Mundane Tales from the Edit Cave

It’s not really a cave. It’s my bedroom, but it has a desk in it now. If I leave the lights off and the window open, it’s dark and cool, which pretty much makes it a cave as far as I’m concerned. A few bats might make for a more authentic vibe, but I had enough of indoor bats while visiting my family this summer.

I’m still editing my WIP fantasy novel, which I discussed in a previous post. To be clear, I’m editing again. I’ve finished the revisions which my alpha reader prompted, and I’m going back through and doing something more like a run of actual line edits. I’m rearranging phrases, replacing complex words with simpler ones, and shortening sentences where appropriate. I tend to write in a fairly formal manner, so this is an important step for me. What’s more, even after an edit or two, I still catch the occasional typo or missing word. Each time, I fix it and move on, swallowing my embarrassment and reminding myself that only my alpha-reader is witness to that particular shame.

Predictably, I’m at a point where I’m ambivalent about the project itself. As fantasy novels go, it may still be a bit short at approximately 89,000 words, but I’m not sure if that’s a problem. I don’t think it’s particularly “epic” fantasy, so the relative brevity may be appropriate. I don’t know how to feel about the writing quality or plotting, but I wrote enough papers in college to know that that kind of thing happens during editing. I’m keeping my proverbial, cliched nose to the grindstone and doing my best to ignore the urge to quit. Once I finish this draft, my alpha reader will take another pass at it. Hopefully, the updated text will be enough of a change that he won’t be too bored re-reading it.

The next step will depend on his feedback. At some point, I’ll need beta readers, which may mean I have to put shoes on, go outside, and make some friends. I’ve told myself I can’t stoop to Googling phrases like “Google, will you read my novel?” Not again, anyway.

I’d like to do more writing, but editing is a time-consuming process, and I have other constraints on my time. Once this draft is finished, I’ll be working on other things, which will probably include more of Chuck Wendig’s prompts and outlining for another project.

Well, that’s my status update, and I’m sure it makes a fascinating read. Here are some things I’ve been reading lately, which are guaranteed to be more interesting than this post.

Recently Finished Reading:
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Don’t Look Now by Michelle Gagnon

Currently Reading:
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Ongoing Radio Silence

It’s been over two weeks since I posted, so I wanted to add a quick note of explanation. Of course, it’s hardly as if I have a horde of readers waiting with bated breath for my next post. On the other hand, I’ve created multiple blogs in the past, all of which have faded out before I’d completed five posts. This has largely been due to lack of content, and I wanted to make sure that this blog didn’t suffer a similar fate.

Having said that, I admit that a lack of content is precisely what has prevented me from posting recently. I began this blog with some flash fiction pieces based on writing prompts, and I intend to continue posting these in the future. I’ve had a busy month, and haven’t really devoted much time to short fiction since the 6th.

That is not to say, however, that I haven’t been writing. I’ve received feedback from my first beta reader on my WIP novel, although it may be more accurate to describe him as an alpha reader. He’s helped me identify some parts of the narrative that need to be strengthened and/or drawn out, and I’ve been working on these changes for the past week. I’m actually introducing a completely new plot line, which should help to draw together other elements of the story and provide a better backbone for the work as a whole. On several of the days when I’ve been able to write, I’ve had word counts of over 1,000. Word counts are subjective, of course, and they don’t come with any guarantee of quality, but these counts are pretty substantial as far as my track record is concerned. As of last night, the WIP is pushing 83,000 words, and I expect to add a few thousand more before this draft is complete.

After that, I’ll have to do some smaller, more generalized edits. Then, I’ll proof it at least once more before sending it back for another run with my beta reader. Beyond that, the path is too foggy and distant to be clearly discerned, but I expect several more edits and proofs, at which point I’ll try to determine whether or not the “finished” product is something deserving of an agent. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve invested enough time in this work that I don’t think I could bear to quit writing entirely, but I know that few first novels are ever published. All I can do for now is keep my eyes to the front, write, edit, write some more, and see what happens. Once I’m in between phases on this project, however, I should be more actively involved with writing prompts and flash fiction.