Apparently I Am A Total Addict

Honestly, I wasn’t going to post today.  But then, I wasn’t going to do a lot of things in the last 24 hours that I’ve done, so I guess it works out somehow?  As I said yesterday, editing has been going well.  Remember how I said that I had just finished the first 3 chapters of Possession?  Yesterday was far worse.  I mean, I really didn’t plan on doing that…  You see, today I’m starting in on chapter 14. Of a total 20 chapters…  Oops.

I really have been editing as I’ve been going, I swear.  I’ve got all the tracked changes in my file to prove it, but, well, um… I blame the story.  It’s interesting to have the same problem with my own story that I have had with so many of my favourite authors’ published works.  I just keep going.  I get to the end of one chapter and find myself unable to stop there.  Hell, I had enough trouble stopping long enough for food and bathroom breaks. 😮  I think I’ve become addicted to Possession.

I suppose that this is a good thing, but I kind of wonder if I’m so caught up in it that I’m missing stuff, or blind to its faults. Yeah, I know, grow some self-confidence, why don’t I?  Would that anything were that simple.  It’s not that I didn’t wait long enough either, because I no longer remember the other, unwritten side of some of these conversations, what the other character was thinking and feeling, which I’m sure I knew at the time.  The good thing is that I have no intention of this being my only pass for editing, which might explain why I called it the first pass yesterday.  I did a total of 3 passes on Bound (if you don’t count me throwing out the first draft and changing virtually everything as an editing pass, which I don’t). I’ll probably do at least that much on this one, depending on what it needs.

I have to remember that I did do some rereading (and consequently editing, because I can’t leave well enough alone even when I’m supposed to be doing something else) while I was writing this last month.  I also have to remind myself that the hardest part is still ahead, that ending I’m not happy with.  I still have no idea what I want to do with it.  I know a few of the things I definitely can’t do with it, now that I’m about 2/3 of the way through outlining the next book, because there are things they can’t know about until then, and other things I have to preserve.  Besides, those things generally wouldn’t make sense there.  So that’s going to probably slow me down a lot when I get there.

And, of course, standard so far, the book is slowly getting a little longer as I edit.  I know that there’s a theory of editing that advocates cutting 10% from your manuscript, but I seem to go the other way.  Bound, when I was done editing enough to send to test readers, went from 73,264 words to 83,334 words.  Yes, I added slightly in excess of 10k (which is, of course more than 10%). Part of that was the total rewrite of the ending, and the rest was adding little touches, smoothing things out.  I think the dictum of cutting as part of editing applies more to those who tend to overwrite.  I used to be one of those, but since tossing the first draft of Bound, I’ve gone entirely the other way.  I seem to under-write, so I have to go in and smooth and fill in later.  In some ways, I find that easier to deal with as I edit my own work, and it seems to keep me from writing out of control, 200k+ word manuscripts.  I’m sure one day I’ll have to eat those words, as I learn to create more complex worlds/stories, but until then, I’m satisfied with what I’m doing.

I don’t quite know what to think at this point.  I am happy with what I’m finding in the manuscript and it seems like the times I was struggling most were some of my best work on Possession (something to comfort myself with the next time I’m having difficulty getting words on the screen). I just wish I was one of those people with a modicum of self-confidence.  I question myself at every turn, my thoughts and feelings on my own work and whether it’s good enough or if I’m one of those people who thinks their very rough and under-developed manuscript is gold.  I never seem able to trust myself on that one.  I have serious doubts that I ever will, especially as I often get the impression that I have a LOT of company on this problem.  Maybe it’s a good thing, something that will help keep me from publishing inadequate books to a wider audience.

I have no idea where I took this or what kind of flower this is (I just take pictures, I’m not a botanist), but it was beautiful and I loved the way it looked.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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12 Responses to Apparently I Am A Total Addict

  1. Ottabelle says:

    You can do it. I believe in you.

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    It looks like some variety of a double daffodil, like “Tahiti,” or something similar 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I really should learn the names of the things I take pictures of, but I’m usually too busy lining up the shot 😀 Thanks though, it’s nice to have some idea other than “Pretty layered flower”

  3. It is indeed a daffodil..

    A pretty layered double frilly one *grin*

    PS It’s raining here, I blame you.

    • Julie says:

      As I’m in for at least another week of rain every day, I refuse to accept the blame. Now, if it was sunny here and rainy there, you’d have every right to blame me for stealing your weather and leaving you my own, and I’d have to accept that. 🙂

  4. I can’t edit a manuscript as I go along. I find I get so worried about reading stuff, I never make any forward progress! It’s good that you question yourself at every turn. If a writer is 100 percent satisfied with what they have in front of them, it’s time for them to worry.

    • Julie says:

      Oh good, I guess that means I’m doing this right 🙂 You’re right though. I’ve read the work of writers who were entirely satisfied and it was usually not so hot. I suppose as long as I believe I can do better, I will continue to push myself and demand more of myself, which of course leads to growth as a writer.

      As far as editing as I go, I don’t usually, for the same reasons you mentioned. That said, I did some this time, when I was running into trouble, purely to get myself back into the groove. But as I mentioned, I can’t seem to leave well enough alone. Oh well, I got through it, and I think I have a handle on how to do the ending a little better. It’s been a very productive weekend.

  5. 4amWriter says:

    haha. that always happens to me when I edit, I add content! I’m sure it’s because when I wrote the first half I didn’t completely know everything that would happen in the second half.

    So my second draft becomes longer and more convoluted. It’s usually by the 3rd or 4th drafts when I really can see what I should cut.

    It’s not a good system (for me), and I do want to go at it differently with my next novel.

    Beautiful flower.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, Kate.

      You know, it’s comforting to not be alone in the adding vs cutting group. If I had really long first drafts, I’d probably be more worried about cutting, but they don’t seem to exceed 100k these days, so I guess I’m still on the right side. Of course, we’ll have to see where Possession ends up. I figured out the problem with the ending, I think, and it definitely involves adding, though I’m not sure how much. Part of the problem is that I needed to know what was in book 3. I guess that makes sense, though, since I have to know what I’m setting up.

      Also, you know my motto, find the process that works for you. My suggestion, if you aren’t happy with the system you’ve got going is to ask yourself why you don’t know what’s going on in the first half and work from that answer.

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