revised revisions

Long-suffering , who has been reading along with HOUSE OF CARDS as I’ve been working on it in all of its various wretchedly mucked-up revision stages, said yesterday that he was torn between whether he liked the original version better or the current one. The *story*, he said, is clearly much better now; it’s more complex and … other stuff, he said, too, I forget what, but the *writing* isn’t as good.

Which is absolutely true, because the version he read before was a polished draft, and what he (and several other beta readers) have right now is for all intents and purposes a rough draft. (Trent knows that. He wasn’t objecting. He was just thinking about it all from a non-novelist’s POV, I think.) I’m painfully aware of repetitive sentences and over-used phrases (and pointed out one that I *wasn’t* aware of, although as soon as she said it I went oh god she’s right, which is why beta readers are good).

I know I’m missing scenes that need to be there, and man I have a hard time inserting scenes once the bulk of a book is done. I keep going, “But it doesn’t *fit*, this all *fits*, how can I stuff this *in*?” It does, of course, end up fitting, because hey, I’m the writer, and if I say it fits, generally, it does. The flip side, of course, is cutting scenes that should be cut, which there are also a few left to do (including one that I just went over again and left in place because it amuses me, but by the time I turn this in I expect it will be left on the cutting room floor, because if I don’t cut it now my editor’s likely to say, “This doesn’t really drive the story forward, does it?” and she will, of course, be right).

There are characters who are currently referred to as NOTE: MARGRIT’S DAD NEEDS A NAME, and NOTE: STILL NEEDS A NAME, as well as things like, “Where are you?” “We’re NOTE: WHEREVER IT IS THEY ARE.” (which Trent liked a lot *laugh*).

(Looking back over those paragraphs, it’s amazing I can write novels at all, given my o’erweening love of parenthetical statements.)

Anyway, so I’m doing edits now, or revising the revisions, or whatever you want to call it. Edits, really; revisions are larger than what I’m doing, although this does entail some fairly significant tinkering. The part that needs the most work–the end, the end, always the end–unfortunately comes at, you know, the end, where I’m already tired by the time I get to it. Right now I can’t start there and work back, because I’m still inserting enough structural stuff that it has to be done from the front forward, so I hope I’ve got enough brain left by the time I get to the end to do something decent with it. And if not, well, there’s still the copy edit stage, which will come after I’ve had a /break/ from the book, which helps.

It’s slow going. Not nearly as slow as rewriting the entire book, obviously, but still pretty slow. Besides the major cosmetic work, there’s a lot of sentence-level adjustments, cutting words or rearranging paragraphs. I’ve done about 150 pages since finishing the book on Tuesday, which is, of course, slower than I’d like to be going. (OTOH, I went to lunch with friends, shopped, got hairs cut, went to the movies, played CoH–you know, things that vaguely resemble having a life–during that time, too, which was probably better for the book than trying to get through a hundred pages a day after eight weeks of revision hell.) The good news is I think it’s starting to look prettier. Less rough, more polished. I know–I *know*–that it will need one more pass when I’m done with this one, and I *know* what needs to be added in that pass…but I may just flat-out save it for the copy edit stage, in part because I’ll then be working with editor feedback again, in part because I’ll have had a break from the book by then, and in part because I’ve got revisions on another book due at the end of the month. My brain is just about chewed up and spit out right now, and working on *anything* else would be good for it.

And on a completely different note, the new Bon Jovi CD is not what I expected. It’s good, but it’s more like “This Left Feels Right” (except it’s not acoustic) than like a stadium album. After about the fourth listen I finally realized it reminded me more strongly of Jon Bon Jovi’s “Destination Anywhere” album than any of the Bon Jovi band albums.

Arright. Dinner, and then maybe more work. Or maybe some reading, just because that’d be *nice*.

miles to Minas Tirith: 181


  1. agrimony

    I’ve been making liberal use of green hilites. Why green? Because it pleases me to do so. I’ve also been tossing in a note or two here or there as I read! I feel all arrogant and stuff. It’s fun. :)

  2. sionainn

    I awoke to nature’s call this morning and stumbled over to my computer to read LJ.

    Read through your entry to the part about Bon Jovi. My brain went, “Wuuuugh… !”

    I *dreamt* about Bon Jovi last night! I dreamt that they were in my dressing room and performing on the same stage as my group. Jon Bon Jovi wrote me a personal thank you note and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

    Strange how I didn’t remember any of that until you mentioned him!

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