Posts Tagged ‘book one’

It’s a Good Thing My Notes are Only for Me (Also Con Thoughts)

Revision planning continues. I admit I get a little stircrazy with it sometimes. Here’s a list of problems and fixes, for example:

Notes
Not the most helpful

Other highlights, from my chapter review:

  • Sigh. This chapter sucks but it has good information in it.
  • Prophecy: Suddenly in FULL FORCE
  • Relationship: Weird
  • Notes: This chapter feels really…not good.
  • Prophecy: Hanging out in the back
  • Relationship: Going down like a lead balloon
  • Kira is a butt.
  • Notes: I like this one too. Good job, me. I guess.
  • Relationship: Still a mess
  • Dan and Lana are awkward and useless.
  • Relationship: Basically the worst
  • Relationship: Whoops
  • Notes: God, I love Paran. He’s so fun once he’s in his own element.
  • Relationship: Very confusing

Yes, yes, it’s very good that no one else is relying on my notes.

Going to print out the book tomorrow for the next step, so wish me luck.

In other news, I learned today that our local Star Trek/scifi convention, celebrating 45 years this year (apparently their first year they showed the trailer for Star Wars before anyone knew what that was), is shutting down. I guess it’s still run by the original people, and they’re retiring, but I’m very sad.

Cons seem to be going the way of these giant, commercial things, like San Diego Comic Con. We have our own version of that here, which regularly pulls in over a 100000 people. And they’re interesting! But they’re also overwhelming. The last time I went to SDCC I think I spent more time standing in line to try to get into things than actually doing anything, and half the time you wouldn’t even get in. What’s the point of spending a gazillion dollars to do that? I mean, yeah, you can get access to information and guests that you can’t at a smaller con, but at some point I feel like the trade-off is not worth it.

(I haven’t gone to the local one in several years either. I went the first few years before it got ginormous, and now I just can’t be bothered most of the time.)

I haven’t been to the Star Trek/scifi con in a few years either, but that’s more because the timing hasn’t really worked since I had the small, mobile ones. But it was my first con. I went for the first time when I was 12–don’t even remember how I learned about it, since this was early Internet days–and for a shy geek like me who thought that she was alone, it was eye-opening. I went every year after that, first with my parents, though later they’d just drop me and my friends off. I feel like smaller cons–this one, and MileHiCon, for example–are a good place for teenagers to really be able to grow into themselves. I have a ton of happy memories.

Like the time the Klingons crashed a panel about the Dominion war with a Cardassian skull. Or the time the Klingons stole my candy. (Lots of Klingons.) The time my then-boyfriend and I got professionally done up as Vulcans and then came in as finalists at the dance contest later that night. I first found out about Pokemon there, having wandered into an anime room showing the first episode in Japanese (with no subtitles, so I had no idea what was going on).

My friends and I would go and just hang out, maybe attending panels, maybe not. It was a great way to find out about new shows and movies we didn’t know about and to just be around like-minded people who weren’t going to make fun of us for knowing the difference between a Galaxy-class and an Intrepid-class starship.

The last time I went, I didn’t even go into the con proper. I put on my original series mini-dress (that I made for Halloween one year, off the pattern in the Technical Manual) and hung out in the bar with my mother-in-law and her friends, and we watched the people in costumes go by and chatted about nerdy things.

So, I mean, I understand why they’re shutting down. I didn’t realize it was the same people running it all this time. And it’s all volunteer-run. But it is the end of an era, one that I will remember fondly.

(And, of course, I can’t go this last year, because of small, mobile one activities. I’m tempted to blow them off, but I have committed to stuff, so alas.)

What was your first con, squiders? Do you have fond memories? I’d love to hear one.

Distracted By My Own Work

How goes my revision?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Yesterday I finished going through Book 1. At the very end, there’s a note that the story will be continued in Book 2.

I sat there, and I said to myself, “Don’t do it, Kit. Stop here. We have to get this book done, and you know what happens in Book 2.”

And then I opened Book 2 and read it anyway.

And, at that point, I figured I might as well read Book 3. And then I really enjoyed Book 3, so I went back and re-read the end again.

This is counterproductive, and yet, every time I work on any of the books it happens. That’s part of what is so infuriating about having to work on Book 1 yet again. Most of the story? Good. Great, even. My betas for Book 3 universally told me they stayed up too late reading. So I know if I can just get the beginning of Book 1 in shape, I should be able to reach my goals with the trilogy.

So why is getting the beginning of Book 1 in shape so damn hard?

Sigh.

Of course, Books 2 and 3 aren’t perfect. They both reference events that no longer happen in the most recent draft of Book 1 and don’t reference new events. Book 2 has structural problems and everyone’s just slightly out of character. But there’s also not a lot of use working on them if Book 1 doesn’t get done.

(In case people are wondering why they’re out of character in Book 2 but not Book 3, my writing of the trilogy has gone something like:

  • Write Book 1
  • Write Book 2
  • Rewrite Book 1
  • Rewrite Book 2
  • Write Book 3
  • Rewrite Book 1

So the current draft of Book 2 is actually the oldest existent draft and I did some plot work between it and when I wrote Book 3. This list also doesn’t include non-complete drafts. Yay. I’ve been working on this trilogy for SO LONG.)

Anyway, I’ve dragged myself out of the later books and am back to working on Book 1. I spent some time today writing out the main subplots as well as my antagonist motivations, which was less helpful than I was hoping but may have value in the future.

The last step before I get to actually revising is to go through Holly Lisle’s 7-Day Crash Revision course. I’ve told you guys before that I use a modified version of Holly’s How to Revise Your Novel process for my revisions, and the crash course came with that class, back whenever I bought it. I’ve never used it, though, but the idea is that it’s for a quick revision when you have a deadline, and she recommends only using it on a project that has already gone through a major revision.

Book 1 has been through my major revision process, so I thought I’d run through the crash course with it and see if there’s any value.

I am aware that this is me procrastinating the revision yet again, but I do want to make sure I have everything in place so that this is, finally, the last revision. So I don’t think it will hurt to use the resources at hand.

I also need to decide how much of the book to print out for the paper edit. First nine or ten chapters, I’m thinking. As I mentioned before, I think past there the book is more solid (aside from a side plot that kind of goes nowhere that I need to poke at) and needs only tweaks. My print shop left me (moved twenty minutes away) so I may just stick it on a flash drive and go to Fedex/Kinko’s for that.

(I am aware that Kinko’s is no longer in the name anywhere, but I am set in my ways and here we are.)

This is kind of ridiculous. I want to work on this, but I am also scared of working on this. It is very frustrating and I wish I would get on with it a bit faster. It’s just…I’ve been working on this project for so long, and it’s very important to me, and I just want to get it done right, and yet I’m also unsure if I’m going to get it done right.

auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggghhhhh

Anyway, how are you? How are things going?

So, How’s the Big Project Going, Kit?

It’s the middle of April. So how am I doing on my major project for the year, which is to revise the first book of my high fantasy trilogy, so I can get it ready for submission?

I mean, it’s going okay. Am I as far as I wanted to be at this point? No, but a lot of that is because I needed to finish my novella draft and I didn’t get that done until February.

And then there was Pirates of Penzance, and the cruise…but really that’s just excuses.

Anyway.

I’m kind of a lightweight outliner when it comes to first drafts, but when it comes to revision, I strongly believe in knowing exactly what I’m changing, and to what, and where, and why.

(The idea is to minimize the amount of drafts, she says as she has lost track of the amount of drafts this book is on.)

(Though, to be fair, the most recent draft is the only one I went into where I’d outlined the revision before hand. Earlier versions I hadn’t come up with my revision process yet and hence were somewhat haphazard.)

So I decided, after my readthrough of the draft, that the best thing to do would be to make a chapter guide, with the thought that then I could go back in later and make notes about what changes should go into each chapter once I knew what was in each chapter.

I got about half a chapter doing that, then went–well, why shouldn’t I write down notes as I go? Save myself some time later.

So I did that for about nine chapters, but then I realized that there’s three main plot threads that need to run through the entire book in one way or another. If left to my own devices, I tend to do what I call subplot bunching, where I will focus on one subplot for a bit, then switch to another, and so on, and what happens is that plot threads get dropped for a while and the flow of the book is off.

As this is the first book of a trilogy, as you can imagine the plot threads are quite a bit more complicated than they are for a standalone novel.

ANYWAY, so I went back in and started making notes related to my three major plot threads and whether or not they were currently present, and what they looked like. And I think, after I finish my chapter summaries, I will need to map out how each plot thread needs to progress to make sure everything is moving and makes sense.

Because, of course, rearranging the plot points like we talked about will fix some problems, but it does create others. Chapter Six, for example. I thought I’d just be able to take it out, since I’d moved the main plot point in it before the story started, but it also includes a major reveal about one of my plot threads. So now I’ve either got to think of a new chapter six (potentially doable, though nothing is currently coming to mind) or I’ve got to figure out where else that reveal has to go (and it has to be chapter six or before), and I will need to know my progression to make that decision.

Yay.

Is this the most efficient way to work? Probably not.

And I am thinking that, despite the best laid plans of mice and men, I will need to print out at least the first third of the book and edit on paper. And…probably rewrite some of the chapters. The first one definitely. Maybe Chapter Six, depending on what it ends up being. Most of Lana’s point of view because she’s half the problem with everything.

Whee. Double yay.

The good news is that my revision deadline for the novella keeps moving back, so I’ve got more time to work on this now than originally planned. And my SkillShare class is going pretty well, so the hope is that I can get that done and then spend all my attentions on the revision.

How are your goals for the year going, squider? Making good progress? Run into issues?

I Think I’ve Got It

Well, squiders, I’d like to say I’ve been hard at work and have made great progress on my revision, and that everything is going fine and I am close to meeting my goals.

I would very much like to say that.

Unfortunately, the truth is that Life has really gotten in the way over the last few weeks and I haven’t had much time to work.

(Well, I take that back. Yes, my time has been limited, but I’m also running into the problem I had the last two years where I’m so stressed that when I do find a bit of time I can’t focus and instead play phone games or something useless.)

It’s all very frustrating, because I can see myself falling into the issues of the previous years and goddamnit I want to get things done!

Now, all that being said, I have made progress. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the revision, which, while not the most useful thing, isn’t too awful.

I’ve also spent some time writing some related scenes about the changes, to see if they fit with the themes and larger narrative, and so far so good, so I think we’re good to move forward.

The next step, I think, is to make a list of each chapter (and their summaries) and map out what changes need to go where.

I still haven’t figured out how to do the actual revision without rewriting from scratch (it’s easier for my brain to add the changes in if I’m writing everything out, but it takes longer and I would like to figure out how to just edit where I need to edit), but I think maybe I need to print out the chapters that need the most changes and map them on paper, and then I can just put them in.

Progress! Just not as much as I wanted.

I also bit off more than I can chew for the month, I think, which is adding to my stress. Hopefully I can just prioritize things, however, and that should help.

How’s your March going, squiders? Reaching your goals?

Fingers Crossed

Okay, squiders. I’m still going through the feedback from the marathon, but I think I’ve figured it out.

(Turns out there’s a lot of marathon feedback to go through, and some of it is just grammatical which is unhelpful in this particular instance.)

Part of the problem I’ve had with the beginning of the story for God knows how many iterations is how to properly pace the beginning to give the characters the time they need to build a relationship while still keeping up tension. It’s a balancing act, certainly, one that has gotten better with each iteration (I still recall the first draft, where they started in a different city and spent the first third of the book getting to the main city before the main plot even got going).

(Ah, to be young and unaware of structure.)

But I think I can solve both the pacing balancing AND the internal conflict bit by moving up a plot point to happen just before the story starts (right now, it’s in chapter…six, I want to say, which isn’t really doing anything and can probably be taken out after I move this).

So right now, the plot goes something like: FMC moves to capital > hints of prophecy > war is declared (and so on, to be vague about everything).

So I think I move it so the war being declared is the catalyst for the FMC to move. Then war is already looming throughout the beginning of the story, plus it gives Lana some internal conflict because the war will have already affected her life, versus everyone around her, who are operating under the “it’s awful, but it’s not affecting me” state of things. PLUS it adds in some tension to her relationship with the MMC, because she can feel conflicted about building relationships in a place she doesn’t intend to stay.

With the exception of chapter six (or whatever it is) which can just quietly go into the night, most of the other chapters don’t have to change that much, either–just change internal monologue and dialogue, tweak motivations, etc.

This…this might be the answer.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, squiders.

Also, I’m going to take next week off of the blog. Hopefully when I come back the week after, I will have successful news to share with you all.

Already Distracted

So, yesterday, my spouse woke up and was extremely upset about his lack of camping and specifically backpacking this summer. And I said, “Look, we’re super busy this month, so the only day we have to go is, well, today.”

So guess who had to go backpacking out of nowhere yesterday.

(Also just after we booked the campsite we got a freak hailstorm, which shredded all our plants and also flooded our basement, so we got out of here late to go backpacking. Yesterday was…something.)

So we talked Wednesday about World’s Edge being done finally, and how now I need to either revise Book One or outline/write the novella I owe Turtleduck Press or both.

And then I proceeded to do neither.

One because choices are hard, but, two, because I have two writing books out from the library. You see, a month or so ago I was going through some list of recommended writing books, and I thought I might actually read some of them.

But not now, no, that would be crazy.

So I put some on my To Read Later lists on my library card, or downloaded some samples to my Kindle, but there were two that my library did not have/were not available on the Kindle, so I decided to request these through my state’s Interlibrary Loan program, with the idea they would show up at some point but probably not soon.

(It’s been a year on my request for The Man Who Was Thursday. I know it’s still in the system because I check with the librarians periodically.)

So of course they came immediately.

They are The Story Grid, which is a revision technique, and a book called Plot Perfect, which is about plotting, as the name implies.

Now, the issue with Interlibrary Loans is that you get a single renewal. Six weeks and then they go back from whence they came, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. And from last year when I was attempting to read a writing book a month, I know that it is not fast to go through a writing book. You have to sit and absorb them, or sometimes do exercises. You have to try out the content, or what is the point?

Anyway, I’ve started working through The Story Grid. It proports itself to be a system that allows you to pinpoint what’s wrong with a story so it can be fixed in revision, which sounds like a lovely idea, and maybe will be helpful with my Book One revision.

I’ve mostly just made it through the set-up part of the book (because backpacking) but hopefully we’ll get into the process here soon. I admit to being a bit skeptical that this or any system is going to be able to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, but here’s hoping!

My revision process works pretty well in general, but I’ve already run Book One through it once, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to try something new.

So, it’s kind of like I’m working on my revision? Very kind of.

But it does throw a wrench into things, because I do still need to get to my novella and if I’m going to try out a new revision technique, it may mean that it’ll be longer before I can switch projects. I mean, you don’t want to stop something new in the middle. That way lies madness.

Sigh. Dang it, occasionally efficient library system.

Have you tried the Story Grid technique, squiders? Thoughts on stuffing both projects into my schedule?

Also I just realized we’re less than a month from MileHiCon. Oh no.

No, no, I’ll worry about that next week.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!