Too Long or Not Long Enough?

No, I’m not talking about how long All Stitched up was.  I know that will get longer, and is at least as long as it needs to be at this point.  Today, I have other things on my mind.  Bear with me, this post might get a little ranty, and I might shred myself a bit, but, well, you’ll see.

So, last night I opened The Nine.  I figured it was time.  With cover art basically finalized for Bound, I need to get the close of that trilogy in order, which it’s nowhere near at the moment.  I knew it couldn’t be, not after only one round of edits completed.  I was prepared for that.  I thought.  But then I opened it after like 3 months away from it.  I’m not sure if I was away too long from it or what, but I wanted to close it and cry. Maybe even run away and fall back into Devan’s fictional arms.  Seriously. It might just be a mark of how far I’ve come but I feel like my first draft of Stitched was better than this (or maybe that feeling is just because I haven’t reread it yet) .  And I haven’t gotten outside the first chapter of The Nine.

Breathe, Julie, just breathe.

All right, so maybe it isn’t as bad as it feels, and at least I KNOW what’s wrong with the first chapter. And that it’s my own damned fault.  I did something I know WAY better than to do, and I normally resist the urge to do it with ease, but apparently not when I was writing and doing the first round of edits on The Nine.  See, I had trouble figuring out how to start the book.  I don’t normally, but this time I did.  And as I groped around for a beginning, it got… info-dumpy.  Yes, I am making up all the words tonight.  Deal with it.  But honestly, I really should know better than to do that as a substitute for a good opening.  I think I saw this problem on the first round of edits, but I didn’t think it was that bad.  It is.  It’s that bad and more.  It’s the kind of beginning that makes me want to slap people, and I did it this time.  Ouch.  Still not excusable.  So I’m rewriting it and praying that chapter two will not make me as stabby as I feel right now.

I’m wondering if the reason it seems so much worse right now is because I’ve had 3 months away from it, or if it’s because I was working on another project. Or maybe I’m just less stupid now than when I edited the first round.  Oh, wow, look at that ranty little firework explode in the air!  Amazing, ohh, ahhh.  I hope everyone’s being entertained by this.  But seriously, maybe it’s just working on something completely different that made me see this chapter for the warty mess it was.  As it is, I keep having to remind my brain that this is not Necromantic, that it’s Tavis’ turn to get some love again.

I suspect after a few chapters of editing, I’ll be back in the groove with this.  I know I can’t give up on closing this trilogy, and not just because certain friends will fly out to Vancouver to kill me (though they might do that).  The story itself is still good, and I want to tell it.  I just have to survive editing this chapter, and maybe the next.  I think the rest of it was in better shape than this.  But then, I also didn’t think this first chapter was cringe-worthy and the first few pages of it really are.  Arrrrrrrrgh.  I suspect Curiosity heard that out on Mars…

So yeah, back in editing mode, irritated, but driving myself forward.  They don’t edit themselves any more than they write themselves.  Stupid lack of editing faeries who would come in and magically make my manuscript perfect for me. *shakes fist at the ceiling*

Oh, and, as if I didn’t have enough on my brain, last night, another story idea sat down next to me on my mental log and introduced itself.  I need to clone myself or get my own personal time-turner!!!!!!!!!


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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19 Responses to Too Long or Not Long Enough?

  1. Zen says:

    A writer is their own worst critic! Even though I’ve published my first book and worked hard on editing it, I still can’t bear to look at it too much because I know I’ll want to take it down and start the editing process all over again. Your story’s probably great, so you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself!

    • Julie says:

      I agree the rest might not be so bad, but trust me, the first half of the opening chapter really was bad. I rewrote that much of it last night and I’m fairly sure it’s a million times better. I really hate info-dumps at the front of novels, even when they’re the third in the trilogy. I know better than to think I needed to do that. :p I am, however, feeling less ranty today about it, always a plus.

  2. wordsurfer says:

    Don’t panic! Everything is fixable and at least you know what’s wrong with it. That’s a great thing, really, because it’ll let you be so very efficient with re-writes/edits!

    • Julie says:

      That’s how I’m managing to look at it this morning. I’m less ranty, not panicked and I have the first half of that chapter rewritten already. I’ll check it today. It’s about 500 words shorter, but a lot smoother. Thanks.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    The first round of edits is just that—the first round. Don’t beat yourself up so much. The first chapter is often the hardest to get right. It’s no wonder so many writers go back and revise it more than other one, especially once the entire story has been revised and polished.

    That version served its purpose—you could move forward and let the story develop. Now it’s the first chapter’s turn to move forward.

    Breath. Rewrite. Repeat as needed—especially breathing. Oh, and sleeping and eating…. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, but I’m on the second round with The Nine. I kind of expected that I’d get rid of that sort of stuff on the first round. Oh well. It’s coming along, in spite of that, and I think the rewrite on that part is better.

      And that sleeping and eating thing? I’ll see, but no promises. This is me, after all. 😀

      • jmmcdowell says:

        I’d hate to think how much got through my first rounds. But I don’t think it’s uncommon. Even a lot of seasoned authors wouldn’t show that first-edited draft to readers. They’ll wait until after the second round!

        • Julie says:

          Yeah, I tend to go about 3 rounds or so before I even think about letting readers see it. For me, I want to take it as far as I can on my own, rather than show my readers a manuscript I know has serious flaws. They only have so much time and I don’t want to waste it with them going over errors I can fix myself. I want them to help me find the things I can’t see or didn’t realize were a problem because I know what something is supposed to be.

  4. Subtlekate says:

    I wonder if you are being too harsh on yourself here.

    • Julie says:

      It’s more like I’m fervently anti-info-dump. But I’ll acknowledge that I am very hard on my work and sometimes possibly a little too much so. I just don’t know how to be any other way. It’s how I demand the best of myself.

      • Subtlekate says:

        I call it the “So Bob, did you know…..?” But then I can have too much dialogue as well so it goes both ways. I can’t seem to find a middle ground. I do agree that info dump in the first chapter is probably a no no.

        • Julie says:

          To me, the issue isn’t about dialogue or exposition but about how trying to lump together too much back story and world information near the beginning brings your pace and the interest of the reader to their knees. I ascribe to the theory of give it to them when it’s relevant, and dribble all that in as you tell the story itself, but only the stuff they have to know, not everything. Then you don’t end up overloading them with stuff they didn’t need, and it feels natural when read.

  5. 4amWriter says:

    I have lost track with how many drafts or even semi-drafts that I have done. I made the mistake early on to revise as I write (because I’m so OCD that I couldn’t bear to leave a typo as is if I knew it was there). So, my revisions were done in mini-layers and that wasted a lot of time and frustrated me to no end.

    I’m better now, and I promised myself that I will approach my new WIP differently.

    • Julie says:

      I’ll be honest, that was one of my take-aways from my first NaNo, to just write it, to turn off the editor side of my brain (who is totally obnoxious about flaws) and get it down. I spend first draft letting it be imperfect so that it will exist. As you can see, I eventually let that inner editor loose, but the result ends up being good, if I can survive my initial bouts of “omg, this is awful, wtf was I thinking.” I normally try to keep those out of the blog, but this really needed out of my brain. 🙂

  6. You finish The Nine missy or we are having words in October! I have to know what happens!!! Considering the fact that I inhaled both Bound and Possession…I am a bit eager to get my greedy little eyeballs on this!

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