Rebecca Day

Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

Back in the saddle, I hope

Posted by rwday on February 12, 2008

I achieved writing yesterday.  Have no idea how it happened, but something, possibly John Scalzi’s great post on money for writers, provided the ass-kicking I’ve so desperately needed. I got off the laptop, went into my office and started to make some sense out of my short stories – checking markets for resubs, dealing with the multiplicity of versions that have erupted like mushrooms as I’ve moved between my home PC, my laptop, my work PC.

 And then I opened Dreams of Houses and re-read it for the first time in a year or more.  It’s not bad.  Actually, it’s damn good in parts, abysmal in others, and is altogether publishable with some work, I think.  Dreams is a modern Lovecraftian gothic set in a house that’s essentially based on Westover Plantation .  It’s amazing how much clearer I can see what needs to be done to it after letting it sit so long, and how less attached I am to some of the scenes that really have to be axed.  It started as a novelette, then was rewritten into a novel (much like Thaw was), and what works in short form is not necessarily what works in a novel and vice versa.

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Writers, gods, hubris.

Posted by rwday on September 23, 2007

Finally got the new ending of “Urn” written, but I’m not happy with it. It’s far less Pirates of the Caribbean than it was, which was the criticism the editor had when he requested the rewrite, but it still feels like a cheat. Maybe I need to go back and revisit the beginning and middle of the story to make it lead more logically to my ending. I hate doing that. If I mess with ‘what happens,’ it’s like I’m messing with reality. (Reality with wizards and cursed urns containing the remains of dead warriors ready to reconstitute as zombies. But reality.) I forget that as far as that story and those characters are concerned, I am God.

My Ashes edit is up to chapter 10, and I can see, even with the cutting I’m doing, that the book may end up too long. I’ve edited about the first 1/3 and it’s now 148k. Unfortunately, I’m no sure what the initial count was. I’m shooting for somewhere around 135-140k (Thaw was about 137k when it sold, cut down some after the edits.) That’s only cutting 8-13k, which I can do. Of course, I’ll add as well, and that will cancel out some of the cuts.

I just cringe at how bad some parts of this book are. You can really tell I was still very active in fandom when I was writing it. Parts of it bear the hallmarks of a classic hurt/comfort fic, and you can drown in the angst in places. Callan, especially, being the more introspective of the pair, angsts and worries over every little thing. David’s grammar, too, is something I’m readdressing. In Thaw, I was comfortable with his nonstandard grammar, but this book takes him out of his little town into a larger world and I think especially in the narration which is obviously him looking back at events much later, he’d be using more standard English.

Not the dialogue – that’s still going to be colloquial, and even in the narration, there will be turns of phrases that mark him culturally, and occasional lapsesl, say when he’s describing stressful events (as in all of part 3!) but most of it will be more standard than Thaw. The trick will be to keep David’s voice unique, especially as I’m using 2 first person narrators. It shouldn’t be too difficult, as they’re different people, you know? Different, and very real to me.

And now I’m back to that ‘stories are reality’ and I am God thing, I guess, so it’s a good place to stop.

Tomorrow:

  • Revisit the end of “Urn”
  • Edit and submit my Hardboiled story
  • Write 1k words of the Lovecraftian library story
  • One resub
  • One chapter’s worth of editing
  • One hour at least spent researching for the new novel.

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