Editing and revisions

I’ve spent three days–really solid days, pretty much working steadily all day long–on edits for A Lonely Magic. So far, I’m finished with the first 15,000 words. Ugh. It makes sense. I wrote it fast, so of course editing will take more time. At the same time, I feel as if I ought to find some compromise solution where I don’t write quite so fast but I write a little better? Fewer vague words and phrases (such as “a little”), fewer of the abstract “think, know, feel,” verbs, and maybe not so many repetitions?

But today at least a huge chunk of my day went to one of those little changes that just ricocheted throughout everything that came after it. It was a good change. I’m still sure of that, even while feeling drained and exhausted by the process. But ouch. I have another 60,000 words to go and I suspect a great many of them are going to be affected by the minor change I made today. So maybe it wasn’t minor. But it was good, I’m going to insist upon that. 🙂

Tomorrow’s goal. Finish editing the first third of ALM. It started out as the first 24K words of the book and has become the first 22K words of the book (go, me!). But I’ve got 7K more to go before I get to start my murky middle second third and that part is where most of my biggest editing jobs will be. I suspect if it takes me four days to finish the first third, it’s going to be at least a week before I make it thought the middle third. And this isn’t final polishing, it’s just first draft editing. I need to finish by April 29th–that’s when the editor is expecting my draft. I’ve got loads of time. It’ll be better by then.

Tomorrow I’m going to write about how knowing that an editor will read the manuscript after me is affecting (or not!) my revisions. But today, my wrists are tired.

Fun little digression

I spent the past few days writing a short story to send out as a mailing list subscription bonus. I’ve been reading books and blogs about marketing in my spare time–not to my delight, but if I’m spending money on my business, I’m going to do my best to make it work and that means learning from other people, even if I eye most marketing info quite skeptically. Still, everyone in indie publishing who’s writing about marketing these days writes about the power of a good mailing list. So, okay, mailing list it is. When I finished A Gift of Time, I had nine subscribers to my mailing list.

In March, I put a link to the mailing list in the back of all my books, added a sign-up form to the front page of my blog (that was about two days ago and obviously, is my personal blog, not this writing blog) and–this week–wrote a short story to send to my mailing list subscribers as their subscription bonus. The last part was definitely my favorite. It was fun to ask people what they were interested in reading. I had lots of ideas, so I posted them on my blog and let the readers who responded (five or six of them, I think) make the call. They chose Maggie coming to Tassamara.

I was delighted.

Before I started writing original fiction, I was writing fanfiction for the television show, Eureka. When Eureka broke my heart and I decided to write in my own world, I looked at what had driven me to fall in love with Eureka (a sense of community, a place where everyone is accepted for who they are) and took that for my original world, but turned everything else upside down. Eureka was set in Oregon, so I moved my small town across the country and to the south, to Florida. Eureka’s all about brilliant scientists doing complicated science, so I wrote about psychics and auras and the unreal world. Eureka’s secret government organization works for the department of defense; I wrote about a private company working for themselves and their own satisfaction. Eureka is a collection of isolated individuals brought together by the town; I built my world around a family with strong bonds to one another who are the town. Lots of differences. But one thing I wanted to keep was the diner. Every small town needs a quirky diner.

So I made my diner’s cook different. Unlike Vincent, the cook in Eureka who is ever-present, my cook never says a word and is never seen, over the course of three books and one short story. She’s important to the stories–her name comes up repeatedly and in at least one case, her actions are pivotal to the story–but she’s invisible.

And readers liked her anyway, enough to want to know more.

It pleased me so much. 🙂

So this week I wrote a fun little story that brought her to Tassamara and introduced her to Max Latimer. Now, of course, I want to write the rest of her story, but it’s not going to happen for ages and ages. I’ve got too much more to do before I can start, including diving into revisions on A Lonely Magic.

And my mailing list is now up to 40 subscribers, including 16 since the beginning of the month.

Writing an ending

I’ve been writing in circles the last couple of days. I’m definitely on the last chapter of my WIP, unless it ended already, a question with which I have been struggling.

I wrote one scene that I loved–really, it had some great lines in it and it met my writing goals for the day–before I realized, it just didn’t fit. It moves from the semi-cliffhanger that might be my natural ending into an entirely different arena. It’s the ending that I envisioned for the book from the beginning, but it doesn’t work with the way the book turned out.

And then yesterday, I muddled around trying to make decisions. Ugh, two frustrating days in a row. Words got written, but the book didn’t get finished. I sort of wonder if I’m dragging it out because I hate to be done with it, but I think I’m just not sure. So today’s goal–write at least 1000 words. Try not to worry about whether they’re the right words. They can always be fixed, but at least if I get everything I think I want onto the screen, I can start deciding what works, what doesn’t, what’s needed, and how it should all go.

I will have written this book in less than two months. Started 1/26 or so, I think. (I could look back and find out for sure, but I will when I’m done.) For me, that’s somewhat unheard of. And I love it. For me, that’s completely unheard of! I’ve definitely already got a long list of things that need fixing in editing, but the story is such a fun ride.

Slow start today

3PM and I have mostly been deciding to delete what I wrote yesterday. That’s never good. I keep walking away from the computer, feeling inspired, hurrying back and immediately losing all inspiration. Finally decided that I should write here just to get the fingers moving and see if that would help.

I’m at the end. Really, really close, and I can’t decide whether it’s a good finish or a weak one. Parts of it are good, but I may be writing beyond the real climax. I think I need to go back to that earlier climax and expand upon it somehow–I can even see how. But I don’t know what that does to the part that I’m in right now.

Also, I have to write a setting and I hate writing settings. So now I can see why I’m stuck and now I’ve also reminded myself that I should just write! No point in over-thinking this. It’s a first draft. Plenty of time for edits if it doesn’t work quite right after I’ve got the bare bones of the story down.

And I’m so seriously amused by a twist coming up–two twists!–one of which I’ve been foreshadowing from the very beginning but that I still think will surprise everyone. And until I write it I can’t know if it does!

Okay, off to get myself a drink and possibly a snack and then… the words will flow.