All kinds of fun reading today. No actual new words written, but I did work on the book as well as reading.
And Kris liked my new novel with one change which I will talk about below.
Monday errands, finally making it back to WMG offices to work on workshop stuff around four. Worked until I got it done, then went and got a haircut. I think I lost two pounds right there.
Then home to do e-mail and take a nap while Kris cooked dinner. After I did the dishes (she cooks, I do dishes, I cook, she does dishes), I went back to reading her new Diving Universe novel.
It’s really good so far and I have about thirty thousand words left to finish, which I might do after this blog or wait until tomorrow.
After watching some television, I came in here with the idea of working on the new Thunder Mountain novel and once again got stuck on some details. This actually isn’t unusual for me when starting the Thunder Mountain books.
So I am one chapter in (I added a few hundred words I’m not going to count) I found myself once again studying maps. So after an hour, I decided to go back to reading Kris’s book.
And in the meantime, she had read my book. (I’m not a slow reader. My book is just much, much shorter than her new book. (grin))
So let me talk about things in novels in the topic tonight below.
The writing bundle has less than three days left, folks. The novel bundle for the Not Only Humans books only has less than two days left. Information and links to both at the top of my page on the right column.
I have two books in the writing bundle, so this is about as cheap as you are going to get two of my books, folks, plus the Lawrence Block classic writing book, worth every penny of the entire thing alone. And that’s not even counting Kris’s book or all the others in the bundle.
July Workshop Schedule
All July workshops have room. All are limited to five max.
And for those thinking of starting into these workshops, take the Depth workshop first.
All details at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com
Class #1… July 5th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 5th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 5th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 5th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 5th … Character Development
Class #6… July 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 6th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 6th … Teams in Fiction
Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.
Topic of the Night: Cutting Stuff
I got a few people saying I should put up the chapters I cut out of Death Takes a Partner. I honestly don’t feel right about doing that because, honestly, it is too much cut in this book.
But tonight, after Kris read my book, she said she loved it and loved the voice, but I had written one chapter past my ending.
And I think she is right.
So the book is going to get one more chapter shorter. (poor thing… grin)
However, I have an offer for those who subscribe to Smith’s Monthly and those who are Patreon supporters, or if you buy a copy of Smith’s Monthly #31 with the story Death Takes a Partner (out in about a month) and send me your proof of purchase. If you have read the book and are interested in seeing that extra last chapter, I will gladly send it to you.
And I will be open for feedback so that you can tell me if the book is better where Kris told me to stop the book (which I agree with) or with the last original cut chapter.
That should be fun if anyone is interested. The extra chapter will not be copyedited. It will just sit as I wrote it. But you will have had to read the book first before that last chapter will make any sense.
Cutting as Rewriting
I honestly don’t read back through my novels when I finish. Not ever.
I said that to someone in a comment and a number of people wrote me surprised.
That’s right, not ever.
I will go to where Kris has marked a mistake and if I agree, I will fix it. I don’t read the book again. And I look at major copyedit questions from a copyeditor, but my copyeditors know to leave my stuff alone and Allyson at WMG enforces that for me. I will flip through a manuscript looking at changes, and if I see nothing that bothers me, I just go with them. I tend to have about one change every two or three pages, usually just a typo or an antecedent problem.
So when Kris said I should have stopped one chapter sooner, I know that I often do write past my endings, but usually cut them before she sees them. But in this case I felt I had a string to tie off, so I wrote extra and left, but in hindsight I honestly didn’t need to.
Did I go back and reread the two chapters? Nope. Just glanced at where Kris said I should end, glanced at the next chapter and went, “Yup.”
And when I cut all those chapters out earlier, it wasn’t because I reread the book in critical voice. It was my creative voice telling me that cycle didn’t need to be there. And I always wait until the end, then without rereading, I go back and cut them out.
I do reread a few paragraphs of the last chapter ahead of the cut and a few paragraphs ahead of the new next chapter to see if they flow together. This time the cut was seamless. I actually had a rougher transition spot in a section break later on.
Belief and Fear
So many writers I know will look at what I just described in horror. None of the writers who have that reaction will have been around as long as I have been, however.
You see, belief in your own writing and the ability to get past the fear that your writing might not be perfect takes years of time and a lot of words under your fingers.
I have learned to trust my voice, to fight the fear. Without the trust, I could never write as much as I do, and without fighting the fear and putting it away, I would be a pile of “I can’t find the time.”
Fear stops you, lack of belief in your own voice and your own work plays into that fear.
Was I surprised tonight when Kris said she liked my book and loved the voice? Totally surprised.
I believed the entire thing didn’t work and the voice would be dull.
But thank heavens I have learned to trust my skill, my voice, and kill all fear. Otherwise, that novel never would have gotten done.
So folks, my advice is to start trusting yourself, set up systems where you trust yourself. The systems will get you past a lot of the fear.
But if that system is writing sloppy first drafts and then going back to fix them later, I can’t help you. You train yourself to write sloppy and you are doomed.
And I can’t help you if you really believe everything needs to be outlined to death and you have to plan every detail like an English teacher taking apart a classic.
And I can’t help you if you are locked into rewriting and never putting your work out for anyone to read.
But I can help you if you have faith in your own voice. Sure, I know, you think everything you write sucks.
So do I.
But I put it out for people to read and then move on, because telling the stories is where the fun is at.
And once I have told a story, I have no desire to read the story again.
I just trust it.
The Writing of The Taft Ranch: A Thunder Mountain Novel
Day 1… 1,050 words. Total words so far… 1,050 words.
Totals For Year 3, Month 11, Day 13
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 999
— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 25,300 words
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 1,300 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 7,500 words
— E-mail: 27 e-mails. Approx. 1,900 original words. E-mails month-to date: 207 e-mails. Approx. 14,700 words
— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers
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