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.
No, I haven’t started writing epic fantasy (hmm…), but I have been playing with a dragon! The dragon of sore-shoulder-happiness. And yes, I know that currently makes no sense to anyone but me…
The problem is that I have a bad shoulder. It is currently objecting to me doing anything with a bent arm, which includes typing. Not conducive to writing productivity!
So, after having spent the past few days messing about with voice recognition apps, I’ve gone back to my old frenemy Dragon Naturally Speaking. For anyone who has known me a long time you are allowed to eye-roll at that; twas not a happy relationship the last go-round.
Still, it is – as far as I can tell – the only product that really works for a writer. Phone apps etc are great if you want to jot something down but they don’t give you control. Dragon does.
The big questions was would it work better on this computer, because there is still a draft of my kid’s fantasy novel that is unfixably riddled with homonyms and words that together make kinds of homonyms! It sure wasn’t pretty when Dragon and I first met.
But they do the 30 day money-back thingy and as someone used to buying Adobe behemoths it seemed reasonably priced.
So far – success! Seriously successful in fact. I haven’t even broken out my fancy external mic!
Though I’m currently bathing in the irony that I turned it off and typed this post. Ahem.
The PAR draft keeps surprising me. Most recently I discovered that I had to re-work some chapters completely. They were “fine”; logical, carrying some plot load and everyone had stuff to do. They were also just… naff.
Not exactly boring or silly or convenient or anything too terrible, but just not that interesting either. Maybe a bit safe.
Funny thing is that they’ve been collectively bugging me for ages and I couldn’t work out why. It was only when I started working backwards through them that I was blinded by a large flashing NAFF sign!
So they’re being rewritten.
The only down-side is that now I have even more stuff sitting at 1st draft in what should be a 2nd draft. Still, feels worth 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.
Sometimes when I’m deep in an edit, I like to read fiction that is totally different to what I write. I find it refreshing to visit words that I probably wouldn’t/couldn’t write and part of that is to look for inspiration on how I might do something differently or it might suggest a solution to a problem.
I also enjoy being reminded that there are so many ways to tell a story, mine probably doesn’t suck as much as I think it does in those dark editing days!
So the PAR (post apocalyptic romance, just to be clear) edit is going. And going. And gooooiiiiing.
I don’t know why I’m so surprised that I’m reworking and rewriting as much as I am, to take it to 2nd draft, but it has surprised me. Probably because I enjoyed the 1st draft so much that it didn’t feel like would want to change it to such a degree.
To date I’ve added two whole new chapters (hello 120K) and rewritten two other chapters.
Not that I’m concerned, or complaining really. It just surprises me at each step. In fact, overall, I think the edit is going pretty well. With luck I might have a nice 2nd draft by Christmas, but I’m not putting a deadline on it. I know this amount of reworking means I may well run out of steam and need to switch back to the novella series before the end!
One of the lovely things about PAR as a project is that I like spending time with these characters. It’s a pleasure to do three versions of a scene and I don’t know I’ve ever said that before.
I’ve been heavy in the editing over the past few days and it’s been a bit of slog to be honest. Not so much because the edit is hard – though I won’t call this one easy – but because I’m suffering from procrasinatitis! You know, inflammation of the procrastination muscle.
To avoid working, I have over the past two days:
- listened to podcasts
- done the dishes
- made soup
- streamed a documentary
- had a long text conversation with a friend
- created a new playlist
- blogged (hmm…)
Not that there’s anything wrong with taking a break, or getting necessary household things done, but I know that’s not why these tasks got attention. No. It was totally about avoiding the edit.
The good news is that I’m still getting some editing done. As some being better than none, I celebrate this!
In fact – while I’m looking for inspirational positives – I realised today that my productivity has been somewhat better than I thought. After editing books with short chapters for a couple of years, I’d forgotten that 4K chapters feel slooooow by comparison!