Revisions and Mood

Yesterday I started my revisions for the Mirrors of Bershan novella, Second Thoughts. For those who’ve read Bound, ST is a prequel, taking place almost forty years before Bound. It’s the story of Samell Ganson and his partner, Dal Brinds, and how Ivanne came to be in their lives.

I’ll admit I was a bit surprised to find this story lurking in the world I created. I didn’t know it was there until I was almost done writing the trilogy. Something popped up in my brain and told me there was more to that trio than it seemed on the surface, who are admittedly viewed through Faylanna’s perceptions in the novel. I let the Ah Ha of that moment roll over me and didn’t give it a another thought until early this year. That was when this story insisted on being told, and not as a short story. I’m finding I like the novella format. Long enough to tell a fair bit of story, but not quite as complex as a full novel. Writing it a novel’s world is interesting, partly for the number of little easter eggs I found popping up without me even trying for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

In any case, I did the mark ups on ST in the days leading up to my recent vacation, finishing them on the plane. Now that I’m going back through to use the notes, I’ve made a slightly startling discovery. The mood I’m in when doing those comments seems to affect the quality of the comments. How do I know this? Because the ones I made, at least that I’ve gotten to so far, are just flat out bitchy and not terribly helpful.

See, the thing is that I was feeling stressed and generally irritated in the days before my flight. Then on the plane I had someone sitting next to me who seemed to think her seat (and my armrest) were all her personal, private space. After being smacked a couple times with her oversized straw hat, watching her take her sandals off and pull her bare feet up on the seat back in front of her, in full view, plus losing my armrest, you can imagine that I wasn’t in a ย great mood for most of the 4+ hour flight.

I’ve rarely seem my comments on my work get as savage as they are here, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. I mean, I generally pull zero punches with myself and I’m proud of that, but they’re usually mostly constructive. These ones largely aren’t. Oh, for those wondering, no, I would never leave even my normal level of self- directed comments on someone else’s work. That’s not to say I’m too nice when giving feedback, only that I’m not nice to myself at all. But this is a new low for me. I mean, how many times do I need to blow full snark at myself without offering the slightest hint of what might be better?

It’s interesting to think back to how I was feeling in general at the time and see how much it really came out in these comments. Perhaps I needed that vacation even more than I thought I did.

That said, I think the next time I feel like that, I’m going to step away from making revision notes and do something else, something that doesn’t exercise my apparently limitless quantity of sarcasm. These comments are largely not helpful, except maybe in identifying where this novella needs work. The point of doing the markup though is to offer myself some suggestions for fixes that I can mull over before I get to actually revising. I didn’t do that. I just snarked and raved and got very mad at myself. And now I’m irritated with Past Me.

Well, at least I am making progress. Part 1 has been revised, and I’m about to tackle Part 2. For those who want to keep track, there are six parts to this novella in total. My hope is to have this round of revisions done by the end of the week. I can do it, as long as I don’t get another migraine on my way home from work like I did tonight. Somehow, that doesn’t help productivity any more than mass quantities of sarcasm. Imagine that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, before I forget, there are still a couple of open slots for the blog tour, which is looking more like the latter half of August now. Also, there’s some space on the street team in case anyone’s interested. Drop me a line if you are or feel free to touch base on Twitter.

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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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3 Responses to Revisions and Mood

  1. quix689 says:

    Well, at least you’re aware of the pattern now and know not to edit when in a bad mood. I like how you make notes and then go back and actually edit. I think I’m going to try that next time I edit. I didn’t do that the past several times, thinking I would just make small-ish changes as I went, and then I reached the end and realized that I needed to redo most of the novel. All that time editing was wasted. Well, not wasted, but it wasn’t as productive as it could have been.

    Also, I’ve been known to be pretty mean on my own novels, as well. My second finished draft (my only fantasy-ish novel) is covered with red ink where I just put a huge X through the page, wrote “stupid” and other not-as-nice words, and moved on. (In my defense, the draft really was abysmal.)

    • Julie says:

      Lol, my own version of that page would probably be “Oh, so you really are that stupid. That’s concerning.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      For the mark up, it probably helps that I take away all ability to actually make changes. I pdf the file and use stickies in Adobe Reader to make comments. I do most of this on my iPad Mini, then reference from there when I’m doing revisions. It forces me to take a big-picture view of the plot and characters, rather than get caught up in the niceties of language. That’s what the second full pass is for in my mind. Each pass has its own purpose.

      • quix689 says:

        Yeah, that definitely sounds like something I need to try. I have a program that lets you comment on PDFs. Maybe that’s what I should do. Because I know if I have the option to edit, I will. That’s one of the problems I have with reading others’ work, too – if I have a writing utensil in hand, I will fix grammar/punctuation stuff, even if that’s not what I was aiming to do!

        Thanks! This sounds like something that will work for me…whenever I actually have something to edit again, which will (hopefully) be soonish. ๐Ÿ™‚

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