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'Books are not written, they are rewritten' - the 2013 revising and editing thread

(381 Posts)
TunipTheVegedude Thu 10-Jan-13 09:17:45

Anyone who already has a draft (NaNo veterans and others?) want to join me for a rewriting thread?

I am working on my draft from NaNoWriMo 2012.

I've never successfully edited a novel before - I've written first drafts and attempted to edit them but never managed to either be ruthless enough, or to really understand what I had to do. This time is different because it's clear that it needs very major work at all levels; the NaNo draft feels like a zero draft rather than a first draft. I've been reading 'how to write' stuff manically over the last month (something I've never really done before) and have a lot to go on. Starting by plotting it again from the ground up, then will work through scene by scene using relevant bits from my first draft but basically starting with a blank page, which I hope means I will not be too attached to any of my previous words. My target for Easter is to get it to a stage where other people can read it and tell me how to change it so I can write it all over again smile

TunipTheVegedude Sat 22-Jun-13 10:45:57

Have you signed up to and posted an extract in the 'Share your work' section for critiquing? (I'm on there but I haven't yet because I still have stuff I can see to improve.) You have to have made 50 posts and preferably critiqued other people's work first, but you can get some really good, detailed critiques of short passages. For the book as a whole, a lot of people find beta partners there.

You get a lot faster at de-passive-ifying. The first scene I did it to took me a whole day for 1000 words but by the end I was doing 9 scenes in a day. You learn to home straight in on the ones that need changing and quickly work out the best way to fix them.
Hopefully next time I'll manage to write a draft without so many damn passives in there in the first place!

I've finished my passives now, thank goodness, and am going back to my list of overused words. It is a constantly-growing list because I keep noticing more.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 28-Jun-13 16:50:03

Getting scarily close to second round beta reading stage. Yikes.

How is everyone else getting on?

InMySpareTime Fri 28-Jun-13 18:00:01

Mine is so close I can almost upload itgrin. Passives all activated, "and" level massively reduced. Beta readers' notes acted on (beta readers thanked).
This weekend I'm going to read the book just to enjoy the story again, as all the editing has sucked the joy from it, and I want to regain the excitement.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 28-Jun-13 18:07:31

What are you going to do with it? Are you self-pubbing?

InMySpareTime Fri 28-Jun-13 18:35:35

Self publishing with Smashwords and KDP, also sending off to a couple of publishers who deal with YA fantasy for print version.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 28-Jun-13 18:37:11

Did you decide it was YA rather than middle grade?

InMySpareTime Fri 28-Jun-13 19:04:21

It's consistently coming through the YA fiction analyser as "15-17 year olds", although 9yo DD has no trouble reading it (though she does have me for a mother so reads a lot). I'll see what the publishers say.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 28-Jun-13 19:46:54

Yeah, it's more important to fit the subject matter to the readership, I think, and then the language can be tweaked accordingly.
Mine comes out at 13-15 in its current state. I don't know how reading ages relate to what actual teens read though. They're a blunt instrument.

InMySpareTime Mon 01-Jul-13 16:37:54

I published the book today The Strangeling's Tale <completely outs self but doesn't care>
I am so excited! I have a real book out there in the worldgrin. It got through their checker first time with absolutely no formatting errors too.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 01-Jul-13 16:56:21


I love your title, and your cover art. I hope you sell masses!

I looked at the sample and I do love your writing style - really elegant.

InMySpareTime Mon 01-Jul-13 17:28:47

Thank yousmile, I'm planning an entire week of no writing before starting the next book.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 01-Jul-13 21:46:36

Mine is going off to second round beta readers tomorrow.
I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. Maybe even read some of the book I've got stacked up for the next one shock

TunipTheVegedude Mon 01-Jul-13 21:48:46

'bookS I've got stacked up for the next one', that should be.

InMySpareTime Tue 02-Jul-13 06:45:48

That seems to be the thing with books, The End is never the actual end, there are always more books to read or to write.
Lesson I've learned about Beta Readers: they give useful feedback, but only when given a defined "bit" to read and a deadline.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 02-Jul-13 11:21:29

It's just as well though. I'm sure the only way to stay sane when you start submitting is to be absorbed in the next project.

I've just been emailing my 3rd draft out to second round beta readers, which is not half as scary as it was the first time.

BsshBossh Sun 07-Jul-13 20:15:36

Hello, popping back in. Have finished another draft (lost track now, 5th, 6th?) but inspired by your postings upthread I am now going to scrutinise the entire document for passive voice! Will also now start thinking about drafting the synopsis.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 08-Jul-13 12:54:07

Hey, Bssh.
Glad you're still at it.
Mine is with second round beta readers so I'm having a break and actually reading which makes a change.
It's interesting looking at the way things are written in the light of all the work I've done on my writing style.
I've concluded I was right to fight the passives but I've been over-neurotic about adverbs.

InMySpareTime Mon 15-Jul-13 18:41:29

I've got the book published with Smashwords and KDP, in the process of publishing with Google Books, and getting an author page with Goodreads.
I have sent the book to 3 publishers, not heard back yet.
I've sold 11 books in 2 weeks, not too bad for a first effort!

InMySpareTime Tue 16-Jul-13 08:00:14

Make that 13 booksgrin, I just looked and saw 2 more sold.

BitScary Tue 16-Jul-13 10:50:44

Hello, can I join? <hands round biscuits>

Congrats to everyone doing so well, publishing, persevering. It's bloody hard!

Right, well I am currently hard at work on the proofs of my first book, which is soon to be published with an indie press. I can't even begin to tell you how cold my feet are feeling and how scared I am about the whole thing. That said, so far I am quite happy with the galleys -- except for one section in particular. There are a few niggles in that section that are jumping out at me and keeping me awake at night.

Around now all of the marketing stuff is happening (the budget for same is extremely small, btw, so that might sound more impressive than it is!) and I find that stuff quite difficult to deal with. I know it has to be done, though.

Well, that's me. Time for coffee!

ImperialBlether Tue 16-Jul-13 16:30:09

Ooh that's exciting, BitScary! Did you go through an agent or directly to the publishers? Is it an ebook or a regular book? What genre is it?

TunipTheVegedude Tue 16-Jul-13 16:31:15

Oh wow, BitScary, congratulations on your first book! That's fabulous.

Is it a novel?

I am hearing good things about indie presses. I went on a 'how to get published' course recently and the tutor said they are becoming increasingly important.

BitScary Tue 16-Jul-13 19:28:25

Thanks! Genre is literary fiction, I guess, as wanky and all as that sounds. Don't want to be too specific (terrified of outing self) but no agent involved. The publishers had seen some of my work and approached me. That's interesting that your tutor said good things about indie presses, Turnip. I think particularly for lit fic they are almost the best bet these days.

It's a regular book but I think there'll be an e-version too. Not sure actually, need to check!

BitScary Tue 16-Jul-13 19:29:21

Love your cover art, InMySpareTime, I wish you all the best with it!

ImperialBlether Wed 17-Jul-13 00:04:26

Wow, they approached you? That's everyone's dream. And literary fiction... I envy you.

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