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Tag: revision

It’s done!

Last Sunday I finished the second version of Sky High’s draft, and I already sent it to my alpha readers. Time for celebration! 🙂

Yes, you read correctly: That’s the second draft and I sent it out. So, how does this fit the revision process which I said I’d follow here?

Let me rewind a bit.

About two weeks ago, I bought the NaNoWriMo story bundle – a great wealth of resources on how to write, which I can only recommend. I started by reading Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys. He breaks down the essential elements, which make up a story, into a very easy structure. His down-to-earth pragmatic approach to writing, and making a living from your writing, appeals strongly to me.

Next, I chose Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith. The book is actually a polished version of a series of posts he has up on his blog. You can read them online here, as well as his second book, Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing.

Dean also has a very pragmatic approach to writing, which is very similar to Algis Budrys’ – and that’s probably not a coincidence, since Algis was Dean’s mentor. These two posts resonated most with me:

Speed: Writing Fast is Bad:

After finishing NaNoWriMo in 2014, I was wondering: If I can write almost 2000 words in about 2 hours per day, how come big writers publish only 1-2 books per year? The numbers just didn’t add up – especially looking at grand masters like George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss, who take years to finish a book. I wasn’t able to get a satisfying answer and concluded that these people probably spend a lot of time on book tours and other promotional events.

Therefore, reading this chapter was a revelation. 🙂

Rewriting:

Brandon Sanderson once said – I believe it was on Writing Excuses – that it took him so long to become published because during his initial years he never edited his books. So, naturally, I assumed that this is what I had to do: edit and rewrite.

Dean has a valid point, though: When you’re creating new content, you’re working from the creative side of your brain, whereas when you’re editing you’re working from the critical side. And the critical side is just not as good at creative tasks as the other half. So when you edit, you’re basically submitting your work to all the rules and assumptions you’ve picked up during your life. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a bland mush, and nothing of your style – nothing remarkable, which makes your work stand out from others – will be left.

You still have to review your writing, for consistency and spelling mistakes etc., but Dean recommends you don’t rewrite unless you’re getting paid for it. His reasoning is simple: Instead of wasting all that time trying to make the perfect book, you could be creating new assets – new stories.

I love his pragmatic reasoning, and his approach to writing is very appealing to me. I have to admit that I was demotivated by the prospect of having to revise my story 8 times. And the idea of rewriting it doesn’t seem fun – especially after seeing that I really like what I have written. So I decided to work from a 3 draft system, like Dean:

  1. Write the story
  2. Review for consistency and spelling/grammar mistakes. Then send to alpha readers
  3. Correct mistakes found by alpha readers, then publish / submit

 

So here I am. I decided to go for Indie Publishing and will now work on the book cover, and setting up everything else required to make my book available to readers.

Have any thoughts or comments? Send me an email or post here! 🙂

 

 

Sky High v1.0 done!

Can you believe it?? I never thought I would get here.

But somehow… it doesn’t feel as rewarding as I thought it would. I guess that’s because of all the work ahead…

Last week I wrote through the climax of Sky High and now I am done. Well, almost. I still need to write the dĂ©nouement. Since finishing the climax, I’ve been trying to find the motivation to continue, but all I could think of were the many, many things that I have to change. So I decided to call it quits here. I’ll write the dĂ©nouement when I’m done with the big structural changes.

So what now?

The things that come to my mind right now, when I think about the story, are all the issues and flaws. There are so many things that I want to revise. Most importantly: I clocked in at 64007 words. That’s 11000 words short of my (somewhat arbitrary) goal of 75000. It’s very short for a science-fiction novel, even if you consider it YA. And knowing myself… I fear that I rushed through the story and that I need to expand on some of the topics and scenes. If not all 🙂

Where do I start?

Brandon Sanderson has a video about revising a book on Write About Dragons, and I intend to follow his process. I find this scheme immensely helpful, because it breaks down the myriads of tasks into a very simple process to follow:

  • 1.0 Straight through beginning to end, taking notes as he goes on changes of direction that will need to be fixed in…
  • 2.0 Continuity edit, done immediately afterwards
  • [Brief gap]
  • 3.0 Polish for tighter language, cut about 15%
  • Send out to alpha readers (writing group, editor, agent, wife)
  • [6-month gap, during which time he takes notes on things to change]
  • 4.0 Incorporate alphas’ feedback and his own reflections
  • 5.0 Second polish
  • [Send to betas, fans etc. – not the same people as alphas – plus editor]
  • 6.0 Last fixes
  • 7.0, 8.0: copy edit and proofreads (polishes)

I have v1.0 right now, but I will probably add in a v1.5 (expanding the story) before doing v2.0. This is the first time I will be editing a full book. It’s a daunting task, but I really look forward to it!

Do you have any tips on editing? Let me hear about it in the comments or via email!