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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

InMySpareTime Mon 10-Feb-14 11:56:56

It took about 6 months to write The Strangeling's Tale with a few months revision and editing to get it ready to publish. Drabble Folk and Fairy Tales took about half that time because it's a shorter book, and because I had learned a lot of lessons from the first book.

Honeysweet Mon 10-Feb-14 09:38:37

We will do that until told otherwise in that case!
I do find it an odd thread, because once it drops off my threads I'm on, and a few days have past, I forget to look at it for another month.

Nice to meet you by the way. And congratulations on having books published.
I am not near that stage yet. And even if I was, I dont think that there is more than one other book in me at the most.
Can I ask how long from start to finish did book one take you.
I do mine in so many small pieces, and sometimes dont touch it for a couple months at a time. I started it about 5-8 years ago. I have forgotten exactly when. I will get to the end of it though. Sometimes I look at it and think that I am nearer the end than I think.

InMySpareTime Mon 10-Feb-14 07:24:27

I'm a long-term lurker too, haven't seen a 2014 thread so was intending to just keep popping in here.

Honeysweet Sun 09-Feb-14 16:27:13

Hi. Just calling in. More of a lurker than a poster. Did post a couple of times on the 2012 thread?
Wondered if there is a 2014 thread, or whether you are just going to carry on with this one?

I am writing a book but it is non fiction. More like a text book but isnt! Definitely niche.

Wouldnt mind posting occasionally. Just to keep me on the straight and narrow so to speak.

InMySpareTime Fri 03-Jan-14 09:00:03

I'm looking forward to term starting again on Monday, the DCs witter constantly, and their stream of consciousness really disrupts mine. I have many disjointed story ideas but can't focus on getting them into a coherent story.
Roll on Monday!

Absy Thu 02-Jan-14 11:03:46

congrats InMy! That sounds amazing.

thanks Tunip. I also submitted a short story for a competition on New Years Eve. The difficulty I have is finding the time to write - I have a full on job and like to veg with DH a lot. Or too much. I need to build writing time into my routine.

InMySpareTime Fri 20-Dec-13 18:02:48

Technically I have a publisher, but it's a new company and mine was the first book, so there's been a lot of ground-breaking and learning from experience.
Books are selling well, sold 5 more today, and someone told me they've found my book under their DD's pillow 2 nights running, which I'm taking as a ringing endorsement!

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 20-Dec-13 13:06:04

InMySpareTime - yikes! Self-publishing sounds stressful. Thank goodness you got them in the end.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 20-Dec-13 13:05:02

Congratulations on submitting, Absy!

I love writing <happy sigh>

InMySpareTime Wed 18-Dec-13 07:14:46

My paperbacks finally arrived, after I ordered them almost a month ago. The printers promised 7-10 days, and failed spectacularly on that!
I presold 52 books, and it was getting very tight on Christmas delivery, I'm getting the far ones posted this morning, and hand-delivering the rest.

Absy Tue 17-Dec-13 17:33:49

I also have an idea for a second novel, and maybe when I'm on holiday next week and lolling around my in laws I'll have time to do some writing.

Absy Tue 17-Dec-13 17:32:08

right, I'm back. I finished the novel, submitted the MS to two agents about 6 weeks ago. One came back and said no, other hasn't come back. I'm going to revise (AGAIN. Hopefully having some time away from it will give me fresh eyes and less fed up with it) and send out to some more.

InMySpareTime Mon 25-Nov-13 10:44:57

Same name, via Smashwords.
I'm getting some great writing done on 3 more Drabble Diaries for the series: Gardening, Cycling, and Gory Stories.
The Gory Stories are the most fun to write, as they are totally fiction.
The Cycling and Gardening stories are harder to find inspiration for, as you said, it's harder to draw plots from real events. Even harder when there's a word count of 100 per story to stick to!
Out of 100 stories each, Gardening's on 10, Gory's on 5 and Cycling's on 24. I should really focus on one at a time to get them finished, but I write best when inspired, and having a choice of inspiration means I get more done overall (though it takes longer to finish them).
At some point, one will reach critical mass and I'll feel moved to push on with it to the end.
I seem to have a talent for formatting ebooks, and have slightly accidentally ended up being the person to format all 100 Drabble books as they're finished.
Both my Smashwords titles had no formatting errors whatsoever, which worked in my favour.
Somehow, though my work life is chaotic, I am a meticulous proofreader and formatter. I should find a way to make money from that somehow...

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 25-Nov-13 10:28:23

Congratulations on publishing the second book! grin Is it under the same name as the first?

I'm busy on the next book. Trying to make myself write rather than research, but it's a different kettle of fish in that the characters are all real people rather than figments of my imagination, so although they'll be able to evolve as I do the first draft, they will still have to evolve in a way that is consistent with what the actual documentary sources say.

It's kind of fascinating, trying to pull a properly shaped plot out of a mass of things that really happened.

InMySpareTime Sun 24-Nov-13 09:10:45

I've published my second ebookgrin
I've also got the first print run of the paperback edition on order, and have pre-sold a fair few of them on the strength of my badly-glued mockup version!
(Can you tell I'm a bit excited about it?)
It's a collection of 100 folk and fairy tales, each exactly 100 words.
I'm keeping busy writing 3 more books for the series (my publisher wants to publish 100 titles, I get a cut of each for formatting and editing them).
What're you lot up to?

GrendelsMum Mon 28-Oct-13 18:13:34

Right, well, I've done it. Spurred on by you Tunip (so any and all rejections are your fault), I've gone and submitted the bloody thing today. Lets see what happens...

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 16-Oct-13 18:13:10


I'm just desperate to get this one out of the way and get on with something else. I haven't stopped finding flaws in it, though.

Am getting geared up to submit but feeling less hopeful than I've done for a long time.

InMySpareTime Tue 15-Oct-13 11:19:41

There are actually loads to choose from. Scottish folk tales err on the gory side, as do Norwegian ones.
Greek and Indian tales about war gods definitely have a lot of bloodshed too. The hardest task will actually be narrowing it down to 100.

GrendelsMum Tue 15-Oct-13 10:47:14

Wow - that sounds huge fun! Hope it continues to go equally well. Intrigued by the gory 100 word stories...

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 14-Oct-13 16:44:01

Sounds fun, InMySpareTime.

Oh to write that fast! grin

InMySpareTime Sat 12-Oct-13 16:30:45

Delurking as I'm about to start first edit of my book of fairytales.
It's a new project I'm involved in, to write a book of 100 stories, each 100 words long (Drabbles). From the look of my editor's initial notes, there are a lot of tweaks and some stories that will need taking out entirely (too gory for target demographic!). I've got Monday earmarked to talk through changes with the editor. I have some ideas for replacement stories, just need to put in the work to get them down to 100 words.
I'm currently writing two more books of Drabbles, with an eye on another if enough of my gory stories are worth pitching at an older audience.
It's good discipline anyway, I'm getting at least 5 stories a day done.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 11-Oct-13 12:16:33

Have done smile

I just need a very quick impression of whether it works.

Thanks x

GrendelsMum Fri 11-Oct-13 12:15:28

Please do - send it over!

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 11-Oct-13 12:00:15

Could I send you my latest attempt at the first few pages?
It's not long - I'll bung it in the body of an email. Thanks.

I am really struggling with generally being able to tell if something works or not. I can spot specific things perfectly well (like whether there are too many passives or whether the register of the passage changes) but stuff that is really subjective, like whether something would entice you to read on, is completely passing me by at the moment. I have no flipping clue whether my new opening is the killer start I've been looking for or will undermine the whole book by putting people off.

GrendelsMum Fri 11-Oct-13 09:48:36

Same here - I'm treating the end of the month as my deadline for the currentdraft at least, and I think I'm going to make it comfortably, as I'm almost finished. Last week I was feeling pretty down about how badly it was all going, but the end is now in sight.

The laptop is being repaired as we speak, so that should make a massive difference - I should have had it repaired immediately, but kept struggling on because I didn't want to waste time...

I'll put it away for November, do some kind of Nano equivalent - I'm thinking about using Nano to plot my sequel out scene by scene in detail - and then return for a final pass through to polish and work on style (and perhaps to check on all the clues adding up), and then start sending to agents in Jan. I'm also thinking about asking a few writers I know if they'd be willing to read it, with a view to seeing if they'll recommend it to their agents... My ideal scenario would be someone reading it and recommending it as the best book they've ever read / a reasonable thriller, but I'll see how it goes.

Let me know if there's anything you want me to read.

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