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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I know why B&I makes me so nuts.

Because of the Frankenstein Monster nature of this thing, I can't see it as a story. So I have no feel for it. I can't surf it.

I'm as blind to this book and its arc and its tension and whether they work as I was when I started writing. It's not a book, it's a stack of parts that I put together following a chart. I can't feel the story. It's like trying to walk through traffic by looking in a mirror and wearing earplugs: nothing is natural. Everything is calculated and nothing is reflexive.

I have no idea if it works or not. I can't feel it in my head.

I'm not used to that, and I don't like it. And I don't very much like the book anymore, either, although my first readers seem pretty happy with it so far. Writers cannot judge their own work. I just keep telling myself that.

Maybe I should have just trunked the damned thing. Oh, wait, is that the subtle voice of post-novel ennui? Could be, rabbit.

Off to a rubber chicken dinner with the boy at GAMA momentarily. To add insult to injury, I have to drive down near the Strip. Bleh. So very not fun.

On the other hand, I really like this song.


I just self-published a book and now I hate it. Of course, I probably have more reason than you do. =) It's a collection of short stories from when I was in college up through the present that I tinkered to bring it up to speed, but... Yeah, it kind of makes me cringe and wonder what the hell I was thinking putting it up for public consumption. Don't worry! It's yours, and it's an aspect of your voice, so it is wonderful in its way.
Well, what terrifies me is that it's prolly got two more rewrites coming, possibly three... and I don't know how I can do that.
::hopes this isn't a stupid question::

Are you compelled to do re-writes, or do you choose to do them? Are you given criteria, say, to re-write and fix this or that? What level of control do you retain when you do a re-write?
That's a very interesting and complicated question, and the only good answer I can give is, it depends.

Essentially, right now, I wait to see what suggestions my first readers have, and then try to meet as many of those suggestions as I agree with. Then I give the book to my agent (this book is intended to be an option novel--that is to day, I have a three-book contract, and my publisher has the option on my fourth SFF novel. Which means that they have the opportunity to buy it or reject it before I can show it to any other publisher.) and see if she has any suggestions. Then I decide how many of THOSE I want to take, and again try to make the book a better book. (This is the process that I just underwent, because Jenn had some very good and very difficult to implement suggestions on this particular MS the first time I showed it to her.)

THEN it goes to my editor, who has many choices.

She can accept it. She can reject it. She can ask for revisions and another look after them without either accepting or rejecting, and with no promise to buy even if the revisions are done as she asks.

Assuming she buys it, she can then ask for *more* revisions.

All of these revisions are open to negotiation and argument, of course--but so far, I've only disagreed with my agent on two or three revisions, I think, and with my editor on none. But I personally think it's a wise thing to listen to one's agent and editor, even if one does not necessarily agree with them. (There are bad agents and editors in the world, although mine, of course, are muy sympatico and generally wonderful in all ways. Especially when they're giving me extra work!)

Because, really. It's all about three people who love the book, and want it to be happy and grow up strong. And, incidentally, keep us in post-it-notes, printer cartridges, and Indian takeout. *g*

I think that there's a mistaken assumption sometimes that the author/editor relationship is adversarial, and ideally, it's not.
Sorry, was running long. Two-parter.

My agent and editor will point out logic flaws, breaks in flow, clunky bits, uneccesary scenes, inadequately explained things, missed opportunities for tension, ragged pacing, weaknesses in structure, and crappy characterization. (In their opinion.) It's my job to decide if they're right, and if so, to fix it.

Sometimes they will offer suggestions as to HOW it may be fixed, but not always. Also, sometimes, while they can diagnose that there is *a* problem, they may not exactly know what the problem is. So then they just tell me where they got confused or lost interest or whatever.

I understand from listening to other writers that there are more aggressive editors in the business, but I haven't encountered one yet, and every editorial request I've ever gotten has been couched as a suggestion.
See, I have people who do that for me (sometimes). I call them my "Chief Readers". They come and go, but they are invaluable. For critical reading, for enthusiasm... I tell other writers who ask me that one of the greatest helps they can find is a good reader. I think it's cool that you have professional chief readers. Color me jealous. =) Just a bit.
Well, I have betareaders too. The difference is that they aren't financially involved in whether the book does well or not--and they don't work on dozens of books a year, and thus develop a sharklike editorial eye.

Comments from betareaders are usually *much* easier to revise to than editorial comments, because editors, damn them, are very often *right*. And they're not afraid to make massive amounts of work for writers.

And they're harder to ignore *g*


I think that is the nature of all epic tales which may or may not require more than one story/novel to finish them. In my case, the brain loses the passionate fire after the first part of the novel or so and what comes after is a calculated attempt to do justice to what went before.

All writers need a determination to finish just to get to the end, and a long work requires ten times as much. Inevitably, I lose the desire to tell the story in the morass of making sure the story is executed according to plan.

I start seeing the story more as a thing to finish (making sure there are not holes) and less as a romp. In that moment, the tale loses its romance. The good news is, I think that once you reach the level where you recognize what's happening (ie the story's not bad, just your reaction to having to push so hard on it) you can acknowledge the work outside of the objectivity, if you get my meaning. Eventually, you may even work your way back to liking it.

But I think that tends to happen after you've got it in print and banished it from your brain for several years lol.