Friday, December 10, 2010

Slash and Burn

For those of you interested in such things, unfortunately the title is not referring to slash fiction. ^_~ No, I'm going to complain a little bit about editing, mostly as a means of procrastinating from doing that very thing. Although with that said, I've been having little fits of GLEE all week because I commissioned a lovely English girl to do me a little drawing of Araben and Aleksandr, and she's been sending me sketches and whatnot and...yes. Niiiiice, is all I have to say for myself. <3

But the fact that I am speaking of editing at all means that yes, I finished the first draft of The Neverboy on Wednesday night. It's almost been a little anti-climatic, but that's likely because I've been away from it for a while now and therefore the thought of going back and rereading from the beginning properly isn't at all anaethema to me right now. In fact, I will be doing that shortly, as I need to really start tidying up the story in order to have it sing the way I know it can. It stumbles along fine the way it is, of course, could be so much more.

But yes, it's quite odd, having something semi-finished that I can now seriously consider in a more critical light. I mean, with The Juniper Bones, even when I have a first draft I have no real belief that anyone would ever publish it. I have a similar problem with For What We Drown, though it is more palatable; it's just set in New Zealand, which seems to kill a story dead when it comes to the international market. And Hibernaculum is a pseudo-fantasy story without all the things most fantasy writers seem to want, so...I don't know. I can't write anything anyone would want to publish. The Neverboy is probably the closest thing I have to a "marketable" manuscript, so...editing it? It's a giddying, sobering, and terrifying thought.

It did strike me, though, that it's almost like writing an essay. I've always been an intuitive writer, essays or otherwise, but most of the other stories I've finished over the years were pretty solid the way they were. My writings these days...aren't. I don't know if it's that I am a worse writer (which I doubt) or if things are just more complex, but...looking at The Neverboy, I know that I have to go back over my introductory stages in order to strengthen the end, I have to cut out the chaff and emphasise the main points in the body chapters, and then I have to really sum things up and end with a bang at the end. The elements of all these things are there, I just...have to start smoothing out the rough edges. I'm not quite sure how this is going to work, but I'm actually excited about it instead of just terrified, so I figure that's what sane people would call "progress."

I also need to start communicating more with other writers. One of my fellow local writers is all for accountability week by week, which I think would be fantastic. I need to start swapping chapters with another writer again. And I need to spend more time getting involved on the CompuServe forums. And somehow, in amongst all that, I have to write. Ha.

In the meantime, my other local writing group is having a Christmas gathering on Wednesday night and I need to write a tiny Christmas story to share aloud. Being contrary, I now want to write something about the equivalent holiday in Nylurea. But told by Kavaan, who would be living at that point with Luchandra in Sarin. It's going to be so complicated, particularly as I decided to limit myself to three thousand words (!). How I am going to achieve anything in that space, I have no idea. But then...slashing and burning a manuscript means one needs to be concise and selective. I suppose there's no time like the present to get started...

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