Round One (almost) Complete

As December draws to a close I have found myself ready to work on my novel again, I even began editing it further.  What did I discover to my delight and surprise?  I am almost finished with it.  Well sort of.

The novel is 121 pages in 8.5” x 11” format.  This relates to about 437 pages in paperback format; a decent sized novel.  Knowing that the page numbers currently in use are not accurate, it is hard to determine how close I actually am to being finished with the first edit.  I can say that I am somewhere around page 40.

Now I should also state that only part of what I have edited on paper has been changed on the electronic version.  So this is why I say I am sort of almost finished.  I have little left of making red marks on the page but a decent amount of corrections where I can save.

What does this mean?  Well that I need to get my butt in gear and finish the first edit.  It also means that soon the novel will be ready for a second edit.  One which I am not sure I will be able to do right away.  I do have some major changes I want to work into the novel, such as some of the gods I am no longer going to utilize and correcting a grave mistake I made with one of my races.  So perhaps I can do that as a “second” edit without actually attempting to edit the entire novel right away.  Such changes should alter the story so that when I do a third edit, going through the entire novel again, I will be able to find glaring errors again.

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A Different Perspective

In the process of editing my novel I have decided to attempt for someone to read it and tell me where they think the story needs improvement; in a way, editing it themselves.  I am not looking for perfection as I know someone who has never done it before is not going to catch everything, but someone who hasn’t read it before will catch things I don’t see.

This endeavor has gained me little.  One person who read it said they couldn’t follow the storyline but nothing else.  I honestly fail to see how they couldn’t.  No that is not because I wrote it so I know the plot.  I have taken pieces of this to my writer’s group and they can follow it so obviously it’s not that complicated.  Another person finally told me she wasn’t going to read it because she thought I would get too upset with her when she handed it back to me with red everywhere.  I have since given it to two other people in the hopes that one of them will get back to me with something useful.

I need a different perspective here.  Yes the story is extremely unpolished but I want someone to tell me where they think it needs improvement before I change too much and have to rewrite entire chapters over.  Maybe that is unrealistic and even with their input I will have to later.  That is a bridge I would rather cross when I come to it now rather than worrying myself over the notion.

So tell me how to get someone to actually read the novel (everyone keeps claiming they want to before I give it to them) AND give me something I can use to make it better?

Waiting to Edit

With almost a full month of NaNoWriMo being completed the looming job of editing is staring me in the face.  I am actually not ready to edit this year’s novel as I am still working on 2010’s so I can let the 2011 simmer in my head a bit longer but the knowledge that I will have to at some point is still there.  And that thought frightens me some.

The biggest problem is that I am too close to the work (then again what author isn’t?).  In 2010 when I finished on November 30th I decided to wait until at least the beginning of February.  I was burnt out on anything relating to my own work during December (not to mention how the holidays take up so much time) and I didn’t think January would be enough time with it out of my sight to work on.  Unfortunately February came and I still couldn’t edit it, I was STILL too close to the characters, setting, story.  So I waited a few more months and tried again, same problem.

In June I was able to pick up my red pen and begin to edit the novel.  Unfortunately it wasn’t the great job I had hoped it would be.  I tried doing a little at a time with limited success.  I even gave a copy to a friend of mine who I knew would rip it to pieces.  Unfortunately she never got around to it and now has decided she won’t do it for me, she thinks I will be highly upset with her for ripping it apart when that is exactly what I am looking for.

August was when I finally got smart and began to edit the novel backwards.  While I have heard of doing this, I didn’t think doing it for a first edit would be a good job.  However I am making progress, of a sort.  I have discovered some inconsistencies I don’t think I otherwise would have going forwards.  You definitely get a different perspective by reading the last chapter to the first.

I stopped editing during November so I was no influenced by my own writing during the second novel.  And much like last December, I have not had much time to edit again, plus I wanted a break from my own story.  Come January I will be at it hard and heavy again.  I do have to say that waiting to edit is probably a good idea.  Hopefully for you, it won’t take eight months to accomplish something useful.

World Building

Those who write fantasy usually have to do at least some world building.  Regardless of if they are using an “Earth” like we know to make the world their own, they must create something which is not found on the Earth we live now.  Depending on how different you want that world to be it can take a while to get the world completed.

We have influences everywhere too, especially when you read fantasy.  Sometimes it’s easy to see where our influences come from and other times it’s not.  However it can be hard to walk the fine line between emulating and imitating someone’s idea for your own story.  I have been reading George R R Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series lately.  There is much I like in it that I want to utilize but not completely copy.  I want my world to be my own afterall.  So I think about the way he writes and how I can use it in my own world without it being obvious where it came from.  There are some ideas I like but have chucked out the window as too similar.

There are also authors or series’ where I know what I have “stolen” for my world.  I have not taken it exactly from this other source but I see the influence and if someone has read those works they might see it in mine.

Still world building takes time.  I have been working on mine on and off for fifteen years.  Of course recently is when it really began to take shape and become my own instead of copying one of the books I have been influenced by.  There is much to do yet and much that is finished.  It is time consuming and currently taking away from my writing.  It is also going to force me to really edit the two novels I have written to make sure they fit in what I create.

Time to Write

I spoke about this somewhat in my last post but burnout really is a problem in December for me.  The month is half over and I still have no desire to write.  I feel I have recouped enough from November that I could if I sat down but with the holidays quickly arriving, I find I have less time.

Like everyone these days there is much I want to accomplish during this final month of the year but also much more which demands my attention that has nothing to do with writing and editing.  A house to decorate, a party to plan (we host one every year), other parties to attend, the actual holiday where I have to split my time between families, the upcoming New Year (along with the party we attend), shopping for people, wrapping presents; along with the general housework and my full time job.  There is also the need for downtime.

Sometimes I feel that December pulls me even thinner than November does.  Sure there is a holiday in November but I am fortunate that I don’t have to cook for it, for now anyhow.  Some days I don’t think I will accomplish all I set out to do, and some of those days I actually don’t.

So finding time to write can be hard.  Even when I have downtime I don’t want to think about writing, I want to relax.  Writing is a passion but it is also work, especially when you are creating your own world.  I probably should do what I do in November but on a much lower scale.  Make the time to write a few days a week no matter what.  I just really don’t feel it would be possible with everything else going on.  I do, however, need to find the time to write.

Recuperating

NaNoWriMo is great to help someone complete a novel but it can also burn someone out from writing for a while.  I finished two days early and haven’t written since.  This is bad in one way because as a writer, I probably should always be writing but once I get to the completed novel, I just need a break.

I could be wrong and it could be no different from when you exercise and have to rest.  Funny thing is I may not have been writing, but my brain has still been working on the story.  What do I want to change here, I need to research this to see if that’s how it’s done, things like that; not that I have done any of those things yet, but the ideas are still swirling in my brain.

I am ready to get back to editing, however, so I think the next step is to print a copy of my other book, the one I was editing prior to writing this newest one, and get back to it.  Especially since, I know so much more now about things happening within the world, I can edit the story much better.

Now where’s my red pen?