Monday, May 27, 2013

It's the process that makes a book good.

JOURNAL:  5/27/13.

I'm just not satisfied with the writing in Led to the Slaughter.  I'm pushing on at the 2000 words a day pace, but I'm just not feeling it.  The first chapter started with a bang -- but I've leveled off since then.

Then again, I don't feel the first chapter the same way I did at first.

I'm really going to need to make this better.  How?

Just grunt work, I think.

1.) Giving it time.  Gaining perspective.

2.) Working on the writing -- looking for better words.  Making it vivid -- like I attempted to do in the first chapter. 

3.) Working on the emotion, trying to find satisfying places.

4.) Doing research, adding details.

5.) Getting others to make critique and bouncing off that.

6.)  Going back again and again to the story to make it better.  There is no magic wand -- just work.
Basically I'm lazy and hate to bear down.  So if I only want to work half as hard, then I need to work twice as long.  I need to take each chapter individually and bear down at least once.

But I can't do this until I'm done with the first draft, though.  I need to do this in structured stages, based on what I know about my work habits.

Especially that last.  Thing is -- I've learned not to do that last bearing down until I've done the emotion part.  In other words, I need to go through and look for emotion and add emotion -- before I rework it so many times that I can no longer feel the emotion.

What I call the moment of writing singularity, where it has become almost completely intellectualized. 

I'm sort of putting down the basic plot right now -- the characters, the arc of the story, the scenes.  I'll have to go back later and attempt to put in depth. Depth comes from constantly rewriting.  For instance, Nearly Human is a much better book now, because layers got added through constant rewriting.

I went from macro- issues, like making the main character more sympathetic and trying to add tension, to micro-issues such as the actual word choice.

Still, I think I need to think about this book from the emotional standpoint from here on -- what emotion am I trying to evoke?  How do I get that emotion across?  Not being melodramatic, but making the scenario itself create the emotion.

It doesn't take Linda much to cry, and when I killed Bayliss I knew I failed because she didn't cry.  I obviously didn't do it right.

So it goes for much of the rest of the book.  The story has great potential, but it has to be fleshed out and deepened that that will require lots of thought and work.  I'm not going to the "I hate rewriting" refrain this time because I understand that rewriting will be the thing that makes this book good.

So not only is it going to take a couple of months to write this first draft -- versus the 20 or 30 days I've been doing lately, but I want to rewrite this book all the way through at least once before I let Lara see it.

So that will probably be another month or two.  Then the one or two months Lara will have it, then another month or two of rewriting, then a month or two of Lara having it, and then a month for the final rewrite.

On that scenario, it will take:  Between 8 and 12 months to get a finished copy.

I'll work on other things in-between.  I will rewrite Sometimes a Dragon when Lara gets it back to me.  I'll do another draft of Wolflander.   I might even give Nearly Human another run through.

I'm also thinking about 2 to 3 months before I'm completely finished, I might try sending the first three chapters to agents and see if I get any nibbles.

Or not.  That's in the future.  I'll know whether the book is getting done right.  Patience is realizing that the book isn't good until its finished, but not being good currently doesn't mean it won't be good when it's done.

 In fact, it's the process that will make it good.

Linda says:  No, no.  It's good.  Keep going....

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