Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Revised Standard Edition

g'day gentle readers 

On the day of my last post I reached the first of the two milestone (perhaps millstones) highlighted below .

If only I understood 
what it all meant. 
The red bits not highlighted are my attempts to clarify what I think I meant. 

To understand how this happened I must plunge into history for a salutary lesson in how not to write a novel - not slow.

Book 2: FACE  (The Face of the Goddess) started well, with the exhilaration of finishing Book 1: BREAK, which took only a year to write, still fresh in my mind. I had six chapters approx 30K words done when we decided to move back from to Adelaide from Sydney.

We started a 7-day business and the writing slowed to a dribble. At the same time a health issue I'd had since age 10 reared up so I had an operation, we closed the business and my condition steadily worsened but That's Life (my other blog). What I did not understand at the time however was the illness was slowing my mind, not just my body. 

A bookshop on weekends and
a postal agency Monday-Friday
a writer's studio not ever 
The shop had made the writing stop-start but by the time I was free of that my mind was on the blink and the story boldly went where no story should go. I didn't like it,  I chopped and changed, inserted 50K words before the original 6 chapters. 
Several times I stopped altogether to edit and submit BREAK or edit parts of FACE, drew up timelines, character sheets, glossaries, outlines and even managed a few very short stories (published by AntipodeanSF

Then I made one of those pebble-in-the-pond authorial decisions, which ripple throughout a manuscript - I changed the nature and direction of several POV character such that the entirety of the finale, Book 3: ARCH shifts a generation.(my original plan)

I restarted the edit with that in mind, changing as required. Problem was that half the time (due to the earlier edits) I didn't have a clue if a change was required. Try reading a novel at one sentence per fortnight and you'll get the idea. One tends to lose track of who's doing what with whom.

I was working at glacial speed. (pre globally-warmed glaciers of course)
Writing/Editing FACE stretched over a decade. 

Some individual scenes are good, an occasional chapter is not bad but the separate parts do fit together well and the edit of it got bogged trying to reconcile the mismatches. 

I gave up at FACE chapter 105 where it says Full edit to here 

I now ditched the arbitrary chapter divisions, called each POV change a scene, renumbered the lot and started editing from scratch - Book 1 Chapter 1 - tweaking events to produce the new story arc/thread I wanted through FACE and ARCH.  This time I got to scene 99 in FACE where it says Revised edit to here ... and life again got in the way. 

Forward to the Past: Post transplant and life back to normal. 
I wrote Book 3: ARCH in one year. The trilogy was done and now to edit. BREAK took a month. But FACE ah, there's the rub  

So back in the now after a long break and needing to come to grips with the sour tale FACE had become I resorted to a desperate measure * outlining * to integrate FACE into a revised standard edition.

As to said outlining, I'm at scene 23 of Book 3: ARCH past the trilogy's dread sagging middle called FACE. Only in outline mind, the edit is still to come.  I'll try to keep you posted.  

ooroo until next time 

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