An update

In case you wondered where I disappeared to here’s what I’ve been up to.

I made my blog private for a bit while I had a big rethink.

That led me to read through a book I e-published a few years back. I always felt I published that story too soon and – oh boy – was I right! Re-reading I could see that it was actually a first draft.

That led me to start a structural rewrite. At first I was full of confidence and thought I would be able to rush the thing out as part of NaNoWrite challenge. I did some of the prep exercises they offer and found them very useful.

Full of confidence I jumped into the rewrite only to find I hit the wall after a few days. Bye bye – NoNoWrite – hullo sheer hard work!

To make matters even more complicated I discovered the version of the original book I had saved to a USB stick and lovingly held on during several major computer crashes was actually a very early version of the book. There were whole chunks missing.

I am now finding I need to type out the story I published from a copy a friend downloaded to their Kindle – not an easy task! If you are wondering why I don’t figure out some way of getting the manuscript off the Kindle site I deleted the book from there a couple of years ago when I realised I’d published too soon.

I am at the stage now where I’m wondering if

a) I have gone insane

b) if the book is even worth resurrecting

c) exactly how do you do a structural rewrite. There’s loads about writing first drafts online but very little about structural rewrites. I have decided I need to make my main character 25 not 15 for a start and that I need to include more chapters from the pov of other characters.

Beyond that the original story was inconclusive so there are a bunch of new chapters to write too – if I ever get that far.

So there you have it – on top of that there is a whole load of very strange stuff going in my family… but then that’s usually the case with my family… they are a strange bunch.

I miss blogging but am up to my eyeballs in other stuff at present. I might get back to blogging here at some stage but I’m not sure.

30 thoughts on “An update

  1. I think there’s no rule about how you do it, other than that you do it the way that feels right to you. … Seriously. It is your story to re-write and re-structure and re-publish and re-type and re-copy and re-visit and revise in any way that feels best to you. Stories, just like the rest of us, grow and change and evolve and mature and fill out (well, metaphorically at least) with time. Take the time to be in the process with it – no judgment, no manual other than what feels YOUR process at this time.
    I’m cheering you on!
    Na’ama

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    1. Yes time is important. The story is about possible consequences of climate change. Some of the info just wasn’t available when I wrote the first story. I’m not sure if I’ll publish myself again or if I’ll chase the magic prize of mainstream hard copy publishing. I found advertising and trying maintain the sales momentum for e- books very hard. How have you found it?

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      1. I’m all for re-writes if you feel the time is right for them! The advertising thing isn’t my strength (and/or to be fair, my interest …) – I haven’t done much. It can be hard to keep momentum – I know some people who hire people to do that for them (again, not where my energy is right now so … I’m not the best person to ask about it). Publishing through a publisher (which I’d done, too, for my professional non-fiction book) is a little easier as far as advertising but I can’t say they do a whole lot. A friend of mine who published novels through a traditional publisher found that there wasn’t a lot of that done unless she was quite active and proactive about it. So I think part of the process is to ask about it ahead of time and factor it in (i.e. hiring someone to do marketing may cost money but publishing houses only pay a small percentage of earnings so in effect you’re paying them for it out of what would otherwise be your share anyway …) – so it comes down to what feels right.

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      2. It sent off researching what genre my story is and what genres do well as ebooks. Also led me into some interesting reading about speculative fiction . Sometimes that kind of reading helps me when I’m feeling creative doubt. It can inspire me and help me get back on track. 😊

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  2. You’ll probably find that as you do the ‘data entry’ of the kindle version on to your own document you’ll be either ‘restructuring’ it as you go or making copious quantities of notes as you go. 🙂

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  3. All writers, or most…are masochists! No wonder non-writers sometimes go quiet in the company of a writer… And forget being in the company of two!! I saw a white-coated man open my gate the other day and nearly panicked (wrong gate. He was a delivery man…) Seriously, writers are all, now and then, plagued by doubt and seemingly insurmountable problems. I’m quite sure you’ll rise above it all. Barrels of good luck. x

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    1. I love your sense of humour. Yes the doubts are rife at the moment. Wouldn’t it be good if we had an online forum where we could talk about the techniques of writing and the doubts that beset us.

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  4. I do so sympathise with this very big dilemma, Suzanne. I have several such projects, and insanity frequently seems likely. Establishing the story shape/ arc as suggested by cagedunn is definitely a good approach. I also read about a writer who sits down and writes an extended essay ABOUT the story – lays it all out that way. As you are also a very visual person I’m wondering if storyboarding might work too. It might sound quite mechanistic, but sometimes that can be a trigger too. Say, divide the work roughly into 20 – 30 scenes. Another mechanistic approach that can also yield some momentum is to put the protagonist in a perilous situation, and then see how very much worse you can make things for them. Bon voyage!

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    1. They are all great suggestions Tish. I do similar things. I have a big file of research ( the story is about climate change), character notes and extended jottings about what I want to cover in the story – the big underlying theme Cage talked about. I cut photos out of magazines that resemble landscapes I want to describe. Yes, I think I am a little nuts already! 😁
      I admire you tackling several writing projects at once. That must be difficult. I am hoping to get really disciplined by the new year and unwind from writing by working on a long term art project but that’s just a dream at present. Meanwhile life goes on – today I have to paint the bathroom ceiling because I have a rental inspection this week and can’t clean the mould stains off! Hmmm – better get offline and start working…

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  5. It’s all keeping your mind engaged, and you must think it’s a powerful enough story to merit the effort or you wouldn’t have got this far. We do what we do, and there are only so many hours in the day. Stay well is the main thing 🙂 🙂

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  6. Every second draft for me is a full rewrite – after I do a review to find out what things are repeated, what might be missing, what would make it stronger, and to determine if there is a theme. Then I do a revise based on the shape of the thing – is there enough of an emotional investment at the right places (25, 50, 75% respectively), and the big climax – is it a good build to it, does it last long enough, does it answer all the story questions? All these are notes as I read, rather than trying to fix as I read. then I rewrite it and keep an eye on those notes. When the rewrite is finished, I do that again (and again, until I’m satisfied with the story elements) and then I do the spelling and grammar proof-read. After that, we have to let them go out into the world on their lonesome …

    Good luck. It’s a brave soul who chooses to be a storyteller

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much for that explanation of how to go about it. It really helps me. I was trying to write the new bits into the old text. I can see your method would work much better. I’ll use a similar method. Thanks again. 🙂
      Finding the underlying theme of the story and then working out how to build it to an climax that answers the questions in the story is something I’ve been thinking about too.
      You’re right – being a storyteller is difficult!

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