fleeble fleeble

Yesterday asked me about the bit where I said, “I can write two books at a time. I can’t revise one and write another at the same time.”

The reason I can do one and not the other is because writing two books at once requires only two tracks in my brain. I can separate them out with relative ease, and since none of my books have voices like each other (except within a series) it’s not that hard to skim over the last chapter or so, kind of go, “Ah, yes, this book sounds like that,” and go with it. The characters are all sufficiently different as to not blur into one another, so generally there’s no problem in finding one of them sounding like another (though sometimes I have to back up in the Negotiator books and go, “No, Margrit wouldn’t say that, *Jo* would say that,” and rewrite, because Jo’s very very easy to write, and she’s funny, and Margrit isn’t as funny, so I have to be careful there because I tend to want to inject humor if I can), so yeah. Two tracks. Not too hard.

Revising a book takes three tracks all by itself. I’m keeping three books in my head when I revise: the book as it was, the book as it is while I’m working on it, and the book as it will be when I’m done. Three books is a lot to keep in my head at once. I simply do not seem to be able to make that last step and hold a fourth book in there, so I tend to grind to a halt on whatever daily wordcount project I’m working on when revisions come along. I really, really wish I could keep the forward motion, but it just seems completely overwhelming.

All of this information is brought to you because I’m contemplating–or rather, facing–the prospect of doing revisions on HOUSE OF CARDS by Friday. I need to do them, as my editor’s taking the book home over the (long?) weekend to do copy edits and the like, and it will be much, much, *much* easier on everyone if I’ve revised the bits that need some work before she does that, rather than us trying to insert them after the fleebing CEs are done. They’re minor (thank God, after rewriting the whole frelling book), so the Friday deadline’s not a problem, and honestly, I really want them *done*, because I know I’ll be much happier with the book when they are. I’m not unhappy with it now, but I Know it needs work, and that Knowledge is bugging me, so yeah. Want that done.

The only down side is that it means I probably won’t get much of anything done on HANDS OF FLAME over the next few days, and argh. Really want to hit 50K. Or better yet, say, 80K. (I got up to about 44K last night, so I’m getting there, but there’s a long haul ahead of me yet.) With somewhere between 2 and 4 days out this week for HoC revisions, well, that’s not gonna happen.

I swear to *God* that after I’m done with this trilogy I am never ever again doing a 3 books in 18 months contract or going under contract for more than 2 books a year*. I keep telling my agent, my husband, and my parents this, in hopes that they will remind me of it next time I go, “…I could do that,” and now I’m telling all of you. Because agh, my brain! :)

Arright, I have to go make bread and maybe do some laundry and work on HoF and this afternoon either print HoC out here at home or go somewhere to have it printed so I can bring it home and work on it tonight and, you know, until noon EST Friday or I’m done, whichever comes first.

*Unless I should sell RIGHT ANGLES TO FAERYLAND as the full Broken Faery trilogy I would like it to be, in which case I will make one final exception and go under contract for 3 books a year for that time period. However, since ANGLES *still* needs to be revised, and at this rate, to my deep chagrin, I seriously doubt that’s going to happen before this time next year, that’s a what-if lying far enough out there that I’m not going to worry about it right now. I’m just adding in this little caveat now so if that should happen you all can’t say, “But what about…?” :)

8 thoughts on “fleeble fleeble

  1. oh – and when I got home my glasses case wasn’t on the floor where I’d dumped everything else so I went back and searched the car – twice. It was in the door of the car!
    **sheepish look**

  2. *LAUGH* Oops! *laughs*! *hugs* Oh well. *laughs* :)

    Well, you were very rock star with your dark shades all afternoon. :)

  3. fwiw, it’s not surprising that you can’t write and edit at the same time – all the writing (technical writing, but still, writing) classes I took said that over and over again. It uses two very different parts of your brain, and they don’t like to work together:) Creating is a really different process from editing. All my instructors said ‘do one, or do the other. Don’t try to do both’ =)

  4. Thinking about the 3 books thing. At first I thought that you had to keep the series books in mind, what happened earlier in the series and what happened later…

    But it’s always fascinating to see how another writer works. When I do massive editing, what I have are the pages in front of me (’cause I usually print it out), and my notes as to what I want it to become. The past is the past, it’s gone. Whatever THAT OLD OTHER was does not apply. All I have is before me.

    So, I usually work, in your terms, with probably 1 1/2 books. The book I have in front of me, and the notes that will make it into a better book.

    OTOH, when writing a series, there might also be “how can I twist what I had in the previous book to look new or show differently in this one?” “What set up for this book did I have for this one?” That can get crazy for me, especially timelines. For some reason, I have to have my timelines clear. When did this happen, and how much later did this happen?

    smooches robin

  5. I was digging through boxes last night, cleaning and purging and chucking things before we pack it all up again to move to San Francisco, and I came across a picture you’d sent me what feels like about a hundred years ago. It was you, grinning adorably against a tree in your blue Fairbanks sweatshirt and your wolf necklace. The note on the back made me smile all over again. And then I see Anna talking about you on her LJ today, and I’m all awww. Totally friending you because you’re made of awesome and I miss your snarky, wordily-gifted self. So so so glad you’re doing well at what you love. I always have a tiny moment of *hee* on your behalf whenever I see one of your books on a store shelf. :D

    Take care,
    Ciaran, er, Rainfire, er… nevermind. Just An these days. :)

  6. -laughs- That was about a hundred years ago, yeah. :) Hi! Gosh, every once in a while I’ve wondered where you got yourself to! Now I know! :)

  7. I haven’t actually been all that far off, just face down in a big pool of real life butterfly stroking away. :)

    I’m one term away from finishing a degree at University of Oregon and then I’m off to San Fran to take advantage of the more-work-than-one-can-shake-a-stick-at entertainment community there. There’s not enough work for me to get enough hours in Eugene to get into the stagehands’ union (IATSE) but there is in SF! :D

    So you’ve gone and moved to Ireland? Well, I can’t blame you one bit for the impulse to GTFO of the US. If we visit the UK sometime in the near future (likely *after* moving insanity has settled down), I’ll definitely come say hi while we’re there.

    Yep, now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (Augh. Damn GI Joe anyway.)

Comments are closed.