Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The (for real) rewrites begin!

I haven't read my book in about three weeks now, and I've basically been trying not to think about it at all. I mean, not not think about the book itself, but not think about the writing. It hasn't been easy, and I've been tempted a few times, but I've resisted. I told myself when I got the cover, I'd sit down, give it a good read, and do any final rewrites before publishing.

Last night Cathy sent me the first mockups of the cover, and so my long fast was broken. I picked up the book. I started reading.

Well. Shall I forgive myself because chapter 1 was written so, so long ago and I was a different writer then? I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt. And chapter 2? It's been gutted. Like, I cut about half of it. Those pages aren't gone; I'm going to use them in the novella; but I think I was trying too hard to squeeze too much in when I included them in Dark Man's Son.

So many "advice to writers" type things say cut, cut, and cut some more, and that each cut is a victory. It's true. But with these rewrites I'm not just cutting; I'm revising and polishing and remaking. The book will be better for it........

I understand a lot of the issues with self-published writers now. It's not just bad comma placement or split infinitives (though I split infinitives, and I split them defiantly); it's also that rush to publish. You've worked so hard on something, and now it's done! Huzzah! Hit that little button on KDP or Pub!It or Smashwords and blammo! Instant book.

Of course, said instant book is probably pretty frightful. Yeah, it might be readable, even enjoyable, but it's not necessarily...good. Was my first draft bad? No, I don't think so. Was it the best it could be? God, no, and even the final, published version probably won't be.

But each time I sit down with the manuscript and go through it, it gets better. I took 3 weeks away to give myself some distance, and now I'm back with a fresh eye. I'm seeing the flaws and inconsistencies I didn't see before, and I'm correcting them. Scenes that were once sharp and vivid in my mind -- because I'd just made them up -- are now hazy, and I can recognize when I need to put a bit more effort into those pesky descriptions. I hate writing descriptions of where people are, but 3 weeks away has given me the distance to see when it's necessary.

Well and so. I'm only halfway through chapter 2, and I've got a revision nearly every page. Even if it's just a small thing. It's worth it, though.

Now my problem: my free trial of Office has expired, so I can't revise my Smashwords edition. I have word on my big, old, clunky PC, but that means I'll have to put off doing the revisions until I feel like dealing with the damn thing. *sigh* The trials of a poor writer....

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