What would you do after three months of editing?
Variety is the spice of life they say, but how do you achieve it? Stop editing and write? Switch projects? What happens if you have five draft novels all needing editing and two new plots pounding at your mind?
Most sensible writers seem to blend the editing and writing successfully, judging by their Blogs and their Facebook posts. But living with MS makes that hard. If I work at the revision then I no longer have the energy to do anything more than chill out. Which is why it has just taken me three months to complete the third revision of my 97k novel Wyrm Bait. Yesterday I sent it off to my editor for detailed analysis; also sent it to four beta readers for their thoughts.
Some time ago, I would have switched into writing mode and produced another draft novel, which is why there are so many lurking around, waiting to be edited. Heading the queue is that blast from my past, my first novel Spiral of Hooves. It’s been with the editors for the US ebook publishers – one English, one American – and is due back any day.
Decision made, therefore: I have to revise that next, addressing their input = another month or so of editing.
Do I scream? It’s a change of setting, characters, plot and of problems to be addressed. But it’s still editing – NOT writing.
But editing is part of the writing process, the experts tell us. I need to learn to love the revision stage. The short cut of editing as I write is a gag on my creative flow. I prefer to plot carefully, write freely, and edit gradually. Except three times five novels = 15 months of editing. But total revision for each novel is far longer, which cuts out the creation. Doesn’t it?
However no new novels won’t work, not if I want to satisfy my urge to create and my potential readers urge for new words. When Spiral of Hooves sells, the readers should want the sequel, but it’s not written.
One source of new material has been NaNoWriMo in November and I have heard rumours of a June challenge as well. Is that the solution? NaNoWriMo has produced two first drafts: The Last Leaf (2011) and Wyrm Blood (2012). One took a month but the other was almost three to first draft completion. Even have two ideas in plotting process; if I can decide which one comes first in the penning order. Probably Tortuous Terrain the sequel to Spiral of Hooves. However Seeking A Knife is more alive in my mind. Decisions, decisions.
Need more time. Maths not looking good. Something needs to give. But what? Social media? Emails? Gaming? All cut to a minimum and part of my survival plan, whether to maintain contact or to chill and reward myself.
One solution is to blog rather than create new novels. Still writing and far faster, requiring quick editing. Revert to short stories and simplify my inspiration. Even novellas not novels. All ideas to be swept along in the tide of editing. And high tide is approaching. With MS lurking to dash the plans with exhaustion and pain.
So what do you do? What advise can you give the Silver Scribbler?
- Rebel NaNoWriMo (talynmarie.wordpress.com)
- Is the Change as Good as the Rest? (davidjhiggins.wordpress.com)
Dear Roland –
I imagine it would be very difficult to know what to do after a long stretch of editing. I can’t give advice to that. But one thing you said really caught my attention: ” I need to learn to love the revision stage.” I don’t think that is necessarily true. In our occupations, no matter what it is, most people don’t like EVERY aspect of what they do. For some parts, we have to give it our best and trudge through it & recognize it may not be our strong-point. So, we ask others to help us with the part we are weakest, all the while learning to be better at it. But we don’t have to like it. We just need to do it.
I wish you all the best as you continue to write. It is a difficult process. But if writing is part of your soul, then it will bring you joy – maybe not until you have your finished product.
p.s. Do you happen to know if your ancestry is French? I ask because Roland is a French name and every time I see it I pronounce it in French! 🙂
Thanks for the positive thoughts about editing. Always suspected that asking for help there was a good idea, but worried about giving up!! Think those of us with MS especially need to learn to share & delegate. Feel better now
Ancestry: I had a great uncle called Roland but he was English. However my mother learnt French as 2nd language (after Spanish) and loved the French epic Chanson du Roland, and I’ve always thought I was named for him. Otherwise I’m a mix of English, Scottish and Chilean (mother was half-Chilean) – no French.
I am fortunate enough to have enough energy and free time most days that I can both write and edit; however, the majority of days I do one or the other, swapping back and forth between projects on an almost daily basis to avoid becoming too bored of writing, editing, or polishing.
I find hard deadlines are good for getting things done; the closer I come to an immovable point the less the boredom of focussing on one step of the overall process affects me.
Writing short stories helped me; the quicker cycle through the whole process helped me get into the habit of finishing projects.
Thinking seriously of short stories as used to write them, although all earned rejections. Got non-fiction articles published instead. Been sent editor’s comments on first book so need to focus on that, but then…..
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Thanks ddos vps. Interesting that you comment on this, just when I am finalising the edit of ‘Spiral of Hooves’ and plotting the sequel ‘Tortuous Terrain’ in detail. Will try to make some more useful comments. I tend to blog less often than some, but then I have to write a thoughtful piece if I can.