put together soundtracks for the sequels (as they drive me insane every time a song gives me a plot insight).
Basically, it leaves me with two options:
I can start with the sequel. Sounds wonderful and intriguing at the same time. But, I do want to trad publish. Which means that I might have to put Doorways through significant revisions before it’s truly finished. Those revisions will have an effect on all of the sequels. I know, because that’s the way I wrote the ms.
On the other hand, I can actually write a prequel. Something that influences Doorways, but won’t necessarily be edited and therefore I can have a blast with it. BUT… the prequel can be extensive. So will I be wasting my time to write it?
What do you think?
Something dangerous is happening. Well, dangerous to the success of this year’s NaNo.
My muse is going all: Well, this is sweet, but let’s go looking at Doorways. Or even your western. Remember? The two that are already done but need some polish?
Yeah. My muse is a heinous bitch sometimes.
So here I am, fighting really hard to focus on my NaNo project, but the words are slowing down, because I’m spending half the time reminding myself that I am in fact in draft mode and that I don’t have time to do edits on anything.
Anyone have any advice?