Novel edits are coming along faster than I thought. Might actually get them all done by the end of the month 🙂
It’s weird to see the novel being reshaped under my editing scalpel. I can feel the book getting better, little by little: its characters more consistent, the world more fully realized, the pacing tighter.
I’m remembering my plans for a follow-on book, and looking forward to writing it. Can editing a novel make you excited to write the sequel?
Masterful. Incredibly well-crafted series of nested narratives that simultaneously did a deep dive into Dracula lore and sucked me into a single family’s generations-long saga. Just…wow. So well done.
Three things I learned about writing:
- You can use flashbacks to cover over narrative time that would otherwise be boring, like train (or plane) travel
- To make an old myth feel fresh, look for the side that’s not usually given a starring role (like the Turkish side of the Dracula legend), and explore it.
- Journals and letters are a great way to both nest stories, and keep each story personal, told by the person that lived it
Managed to whittle the list of editing passes from twelve to twenty and now back to thirteen.
Which means I didn’t finish them by the end of March, like I wanted.
I *did* finish the biggest of the changes, though: giving each chapter to either the male or the female protagonist, swapping evenly between the two, and filling out her narrative arc so that her storyline has equal weight.
The changes I have left are much smaller: revising character appearances, adding touches to scene descriptions, and making sure everything is consistent.
Still, I’m setting weekly goals, aiming for three editing passes done each week. At that rate, I’ll be finished with the edits in early May
Much later than I’d like, but I tell myself that’s better than not doing them, or worse yet, continuing to tweak and edit for a year or more.
My original plan for editing the first novel turned out to be…rather naive.
I thought it would be enough to fix the female protagonist’s plotline, then make a few description tweaks, and be done.
Instead, I’m looking at making a dozen or more editing passes over the novel, each one picking out a thing to fix and make consistent through the book.
I’ve had to change character appearances, character names, city names, backstory, world history…nearly every element needs to be tweaked one way or another to line up better with what I think the novel should be.
So I’m keeping a running list of things to fix as I go, jotting them down as I find them. That way I can focus on just one editing task at a time, getting one thing right all the way through the book before going back to the beginning and starting on the next fix.
My goal was to have these edits done by the end of the month (for a total of three months of editing), so I could spend the next three months editing my second novel. But we’re a third of the way through March, and, well…my list keeps growing.
Still, I’ll push on. I’m finding I still like this novel, still like the characters. I want to do them justice, give them the best book I can. So I’ll keep working through the list, till the list is done.
We’re here! Made it into San Diego last week, despite freezing rain (Flagstaff), gusty winds (most of New Mexico), and fog (Cuyamaca Mountains).
No, we’re not unpacked yet. Yes, I unpacked the books first 🙂
So, back to work. And also back to writing.
I’ve decided to do another editing pass on the first novel. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about writing in just the last few months, and I’d like to apply what I’ve learned to it, see if it makes it better.
I’d also like to go back and fill in a lot of the worldbuilding details I left vague in the first two drafts. Flesh out character backgrounds, city histories, etc. I don’t want to add a huge info-dump to the book, but I do want to make sure everything holds together better, the various pieces of book matching up to make a more powerful whole.
And after thinking through the plot more, I’m really not satisfied with the way I’ve handled the female protagonist. That’s part of why I need to flesh out the character backgrounds, specifically hers. I realized her character arc is muted, a victim of me being unsure who I wanted to be the protagonist in the first draft.
She deserves better, so I’m going to pull out her conflicts and struggles into its own storyline, an independent path to follow while she also contributes to the central plot. I think it’ll make the book stronger, and the ending more compelling.
Some of these changes will be dialog or description tweaks. Some of this will probably end up being major surgery. But I’ve got to try.
Wish me luck.
Easily worthy of the awards it won. Fantastic ideas, presented through conflicts with interesting characters, and writing that describes just enough and no more.
And I almost stopped halfway through.
There’s a point where the protagonist does something so amazingly dumb, that I wanted to put the book down in frustration. But I kept going, and I’m glad I did. Because it only got better from there.
Three things I learned about writing:
- Beware delaying explanations for too long. A character that says “I don’t know why I did X” too often, before their inability to explain is outlined to the reader, can lead to frustration.
- Don’t have to wait for the character to say “and then I told them my story” to tell that story to the reader. Can layer it in, piece by piece, via flashback chapters.
- Small touches, like bare hands being considered vulgar, when followed-through, can do a lot of work to make a culture feel real.
No writing this week. The novel’s done (for now), so I’ve been focused on the upcoming move, getting everything boxed and labeled and loaded.
It’s like having our lives flash frozen, to be thawed on arrival in California.
Not having a writing project to work on is, as ever, weird. It’s as if school exams have been canceled, but just for me: I feel like I should be studying, but I’m not. Because I don’t have to.
Not that my brain has noticed. Woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for another story. I think it’s a flash fiction piece, but there might be more there. Have to write it and find out.
It’ll have to wait its turn, though. Behind the move, and the novel edits, and the short story edits, and querying agents, and the…ye gods, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Excuse me, I need to go write.