Friday, May 29, 2009

A Novel Idea

As many of you know, I am writing a novel, FATE'S GUARDIAN. Or rather, I wrote a novel, and now I am re-writing that novel.

It is a process that I love and hate. I love the story. I love writing in general. I hate the thought of re-writing 100,000 words, though. It was tough enough the first time. For the past three months I've been stuck, re-writing the first 50 pages over and over, like I'm trapped in a writer's version of Groundhog Day. At least those pages were getting better each time, but I had this thought nagging at the back of my mind, saying, "Dude, there are 300 more pages, you know."

The other night I had an epiphany. I figured out a new structure for the novel and a new way of plotting (and some changes to the plot itself), and now the re-write is taking new shape and speed. It's about freaking time.

I also set a new mandate for my work time. I get up early and make my way to the coffee pot. That part hasn't changed (nor will it in the foreseeable future). Then I go to my computer. Now here's the clever part: I write for an hour.

Let me clarify that: I re-write my manuscript for an hour. No blogs. No email. No checking the weather online. The only application allowed is MS Word. Bill Gates must be proud.

So if you hear less of me in the blogosphere, that's why. I'm really hunkering down to knock this out of the park.


Laurel said...

Go, Rick!

I've had to do this to. I disarm the wireless signal receiver thingummy in my computer.

It's too easy to just hop on the internet if you get stuck and before you know it 30 minutes have passed.

Good luck!

ElanaJ said...

I absolutely love this epiphany! "Dude, there are 300 more pages, you know."

So true! I was staring at my WiP the other day, and I just couldn't get past the beginning. I know it's not right, in fact, it might need an entirely new first chapter instead of what I've got. I couldn't write it. I didn't know what it was. And it prevented me from moving on to the second chapter. Finally I said, "Dude, just skip it and come back." And now I'm on page 35 and I'm not worried about the beginning.

Yeah, I'll have to go back and worry later, but for now, I've got my groove thang going.

Rick Daley said...


The Internet is great for spontaneous research, as long as it doesn't completely derail the creative process. It's fun, though...hence the flight of time while surfing ;-)


Keep that groove. Feels good, doesn't it? I got to the point where I was changing little things, but not necessarily making them better- just different. In some cases, probably over-thinking and making some sentences worse.

And all the while, the serious deal-breaking flaws in the other 300 pages were going unattended. Serious flaw in that methodology.

Davin Malasarn said...

Rick, I'm glad you're making progress. Ugh, when you described revising the first 50 pages over and over again, I could sympathize completely. I only recently revised the first chapter of my book in a way that I think works. It has probably gone through more than a hundred revisions. Good luck with the writing routine!

beth said...

Good luck with your progress!!!

scott g.f. bailey said...

Onward and upward! I think discipline and planning is essential during revisions. Otherwise, it's too easy to just fuss with the same couple of chapters forever. Congrats on the epiphany. Epiphanies=good. I cherish those "oh, I see it now" moments.

Rick Daley said...

Davin / Beth, Thanks!

Scott, your recent posts about revisions helped inspire that epiphany. Thank you.

Lady Glamis said...

Rick, we're in the same boat. I pray we can both get through revisions successfully! Rewriting too much, I've noticed, can really kill me emotionally, and kills my voice too. I keep trying to remember to keep it simple simple simple. :)

jbchicoine said...

Okay, so after you’ve revised—cut stuff, reorganized and fleshed things out—when are you actually finished and call it a completed project? That’s what I want to know.

Rick Daley said...


I'd like to know that too ;-) My guess would be after the final revisions are sent to the publisher.

I know that whatever changes I make now, I will make more after an agent reads it and more after an editor reads it.

I think the critical stage is "ready for submission."

jbchicoine said...

Okay then, let me rephrase: When is it "ready for submission"? Just looking for your take on when you let a story go to make its own way in the world...How will you know when FATE'S GUARDIAN is ready?

Rick Daley said...

I've been through a round of queries, made it to a partial request, and got rejected there. That's what prompted my current re-write / revision. Once I hit the end with this round, I am confident it will be ready for a full round of submissions.

For some agents, it may even be ready now. I don't know where they draw the lines in thinking the work has potential and can be revised, or where they only take material that is ready to go to an editor as-is.