Monday, January 10, 2011

Diggin Those Truffles

I hate editing. Editing a short story is bad enough, but a novel? Yikes.

But I'm coping and progressing fairly well through the revision of my old fantasy novel, Macha Mong Ruadh.

I've already mentioned it was an accidental novel (didn't set out to write a fantasy novel, especially when fantasy isn't my normal genre). What I haven't mentioned is it's one of those rare, wonderful novels that practically write themselves. Not all of them do. Writing a novel really is like childbirth: some slide right out with very little effort on your part, and some you've got to grab with forceps and yank.

Although there were times I thought about just abandoning the novel, I couldn't. I'd been given the gift and felt guilty about tossing it on the trash heap. I did abandon it for quite a few years (as I've mentioned before). That added another level to the doubt-pile, because it is terribly, TERRIBLY hard to pick up an old project, dust it off, and try to come at it again.

When I did decide to dive into the revision, I discovered that the long pause was probably the best thing I could have done for the revision process. I've forgotten almost everything about the novel except for the character names. Talk about "reading with fresh eyes!" It doesn't get any fresher than that!

(Not that it needed to rest that long for me to forget. I walk from one end of the house to the other and forgot why I was going that way; god forbid I ever need an alibi for anything, because I can't remember what I did last week, much less where I was on the night of June-whatever).

Now my fresh eyes are doing a read-thru revision. I've taken a lot of notes of plots holes and point-of-view problems (I have a lot of scenes where the POV character isn't even in the room), and I'm filling a notebook with revision notes (bad POV; cut this scene and slide important piece of "info x" into another scene; Kilian sounds like Sulley in this scene; etc.). But there's a lot of good stuff in there. I'm very encouraged. I said it before, I'll say it again. Revision is a lot like truffle-hunting: you have to root through a lot of muck to get to the tasty morsels.

I'm currently on page mss page 100 of 300. Then I'll work with my notes and make the revisions. Then I'll let it rest again for at least a month (fresh eyes again)! Then I'll do another read thru revision, and repeat as needed until it's ready to start sending to agents!


  1. That's where I'm at right now, so I'm going in now to do some editing, finally. Yes its amazing what you see with fresh eyes after sitting on it a while.

    Jacqueline Howett Author of The Greek Seaman, and Amorphous Angelic, Selected Poems. Glad to hear its an easy baby. Good Luck!

  2. I've made a promise to myself not to sit on it quite so long during the next edit sweep (sat on this one so long it almost has a permanent butt impression, lol).

    Thanks for reading!


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