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bear by san

March 2017



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writing headbang

jeanie had a chance yeah she really did

Jay and Toby are talking about revision.

My process, not surprisingly, isn't much like either one of theirs. But I also write a lot fewer stories, I suspect. (Toby says he has 60 trunked stories on his HD. I've probably trunked one or two dozen stories, and published about forty. Hang on! I have a bibliography. I can look! Hmm. Okay, I've sold about forty stories.

The thing is, I tend to keep pulling the old stories back out and poking at them again until they eventually sell. I mostly do the same thing with novels. I've never actually trunked an entire novel. (I've trunked several partials.)

I think this is because of two things: One, I abandon stuff all the time. Two, Jay got his voice first, as a writer, and the thing I came in with was a grasp of character and narrative structure. Even on my old awful stuff it's the prose and the line of direction that's terrible, not the characterizations and not the narrative arc.

And even to this day, I don't have a particularly strong and cohesive voice: I'm more of a chameleon. Everything I write is a bit different from everything else.

Thematic unity, that I have. I can't shake the thematic unity.

Even when I want to.

So my first draft generally shows up with the narrative, the structure, and the characters intact. What I then have to do is go through and tidy the crappy prose, unearth the things that I tend to leave buried because they seem self-evident to me, add a bunch of exposition, and I always have to explain the endings more than I did the first time through. Also, I have a problem with getting sufficient boom up front, because my plotting style is like building a house of cards or a domino series. Hours of delicate set up work, and then...


Revising to editorial direction is different. But usually, the stuff that editors ask of me is pretty much what I've detailed above: make the arc more patent, explain the character actions more, add exposition, clarify, limit ambiguity, give more backstory, demonstrate the worldbuilding. Imply less, explain more. 

My editors as a whole leave my characters and plots alone, although they sometimes want me to trim subplot and secondary character kudzu, which I normally do without too much bitching.

paulwitcover caught the New York city Iggy and the Stooges show right after the one stillsostrange and I attended, and did a much more extensive write-up.

ginmar talks some more about her experiences in Iraq, and her former CO comments.


Very interesting to read. Good for me to think about (my own revision style) :)
One of the reasons I read your journal, aside from your own topics and discussions - you link to intersting eople and topics. Thank you for pointing out ginmar's post.

I've never actually had that experience. The stories al lseem to arrive with a narrative voice.

It sounds... icky.

I have had the experience of not having a damned thing to say about a topic....
[nudge] red. go explain more on those manuscripts. run along and stop blog surfing. this is your third hint in as many days. don't you want to go revise?</i. I honestly didn't know I was capable of underexplaining a few years ago. Oh, the joys of the ongoing maturing process...