Decisions and Revisions
I’ve decided against busting my ass to apply to Clarion this year. My computer is hosed, which means most of my writing is currently unavailable on the hard drive at the moment. I’d be terrified of losing it all if I had less confidence in my friends to pull a magic computer trick and get my data back. Hopefully this weekend we can do some techno rituals and retrieve my novel (and my music collection, please?). One of these days I’ll learn not to name my computer after volatile entities. Last computer that died on me was called Venus. This one is called Gir. Oh well. (I guess it ran out of cupcakes).
For this week my projects are: Write review of Cooking Mama on the DS for gamer-girl.org. Finish outline for novel project 1 (come up with better name for novel project 1?). Start novel project number 1, my goal is at least 5 hand written pages per day. (At which rate it will only take about 12 weeks to finish the rough draft. Which seems short until you know that it took me 19 days to do the rough draft of my first novel. Which is on the harddrive of deadness.)
I also really need to get cracking on the whole novel rewrite thing. Editing my own work is probably my least favorite thing to do in the world. But, only way the thing has a shot of being published is if I fix it up all pretty like. I had someone recently find out about the whole “editors at major publishing company liked it and want a rewrite” thing and they really got on my case. It’s easy for someone whose work it ain’t to say “if that was my novel, I’d be doing nothing else but that rewrite for a chance like that”. And technically, they are right. I’d have thought the same thing before it WAS my novel.
Which brings me to admitting some hard things to myself about that novel. I don’t really like it. I’m not that much of a fan of the characters, I don’t see how the plot requires the setting in any way, and the setting feels weak and flat to me. I’m more excited about writing the sequel than I am about editing the first one. I know some of the major problems and thanks to a livejournal post by Jim Butcher that I stumbled across, I think I know how to fix some of the issues with the characters. I’m not a cerebral writer. I don’t do things on purpose, with the exception of stupid nerd references that probably no one will ever get. (B13 is the building my protagonists live in, for example). I don’t sit and think about “what’s the motivation for this scene?” or “what does my character like to eat?”. I just sort of go by feel. Which works most of the time and fails spectacularly on occasion when I don’t have a solid picture of what I’m doing. This novel was my first. Like most firsts, I had no idea what I was doing. I was foremost winning a bet. I never intended for the draft to be seen by anyone except maybe a friend or two. I was going to let it die a tiny, inconsequential “good to know” sort of death. But then an author friend submitted it to his editor and they liked it, said it had promise but needed to be longer and to be rewritten/cleaned up. And I told a tiny sort of lie. I said, “oh, well, I’m working on the next draft now, a total rewrite.” Which I wasn’t. But guess what? I am now. Sigh.
Because of this connection, this first novel has a better than random chance of seeing publication. The problem is, I don’t really think this novel is representative of what I want to write. It was written as a joke, a dare. I’ve already won my 20 dollars. But on the other hand, I can’t really let this pass me by just because I hate my baby. I gave birth to this thing, I guess it is up to me to whip it into something I won’t be ashamed to see my name on.
So for the first rewrite, I think I’m going to go through every scene with the main chars in it and see how I can make their lives suck more. The book is almost afraid of the setting, so it’s time to make the setting into something to truly fear instead of just a green screen random backdrop. Aspiring writers would kill for this opportunity, right? But it’s up to me to turn this novel into something worth dying for. Go me. Or something.