Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reread, rewrite, redo, undo (again)

Kett's book again.

You ever start a book you wish you'd left alone? This one's driving me mad. Perhaps it's because I kept breaking off work on it to write something else that, you know, was actually contracted and might actually make some money, so the book's rather disjointed and I spent a lot of time simply re-reading and trying to remember where I wanted the plot to go. This is, of course, one major disadvantage of being a pantser.

But even when I'd finally got the first draft done, I had a load of work to do. Firstly, it was horribly long (just over 100k, and I already cut some). The plot was a mess. There were scenes full of nothing. So, I beat it onto shape, or into better shape at least, and sent it to my editor who, bless her, has only edited one book of mine, which another editor actually bought. She finally emailed me back today with an "I love it, but," revision request. It's funny, because I met some RNAers for lunch today, and we were talking about revisions and edits; plus I've just been reading Julie Cohen's blog about her revision process.

I need to clean up the plot, because there's too much and none of it makes sense. I also need to make Kett more likeable, because I intended her to be abrasive but apparently she's just a little too unsympathetic. Also, there are several questions my editor asked--such as, why is the hero keeping such a big secret? Would anyone care if he told everyone?--that I'm sure I knew the answers to when I wrote it. I'm going to have to re-read it all now to see if I can figure out what I meant.

I've had a break of several months from this story, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I've got some distance from it, which I find usually makes it easier to fix problems (and I can totally see what she means; I'm not arguing that they are problems). On the other, I can't find any of my damn notes on it from the first time around.

Funny: I've always labelled this 'Kett's book' because I couldn't find a title I liked for it. But the thing is, Kett first apepared in my head as a problem child, a stroppy teenager who could change her shape. She was horribly annoying, but people generally ended up liking her.

Looks like her book's going the same way!


  1. You'll do it. I have complete faith in you! How about "The Book of Kett" for a title. (Though i think something similar might just have been done before)

  2. I had the opposite problem with my last project. According to my agent there wasn't enough plot. Care to share your secret for overplotting with me?

  3. Angie the Hippo11:57 am

    Overplotting is a problem???

    My very helpful tip is follow the plot, turn left where it becomes blue and then continue on straight until the green part, where you turn left, and that should bring you to your very perfect purple ending.
    Well, that's the best I can do after banging my head against my keyboard trying to solve similar problems as in "where in the world was I going with this anyway???"

  4. Ah, see, I turned right at the blue part. Silly me.

    I always try to stuff too much plot into books. I had masses of backstory for the last one I wrote...a 20k novella. I'd love to streamline, be a more minimalist writer, but I figure that'll happen about the same time I have a minimalist home: ie never.