As I mentioned a few posts back, I’ve taken a look recently at the oldest of my novels and – probably inevitably – I am still tweaking. Tweaking turns into… well… editing I guess, but in a very small way. And it has been an absolute blast!
I think I’m almost done. But then I probably think it will take longer than I think. *shrug*
I think I’ve written about this before on Lamellae, but back when I was getting beta reader feedback on my sci-fi novel, one of my readers was dead keen on the idea that I should write short stories showing the background of some of the characters. He was the kind of guy who liked having lots of inter-related bits around a book or movie – like that graphic novel that sits between Firefly and Serenity – so I could see why it appealed to him.
It intrigued me as an idea.
The problem has been that I’ve wanted to work on other worlds, rather than go back into that one. (And the one time I toyed seriously with the idea I couldn’t see those stories at all.) Now I’ve spent time with the novel again, I’m interested to try it and I also think I’ve found what those stories could be.
Haven’t 100% decided to do it yet, but I am thinking of giving it a bash and seeing what happens.
Recently I picked up “the sci fi novel”, a project I finished a couple of years ago, and decided to read it. Fascinating experience!
It’s the first time I’ve had enough distance to experience the text as a reader would and the first time I’ve been able to get that view on how the chapters etc work. They do work! Well, I’m happy with the result and what more can you ask for?
The best thing was not feeling like it needed another draft, because there is that “novels are never finished” sense most of us carry around. There are some very small tweaks I’ll make here and there, but that’s it.
It’s not really a surprise that I’m still editing PAR. It’s big. It’s got a lot going on and it’s evolved through the edit. The trickiest thing has been the end section of maybe 5 chapters. I’ve re-written them for the most part rather than just edit and I’m happy that I have but it makes them 1st drafts if you know what I mean. And that means more editing to come.
Sadly there is also more editing to be done in the rest of the book. It’s weirdly hanging somewhere between a nice well-formed 1st draft and a nice 2nd draft but it’s not really either right now!
Worst of all the daemon is itching for new words. I can tell that from the way he keeps flying around the ceiling. He’s not subtle. So I’ve made a plan to try to get him what he wants and keep the PAR edit flowing. The solution, I think, is the necessary start over for N3 (i.e. the 3rd in my interlinked novella series). That seems like a project to juggle while switching back to editing on PAR.
I think the daemon approves, but we’ve mostly worked on PAR as a single project so we’ll see.
The good thing is I finally got to give my protag in PAR – who I think is just one fantastic “person” – something happy. After beating the crap out of him for quite some time now, he got a little bit of cheer… us writers are a hard-hearted bunch. Downright mean to our characters.
Anyway, if things go to plan I might be hunting for beta readers for PAR sometime this year. This pleases me. Though I’ve no idea what I’ll bribe them with for reading a door-stopper of a tome like this! Hopefully they find it as much fun to read as I do.
Last Monday, I was editing on the train on the way to work. It was a very dark, emotional scene and I realised – more slowly than I should have – that it probably wasn’t a good way to start the work week!
My only problem with PAR and editing right now is they’re all dark, emotional scenes. I guess the only solution is to do something else on a Monday commute… (thinks: what can I read?)
The writing daemon has earned his chocolate! Turns out that PAR’s antagonist was up to no good for a good reason, but that’s what was missing – her motivation!!
Okay that’s enough excited exclamation marks for one post… but I am pleased. I’d been worried my brain had identified some larger problem and I’d end up reworking this last section. I’m so close to finishing the edit (7 chapters left!) that a major issue was going to turn it into a slog.
Motivations sometimes sink below the action when I’m writing the initial draft. (Not for the protag, but for other players.) I think it’s the fact it all seems logical that throws me, because I don’t expect to write something that is logical and in keeping with their character without an explicit motivation. But you can! That’s what happened here, probably because there’s a lot going on in this section and many threads converging.
Of course I might find other problems with these few last chapters, but I’m not so worried now. And, I’ve got to say, my mind is already working out how I’ll tackle the next edit. I know what I want to work on, because there is a real weakness in my dialogue through-out this draft. It’s been bugging me during this edit, but I like to do dialogue all in one hit to keep consistency. For now I just need to finish this draft!
The observant reader of my blog will have noticed a suspicious absence of PAR, or other writing, chat recently… even after I’d said I was planning on doing some during my week off… and that came and went…
This is because I’ve hit resistance!
Other than enjoying a break, I realised that writing daemon isn’t happy with the 6th, 7th and 8th last chapters of PAR. The major antagonist is doing things which are logical – daemon and I agree on that – but he’s not convinced by them. I’m willing to consider he might be right. There’s just something a bit under-baked about what the antagonist is up to. Note the very technical term there – a sure sign that I have no idea why it’s not working.
The solution I’ve come up with is to avoid the question entirely (!) and keep working by starting with the last chapter and going backwards.
Trust me it’s not as weird as it sounds. I already know what needs fixing in the two last chapters (emotional tone) and they’re quite divorced from the earlier crisis caused by my antagonist. By the time I’m back into the problem zone, I reckon daemon will have figured it all out (I’ve promised him chocolate).
Can’t say I’ve tried working backwards before though…