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Revisions (aka--when is the damn thing done?)
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earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
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Thanks everybody.

Well put Jandalu. And an excellent question.

I've completed one manuscript (about 75,000 wds or so). It's a sci-fi novel that I put through a couple of drafts and then put a way in favor of moving on. I really had relegated it to "a good learning experience" and had no plans to return to it, despite a husband and a writing friend or two bugging me to rethink the decision. A I've passed the midpoint in the book I'm working on now and struggled with various issues, I've begun to wonder if perhaps the first was better--or at least not as bad as I thought it was.

Then a friend (hi John) asked to see it. He sent back a very detailed and much appreciated critique. If I take his suggestions (even half of them--did I mention this was a first effort?)--many of which are right on the mark--it probably means a massive rewrite.

In my head it becomes--is it worth the effort to spend another four or five months with it? Or is it better to clean up the last of the typos and kill the really obvious flaws and start looking for an agent to represent it as is. Or should I just go with my original plan and leave it "in the drawer" so to speak.


Guess I could have put it that way in the first place . . .

The second book--which is about 66,000 words now, hasn't even arrived at revision stages (though I'm doing more along the way this time just because this one was pre-plotted) and I have no intention of sharing it until it's done. I have lots of worried associated with it, mostly related to pacing, but a rewrite will resolve most of those.
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Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:13 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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Mary,

If you are happy with it then send it out, or get another opinion. Honestly, I donít like pre-plotting or scheming. It leaves out a lot of mystery. I have a general plan in mind, research what I need to and write. But I donít write mysteries or anything too complicated because I figure if I am not smart enough to keep up with what I am writing then how can I expect the reader to keep up with what I wrote? The reader should not be expected to keep notes while reading and for the most part I shouldn't while writing. Very Happy

This is what Churchill said about writing:

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.


Twain said this about characters:

The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible.

He also said this:

I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.


Ta,
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Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
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Thanks for your feedback Ferrit.

The second book is a mystery--and it is a lot more work to write (I don't think I'll do this again) and the first time I've ever pre-plotted anything. Flash fiction is right brained by design, so are short stories in their early stages of development. However, this time I actually sat down and drew diagrams so I could see how everyone was related and how it was all going to fit together. I even drew out a timeline (Chris's approach), though I suspect in the re-write I will have to rethink it.

To be honest with you, while I know who the villian is and basically how they will reveal themselves, the ending isn't entirely plotted and I'm not even sure the MC is going to "get the guy" that I have picked out for her, though I suspect she will. I chose to leave that open ended until I get there. I like surprises too.
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
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Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:08 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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You are so cool Mary. I could never write a mystery. I tried once and it was bad, very, very bad. I did set up the reader in my story about autism because I wanted them to think that the kid was a brat but then I turned it around and have them realise that she had problems. I hinted at it but not enough to bash the reader over the head with it before I revealed it. I plot out a chapter or two in my head but I try to think like a reader when I plot it out and wonder what I would want to see happen in the future of the book. There are times that I do what I think the reader might expect or change things up to keep them on their toes. In baseball terms it is throwing a splitter when the batter is expecting a fastball or throwing a fat one down the middle so they can stay comfortable. With music it would be listening to the entire catalogue of Bruce Springsteen without Nebraska in the CD changer and then tossing in George Clinton in the P Funk to make the reader dance a bit.
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I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes. -HST

Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:41 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
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When is revision done? I dunno. When it's done, I guess. And I'm done. Finito (run that through the old translator). Smile

I started this book years ago. I won't tell you how many. I wrote the first draft and several revisions on the subway and busses. And I didn't know what I was doing. I had so much to learn!

It bloated up to 113,000 words and got revised down to 67,000.

There were problems in storytelling, especially in the first half when I was trying to figure out what this whole writing thing was about, it was wordy in parts, and I had a lot to learn about scene structure.

That made the revisions really, really hard. (I can see now where I erred.) That meant reaching back several stages in revision that I should have taken care of ages ago. What a mess it was at times!

If I'd know then what I know now...

But it's done. It had better be done! If it rises up again I'll drive a stake through its heart.

So I guess the revision is finished.

And I love it, both the story, and the fact that it's finished -- unless an editor tells me to fix something. (Oh, yeah, now I have to try and sell it.)

And I'm halfway through a second novel that I'm hungry to get back to.


Last edited by palmer on Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:21 pm; edited 2 times in total

Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:32 pm   View user's profile Send private message
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
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Congrats John. I know you've really been working hard at the rewrite.

mary
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Post Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:53 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
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