Monday, August 17, 2015

Feet to the Fire.

Bren has returned her critique of Blood of the Succubus (The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders).

As usual, she doesn't hold back. She holds my feet to the fire.

Many of her word changes make me go, "Hmmmmm."  They are generally more active than mine, and that is usually a good thing. When she edited the first chapter of Led to the Slaughter, I thought she went too active, but when I showed it to about 10 people, every one of them picked her version.  So by accepting most if not all her changes, the book was improved.

It sometimes takes an outside person to see things clearly.

Some of her changes would require the entire rewriting of the book. 

I won't be doing this.

It's not that I'm afraid of the work.  It's that I'm worried about ruining the book.  When I've tried to do the kind of big changes she's recommending, I've most often ruined the book, not improved it.

In other words, there are changes I can do and changes I can't do without risking the whole enterprise.

I push that boundary as far as I can.  More or less, I'll change anything that requires adding or subtracting, or small movement.  But no huge movements of material, that's where I go wrong. No complete changing of approach.  It always becomes a quagmire for me.  I'm better off abandoning the book and writing a new one, frankly.

One consistent criticism of hers is that I give away too much too fast.  That I should hint more at things.  I've tried doing this, and botched it more than once.  In fact, Faerylander has never quite recovered from my original approach.  It may be that it requires more skill than I currently possess.  What seems certain to me is that if I am to do that, it has to be baked into the pie from the beginning and not added later. (Faerylander is the quintessential quagmire...)

I'm still on the rewrite of Tuskers III, but should be done by the end of the week.  Then I'm going to turn to Bren's version of Blood of the Succubus  and try to address as many of her concerns as I can.

This is an extra step for me. I did it for Led to the Slaughter and The Dead Spend No Gold, which I thought benefited the books greatly.  I choose which books to give this kind of treatment.  Tuskers didn't really need it, I don't think. The Vampire Evolution books may or may not have needed it, but I couldn't afford it at the time, nor did I know Bren could do what Bren could do.

Lara of course does the same thing, and does a very good job.  Having two such good editors is a luxury that usually isn't available or affordable, but sometimes comes together.

It's all an investment on my part, an effort to become a better writer.  Everytime I have my feet held to the fire and have to think about what my editors are saying, it make me that much more aware the next time, and I do believe I am improving as I go along.

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