My Writers Circle

Writing => The Writers Circle => Topic started by: Jo Bannister on September 17, 2017, 10:00:58 AM

Title: First edit
Post by: Jo Bannister on September 17, 2017, 10:00:58 AM
I did one of those "know yourself better and make lots of money" surveys the other day.  It was quite thorough, and quite random, and included things like Pick your favourite holiday, and What do you put in a cheese burger?  And at the end I hit "reveal" and it said, "You really don't like taking orders, do you?"

Which probably explains why I shy away from all these You must and Don't ever rules of writing.

All the same, I outdid myself this week when I refused to obey my own, experience-based rule of not editing anything until it's been in the (digital equivalent of the) back of a drawer for a month.  The reason was, the new book got written in a rather stop-start sort of way, and I wasn't at all confident of the quality.  When I was saying Edit, I was thinking Rewrite. 

So I punched it up again and started working through it.  And the good news is, I think it's fine.  There wasn't nearly as much work to do on it as I expected.  The time-line needed clarifying, and there were gaps in rationale that needed filling, but that's probably true of every novel ever written.  What I was pleased, and slightly surprised, to discover was that the bones of the book - the plot, characterisation, writing - were within spitting distance of my usual standard.

This isn't the end, of course.  I'd expect to do another couple of edits anyway - one for flow, one to try and see it with a reader's eyes - but I'm hopeful of the final result in a way that I wasn't a month ago.

Sometimes it doesn't piss on your parade!
Title: Re: First edit
Post by: heidi52 on September 17, 2017, 10:05:18 AM
Rules are good, but experience shows you where you can bend them.  :D
Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Lin on September 18, 2017, 06:41:29 AM
Sounds like you are on the same track as me, Jo.  It's a long and weary road, but once you get into making the changes, it can be most enlightening. It just the thought of doing it that's painful. I hope that my next book is coming out next year.  I've had to make a lot of changes, I just wasn't happy about it.  Now I'm back on track, this has to be the last one. 

Keep going,

Lin x

Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Gyppo on September 18, 2017, 07:06:54 AM
It's nice when a plan comes together isn't it, Jo?  Even more so when you find your subconscious, or perhaps 'tradecraft', has been keeping an eye on things for you.

Best wishes.

Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Simple Things on September 18, 2017, 08:49:58 AM
We probably don't notice; unless we look hard, at the improvements we installed in our ways of writing throughout time. Even those new to writing - if they look passed all the garble of trying to change this and that - would see that their 1st drafts are getting better.

The longer you are at it, the more the 1st draft ends up like a 4th or so. I find the 'final touches' take most of my time, when I dribble out changes that could or couldn't make a difference to the reader lol :)

Well done, Jo, you rule breaker :P
Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Jo Bannister on September 18, 2017, 09:35:21 AM
Thanks, guys.

Unlike Lyn, I rather enjoy this stage.  The work is usually better than I'm expecting, it's even better when I've edited it, and it's both quicker and easier to improve something than to create it in the first place.  Plus, the weaknesses and the solutions are both more obvious when I can concentrate on one aspect rather than trying to keep all those balls in the air at the same time.

Mind you, there's always the possibility that nobody else will like it...
Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Simple Things on September 18, 2017, 10:10:57 AM
I always enjoy the things I learnt along the way of writing any story/novel, worth the journey regardless of its acceptance. If it isn't widely liked, well it's not the story's fault, but how I failed to tell it for everyone to see that same image I do.

Sometimes I wanna beat them with a brick :P but most times they are right. ;)
Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Lin on November 26, 2017, 10:49:33 AM
My problem is that my editor wants more from me and I don't think I can deliver.  This is my book and my style of writing.  I can meet her half way, but will this be good enough.  I think you just have to do what you can and hope for the best. 

Title: Re: First edit
Post by: Jo Bannister on November 26, 2017, 02:42:53 PM
The real problem is that sometimes it isn't possible to reconcile competing demands on the same book.

When that point is reached - and only when that point is reached; when the writer has done everything she can to appreciate the shortcomings others see in her work and to find answers to them - finally the writer has a straight choice between pleasing herself and pleasing someone else.

If she's writing for a living, she may have no choice but to make whatever changes are required as the price of achieving publication.  In any event, it is entirely possibly that her publishers or agent are right, that the book is better for heading off in their direction rather than hers.

If she's a true amateur - writing for the love of it - the dilemma may be harder to face and more painful to resolve.  She can put her foot down and retain full artistic control of the work - but the consequence may be that no one else will ever read it.  Is that a price worth paying?  Only the writer can decide.

My own position is that I'm willing to consider anyone's professional advice, that I'm willing to accommodate it up to the point that it seems to me to be becoming detrimental to the work, but that in the final analysis this is my book, my name and my reputation - if I'm not going to be proud of the finished book, I'd just as soon it wasn't read by anyone else.

But these are judgements that can only be made by each individual writer; and possibly, in respect of each individual book.  I've said it before: If this was easy, anyone could do it.