Saturday, October 23, 2010

Don't Skimp the Revisions

Maybe eventually I'll have an idea for a blog post that doesn't deal with revising, but that's where I'm at. Still. Been there for a long time. It's the trick of making that first book really stand out, really shine. It's taken three versions to get there, but I'm nearly done.

That's not what I wanted to talk about though. I mean, it is. Sort of.

I remember very clearly the first time I finished writing a novel. I only vaguely remember the first time I tried to revise a novel. I don't think I got very far into the process before I tossed it to the side in lieu of a new, more interesting project. That's not to say I've never finished revising a book before. I have. Several times, actually.

I've learned a lot from all the revising I've done. Especially in this last year. I've seen some things recently that have made me appreciate all the work I've done.

Mostly, it's that revising isn't easy, and there are no short cuts. Not if you want your book to be the best it can. Between draft one and draft two, I cut 47,000 words. That's not including the 20k something I cut when I first started the first draft, and it doesn't include the 23k cut from the third draft, which I'm barely passed the half-way mark on working on.

I'm not saying you have to cut an entire novel's length of work out to make your book good. I have, because despite the massive amounts of writing I've done in the last four years, there's still a lot I have to learn about writing a good novel.

What I'm trying to prove is that I haven't taken any short cuts. I haven't said "Oh, well, this is good enough, I'll just leave it in." Nope. If it doesn't work pretty damn close to perfectly, out it goes. Of course, a little change made in the beginning can effect huge changes later in the manuscript.

So far, it's been my experience that there are not "little changes." They might start out as little, but revising has this domino effect. One change starts off a whole chain of other changes to be made, which can branch off into other changes. Part of the key to successful revising is reigning in that domino effect and working the changes without disrupting the whole damn story.

Which I've had a hard time learning, but I'm getting there.

Revising can be daunting (heaven knows how long I've put off working on this chapter because of the changes I have to make, and the changes the changes will make, and remember the dominos!), but it's worth it to take your time. Your book will be better for it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

To-Read List 2010 October Update

Been awhile since my last blog post. School is an evil brain draining, time consuming monster of absolute evil.

Surprisingly, I have found time to read.

The List (in no particular order)
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson
Hero of the Ages - Brandon Sanderson
Well of Eternity - Richard A. Knaak
Shakespeare's Landlord - Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare's Trollop - Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
Voyager - Diana Gabaldon
Magic in the Blood - Devon Monk
Magic in the Shadows - Devon Monk
Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs
Dragon Blood - Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
Small Gods - Terry Pratchett
Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett
Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
Frostebite - Richelle Mead
Blood Promise - Richelle Mead
Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
City of Ashses - Cassandra Clare
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
Enders Game - Orson Scott Card (borrowed from brother, don't actually own)
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Kushiel's Scion - Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey (Don't actually own this one. Don't know how that happened.)
Banewrecker - Jacqueline Carey
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Glass Houses - Rachel Caine
The Dead Girls' Dance - Rachel Caine
Midnight Alley - Rachel Caine
Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine
Lord of Misrule - Rachel Caine
Carpe Corpus - Rachel Caine
Firestorm - Rachel Caine
Thin Air - Rachel Caine
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
The Gunslinger - Stephen King
Prince of Dogs - Kate Elliott
The Burning Stone - Kate Elliott
The Last Wish - Andrzej Sapkowski
Genesis of Shannara - Terry Brooks
Children of Chaos - Dave Duncan
In the Realm of the Wolf - David Gemmell
Hero in the Shadows - David Gemmel
The Becoming - Jeanne C. Stein
The Scent of Shadows - Vicki Pettersson
Dragonfly - Frederic S. Durbin
Personal Demon - Kelley Armstrong
No Humans Involved - Kelley Armstrong
Broken - Kelley Armstrong
The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Thorne of Jade - Naomi Novik
Black Powder War - Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik
Night World Vol. 3 - L.J. Smith
The Secret Circle - L.J. Smith
The Night of the Solstice - L.J. Smith
Heart of Valor
The Hunter - L.J. Smith
The Chase - L.J. Smith
The Kill - L.J. Smith
Changes - Jim Butcher
Beauty - Robin McKinley
Spindle's End - Robin McKinley
Tithe - Holly Black
Valiant - Holly Black
Ironside - Holly Black
White Cat - Holly Black
Vamped - Lucienne Diver
Speak of the Devil - Jenna Black
The Dust of 100 Dogs - A.S. King
Bullet - Laurell K. Hamilton
Graceling - Kristin Cashore
Black Magic Sanction - Kim Harrison
Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green
A Devil in the Details - K.A. Stewart
Red Hot Fury - Kasey MacKenzie
The Switch - Lynsay Sands
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
Ballad - Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
Dark Angels - Karleen Koen
Leviathan - Scott Westerfield
Soulless - Gail Carriger
Changeless - Gail Carriger
Blameless - Gail Carriger
Personal Demons - Stacia Kane
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman
Midnight Daughter - Karen Chance
Mob Rules - Cameron Haley
Devil in a Red Kilt - Elizabeth Williams
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
Side Jobs - Jim Butcher
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
Masques - Patricia Briggs
Fade Out - Rachel Caine
Kiss of Death - Rachel Caine