Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

Oh, the first look at a first draft.

And then the work begins.

For me, before anything else happens, the finished novel has to go from bytes to book.  I typically send the manuscript (set up for reading - my writing setup is a whole different story, but isn't conducive to reading on a page) to Kinkos for printing and binding.  When I was younger and (relatively) flush, I went for more expensive options.  Now I tend to conserve a bit:  a few hundred pages of printing costs is quite pricy enough.

There's nothing quite like holding the book in my hands, even if it isn't anywhere close to a final form.

Next, the readthrough.  This is to get a big picture view of what's on the page - not what I think is on the page.  I try not to make any editing notes at this point, though I might jot down something that stands out ... or in the case of Scylla and Charybdis, I created an outline of the scenes and their purpose.  I ended up deciding everything needed to be there, unfortunately for the final length of that one.

Then, the markup.  I start reading again with pen in hand, marking omissions, tweaks, question marks - there are always a couple places in a manuscript where I simply end up writing "Huh?" - wording that needs to change ... all the good stuff.

Then, the actual input.  Now, for those of you who don't know, I hate handwriting.  Hate hate hate it.  Extended handwriting is physically painful for me.  (I actually have an ocular motor dysfunction - the "bridge" between my eyes and hands is out - and learning to handwrite was a struggle for me.  I ended up coming up with my own method of holding a pen/pencil that tends to make people stare.  Which is why I panicked when my pastry instructor told us to hold a pastry bag "like we hold a pencil" ... but I digress.)

So the upshot of this tale of woe is that my handwritten notes tend to be very sparse, and sometimes when I come back to them, I'll have no idea what I meant in the first place.  At first, I used to think this was a problem with my process.  I came to realize it was a feature.  (Like any good bug:  maybe I should have been a programmer.)  Having to translate myself causes to consider the issue a second time.  Maybe I decide to do something different; maybe I decide the change wasn't needed after all.  I tend to refer to this process as "1.5 editing passes."

And then the work begins ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

I've had my fingers in a lot of fictional pies over the past few weeks, between trying to finish up the novella, query letter for Who Wants To Be A Hero?, a new flash fiction story, and some editing - both preparing my submissions queue and looking ahead to Sword & Sorceress submissions (hopefully) in the spring.  Today, I thought I would just share a handful of first lines as they stand:

The drizzle and evening fog lulled Marina, as did her companion’s eager recitation of sports statistics from before Superstorm Valerie; she almost missed the pulsing light of the motion detectors. --- Undertaking Chances

“Most people would be glad of the distinct lack of bodies in the street, not to mention common thugs breaking into houses,” my companion said. -- Untitled (still ... got to do that before I can submit it ...)

Ioweyn stood in the Waiting Chamber of the Gods and tried not to fidget.  -- Who Wants To Be A Hero?

As she had done every sunrise and sunset since arriving at the royal estate five months ago, Elinet Plin stood in her tower window and stared across the newborn lake of Cascolem.   -- Soul Medley

“With that kind of entrance,” Cailys Andiara addressed her visitor, flashing an apologetic look to me from the workshop door, “I’m wondering if you think I killed someone.” -- Unnatural Causes

(I am still unhappy with this final opening line; it's the opening of my finished but unedited novel.  The first version was perfect, but implied a thunderous arrival for the other character that didn't make sense with his reasons for visiting.  This is my murder victim, and I was trying to foreshadow her death ... such is a writer's life.)

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my opening lines.  And here's the opening to Flow:

On bad days, the world around Kit vibrated in sympathy.