Sorry that there was no flash fiction this past Friday. There will be one this Friday. Recently, I left my old job and started yet another new job, which thus far I like, although I’m afraid that it won’t generate enough $ and I will have to get a second job. Gotta do what we can to pursue the dream, right? Beyond, I’m taking a third crack at my book Otherworlders.
I thought that I was amazing because I churned out 65,000 words on my first draft in about a month. My second draft upped that number to 97,000 and only took around 6 weeks to do. I was high-fiving myself and thought I was ready to seek an agent. Naive. I actually got some ok feedback from agents. They say if you get anything besides a form letter, then you’re doing something right. But after I let my book simmer for a bit, I came back to it, and was horrified. It seems every writer feels this way about their own work, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Revisions are a special kind of torture that make hate everything you’ve ever done and question your very existence. Instead of pulling my hair out and crying in a corner, although I may have done a little of that, I decided to dedicate myself to getting better at my craft.
I started reading a lot. Books on how to write, how to be a break-out writer, how to catch peoples attention in the first five pages, what agents look for, blogs, articles, even suggestions on how to write a sentence… anything I could find. I’ve seen a lot of advice for writers, and they all seem to be in agreement that the best thing to do when starting a project is get it written. Because no matter what, you’ll likely hate it. That the real art is in the Editing.
How true that is. I thought my story was set in stone. Now, I’ve chopped it up and am putting the puzzle pieces back together. This scene should come earlier, that one should be part of this other, that other things shouldn’t even be in here… I’ve also decided to add almost a quarter to the beginning of my book. I think, with revisions, it won’t end up making my book all that much longer, with edits and things.
I’ve been going through my book with my boyfriend. He is also a writer and could probably sleep talk more about how to write well then I could learn. With his support, which felt like someone beating my metaphorical children, I think I’m on the verge of making something really great. Everything is tighter, the story flows better, and it’s a lot more focused.
All of this studying of editing and structure has changed the way I view things. I normally absorb my fiction through the use of Audible. I drive a lot, or take the bus, and I like listening to books on tape. I’m currently in the third book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series. In an effort to understand deeper, I picked up a real, physical book like we used to have in the olden days of the nineties.
I started reading American Gods. It’s highly praised, and came recommended to me by several real people, as well as top things ever written lists. I’m only about a chapter into so far. Good book. I’m enjoying it. Yet, a lot of how it’s composed are things that I’ve read not to do. I can excuse that. After all, they say you can break any rule if you break it like a boss.
The problem that I’ve come across in it, however, are simple editing issues. Inconsistencies. Things like something being a nickle at one moment, then a washer the next. Him being in jail for a robbery, then suddenly it’s assault? There are a couple things said in the opening paragraph that are repeated, nearly identically, half a page later. I don’t think that any of this is on purpose.
So, now I read with a critical eye. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever read without really seeing again. It does give me hope, though. If this book that gets such acclaim can make it, maybe mine isn’t so bad?