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Progress report

rco-2
I love breaking new words most of the time. I love the sense of exploration and surprise. I dislike it when I have to fight the book for every single sentence, but that's part of writing novels. I also have the nagging sense that I'm not doing anything productive if I don't produce new words on something. This is, of course, entirely writer-neurotic.

What's harder with multiple projects on the go is that much of the 'writing' process doesn't involve new words -- it involves the necessary iterations that follow them.

Cast in Chaos was two weeks late. It was also way too long. Cutting is difficult because it requires me to evaluate the necessity of whole scenes objectively right after I've just finished writing them.

There are two types of 'necessary' in a Cast novel. The first, and most obvious, has to do with the individual book itself: Will the book make sense without this scene? The second, however, is less obvious. If the answer to the first question is yes, the second question to ask is: will it weaken the overall series if I cut this?

Part of the difficulty with a continuing series is that relationships form--and change--from book to book. If there's no change, or no reference to anything that might otherwise cause a large change, there's no sense of continuity and causality. But much of that sense of change and growth is secondary to the main plot-line of any particular book, and, well -- it takes up pages.

I did finish the cutting. I did send the book in. Sometime in the future, I will review line-edits and copy-edits on this book, and then Harlequin's version of page-proofs. Which are not, of course, new words.

Page proofs for City of Night then landed. Page proofs are the very last thing I have to do before I have a book in my hands. They're also, therefore, the last chance I have to fix anything I might have missed in any other of my numerous read-throughs. I always find things I missed, no matter how carefully I read the final revisions. This makes me feel moronic. (I swear someone went through the book an added bunches of extraneous commas.) Feeling like a moron for a full week is not a recommended mental health activity, btw. And, again, this adds no new words to works-in-progress.

One more revision is incoming, and I did a readthrough of every single word of House Name because at this point, I need it. This last part took five days, and involved me cursing and cutting and rearranging because I wasn't in reading mode -- I was in page-proof mode. This also adds no new words.

But today, for the first time in what feels like eons, I wrote new words (on House Name, in case anyone's keeping track). And I'm now writing more new words on an entirely different project, which at the moment is voluntary, and which I had to set aside entirely while I met various deadlines.

This, on the other hand requires me to reread everything & read the notes I've been jotting down about the project overall. So I'm going to go do that now.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
burger_eater
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
I always find things I missed, no matter how carefully I read the final revisions.

When I did my first page proofs, I said things like "Oh come on!" and "No way!" Then I'd go to my computer, open the file and check to see that the errors were mine.

And they always were.

Congrats on the new words, though.
domynoe
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
I'm not a published author yet, but I'm in the final stages of revisions before I send my first completed novel out to betas. Every now and then I feel the need to work on another project I have going that's in the early drafting stages, but when I try, the words don't come. On one hand, it bothers me; on the other, I know I need to focus on finally finishing the book I'm doing the read through on.

I honestly can't see how I would be able to do finishing stuff on three different books on or around the same time. Apparently I get to the last stages and my brain shuts out the possibility of anything else until the book is done. But right now, I can't see myself actually finishing a book or more every year either, and I understand (from other published authors) that you actually do get faster when you have books under contract and are writing not only more regularly but also to someone else's deadline. I'm really hoping that's what happens because I'm a REALLY slow writer right now. And seeing other writers finish a book or three a year creates a little envy in me. :P

Edited at 2009-11-13 01:27 am (UTC)
msagara
Nov. 13th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
I was a much slower writer when I had younger kids, fwiw. As the kids have gotten older, and as I'm not working full-time (which I was, while writing, before my oldest was born), I've found more brain-space with which to work.

When I'm writing first draft, and I reach the end of a particular project, it does eat my brain, and I generally blitz that, and leave everything else on hold until it's done. But some things -- like page proofs, for instance -- can't wait =/.

But absent the end of a book, I can break new words on two different projects as long as they're substantially different in tone. At least so far.
domynoe
Nov. 13th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
I don't feel so weird now! lol

My children are generally older, but my son is autistic and the girls still need a chauffeur, so scheduling does get in the way even though I'm not working full time. And I think I'm still doing A LOT of learning, and that slows me down. Hopefully I'll pick up the pace as I become more practiced.
karenmiller
Nov. 13th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
I absolutely identify with every thing you're saying. Thanks for saying them so articulately -- it's nice to know I'm not alone. Especially with the whole 'you're not really writing if you're not actually *writing* meme.'

Good luck with the workload.
msagara
Nov. 13th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Especially with the whole 'you're not really writing if you're not actually *writing* meme.'

I have no idea why I do this, either -- because it's not like page proofs aren't actually work; they, and all the rest of the other things have to be done. I tell myself this all the time, but it doesn't really change the sense of guilt at lack of new words *wry g*.
karenmiller
Nov. 13th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
It is utterly bizarre. Even the important thinky time stuff makes me feel guilty. Like it's not really writing even when I know it is.

Writers are very, very odd. *g*
beautiflntmr
Nov. 13th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
WOO! New words!
I'm so looking forward to House Name.
I think it's on my wishlist. I'm pretty sure it is.
That's the one coming out next year?
No that's City of Night.

Ignore my rambling.

But new words!
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 13th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
I kind of like page proofs. They remind me that I do finish things, that I do achieve. The new ground is usually the hardest for me.
_ocelott_
Nov. 13th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
It was me. I snuck in and added all those commas. Just wanted to be sure you were paying attention!
amber_fool
Nov. 14th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
My sister probably helped. She used to get me to edit her stuff for school, since I'm grammar-minded, and you could populate an entire second paper just with her commas.

I, of course, would never use too many commas...
ovirginsaint
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
Yay for new words!

On the Elantra Chronicles subject, I've lent the first book to a coworker, and she's inhaled it and begging for the second already. I'm looking forward to Cast in Chaos and City of Night(Borders.com has kindly let me pay for it already :o! ).
mmarques
Nov. 14th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
As a tech writer, I have to go back and write new versions of my manuals. Even when I've been able to work with an editor, I always find something.
rpointing
Jun. 15th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
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