A Satisfying Note

I have to say, this has been a good weekend. A very good weekend. I’ve gotten a lot done and I’m being reminded how much fun one of my rounds of revision is. Honest, it’s not all tearing your hair out and weeping. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve mentioned it before, but for those who don’t know, I typically do three rounds of revision on my manuscripts before I even consider sending it out for others to read and comment on. The one I’m talking about being fun is the third, which generally comes after a lot of work has gone in to make the story flow smoother and the grammar correct. That round often gets referred to as my “out loud” edit. It’s an appropriate name, really, as that’s what I do. I stand and my computer read the whole thing out loud, beginning to end.

It’s a very useful form of editing because you catch so many things your eye skips over and your brain autocorrects. Missing words, leftover words from previous edits (I call those the ghosts of edits past), repetitive wording and overly convoluted sentences. All of these are more easily caught when reading out loud in my experience. Awkward dialogue? Yeah, you’ll hear it when you do the out loud edit. In some ways, it can be the most maddening round too, because the solution to the problem isn’t always simple and I often end up rereading the same sentence a few times in rapid succession to test things out. There’s a lot of back and forth. But I always find that the manuscript is so much better for this , enough that I can’t imagine forgoing it.

In any case, I’m working on that at the moment for my stand-alone novella, Through Windows and Hearts. I’ve broken the novella up into four parts now, as 28.5k is a bit long to leave in one piece. I think the parts help, and I guess my brain was planning it this without telling me, as I found natural points to put them in at. Thanks subconscious. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m hoping to get this one out to test readers in the coming week. When that happens, I’ll do my usual and try to forget that I’m waiting on feedback so I don’t pester people or go completely neurotic about whether it’s any good. Ah, the internal struggles of a writer who never trusts her own opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’d think by now I’d learn to believe in myself a bit. I mean, so far, the feedback on the secret short story has been quite good (including a compliment on my growth as a writer, always a plus). I doubt I’ll change on this though, as always demanding more and better of myself is part of my overall self-improvement plan. Actually, that’s the whole plan, I think. I only plan the stories, not any part of my life, ironically.

In the pursuit of forgetting and staving off neurotic behavior, I’ll be turning my attention at that point to something else. Yes, this is why I have to have so much going on at any given point. I know my limits. Therefor I’ll be doing something I’m a bit scared of. I’m planning to dive into the first pass of editing on Still They Watch, the final volume of the Necromantic trilogy. It’s time, almost 3 months after I wrote “The End” on that one. Why am I scared? Because it’s the close of the trilogy. That always scares me. A trilogy should always build with each of the volumes, but the final one has to pay it all off. I’ve said before that it has to be worth reading Books 1 and 2. Being the end, it’s also what people will likely remember most about the trilogy. No pressure at all though, right?

Also, it’s Devan. It’s my sweet, darling Necromancer who I really do love too much for my own good. I want it to be good so people will love him at least as much as I do. I’ve gotten feedback from one of the people I sent the first book to. While I haven’t read all the notes yet, the reaction to the book, and Devan, was good. She even started hashtagging #TeamDevan on Twitter. You wouldn’t believe the face-splitting grin that caused over here. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I can’t rest on that. I never rest on anything, in case you haven’t noticed. Every book has to be excellent, amazing even, and looking back across the three months since I closed the document, I honestly can’t remember if STW was even remotely workable. I suppose this means good things for my ability to edit it. So much has happened, and so many words written, since then that I can just about promise I won’t remember what I meant to write at the time. That means I’m left with just what the manuscript has to say, and that’s good, because that’s what other readers are limited to as well. It’s a good position to edit from, I find.

While that will likely keep me busy for a few weeks, I am starting to think about what I’ll write next. As I don’t want to rush the Spire of Time and I don’t think it’ll be ready by then (feel free to surprise me on that conclusion, Reah), I think I’m going to write the novella I have outlined for the Mirrors of Bershan world, once I’ve finished the edit of STW that is. That one’s tentatively titled Second Thoughts. For those of you who have read Bound, ST is about Ganson, Brinds and Ivanne. More than one reader has commented that they wanted to know more about what was going on with those three, and on reflection, I realized that there was a storyย thereย to tell. I’ve been kicking the idea around for a little while and I like the outline I did for it, though I still need to go back and reread it. I’m actually a bit excited to write that story, especially since I didn’t realize the most important part of it until I was writing the final volume of that trilogy. It’s amazing the secrets our minds keep from us, only to let us in later.

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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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5 Responses to A Satisfying Note

  1. Celtic Forest Dweller says:

    You just have a system for everything, don’t you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hmm, novellas … I might have to think on that. Not something I’ve considered much before, actually.

    Good luck on all your projects! I used to say you didn’t need any, but… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, we’ll, I need to have systems to keep so much straight in my head. And some luck.

      The key, for me at least, is to understand the scale of story you can tell at different lengths. The novellas have been a learning experience, figuring out how much fits into 20-40k words. We’ll see if they turn out well though. The jury is still out on that one.

  2. dex says:

    I need to do more “out loud” editing. I do it on my short stuff, but haven’t done any on my book projects yet.

    • Julie says:

      I find its a fantastic way to catch things your Brian silently reads right over, among other things. I just wish my cats would stop trying to sing along. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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