It has been over a month since my last update, so I thought I’d inundate you all with more news about me. I’ll keep it brief.
Half way complete with the second draft of what I hope will be my very first novel (remember, keep expectations low, this is my first novel). I’ve had my sister, someone from eastern Europe (completely random happenstance), and a good writing friend (also from Europe) read the first bits and…well…responses have been mixed. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I suppose it means that this second draft (which is really like the seventh or eighth draft if you consider all the drafts for Devil’s Blood) will not be the last.
But I knew that. I just, you know, was hoping folks would be blown away anyway.
I do have a bit of a conundrum. Once done with the second draft, what next?
Do I pay my writing coach to read through and offer feedback? The advantage of asking my writing coach for further advice is that I know it will be good advice, but it may also send me on another re-write. I really want to put this thing to rest (regardless if the result is good or bad) so I can move on to my other projects.
Or, should I put it up on Critters for peer review? The problem with this is that I may not get very many readers. Devil’s Blood didn’t attract a lot of attention. For good reason – it sucked – but also because it is not exactly fantasy and not exactly historical fiction. It may end up being a waste of time putting it up there.
Or…Should I give the second draft to selected writer-friends who expressed an interest and are willing to offer just the right amount of advice to help me through the next draft?
I think I just answered my question. Now, to go beg those selected writers for a huge chunk of their time…
Woohoo! I finally succeeded in winning one of the monthly flash fiction contests over on the Writing forum of SFFWorld.com. To be honest, I only won because no one was around to vote, but hey – I still won! My winning entry is called The Clucking Bride. Upon winning, I immediately took it down, spruced it up a bit, and sent it to Daily Science Fiction, whom promptly rejected it. (sigh)
I’m putting The Clucking Bride through Critters to see if it is worth trying to shop it around or whether I should just post it here.
I also wrote a story that is sort of like horror called Barc’s Butcher (thanks to my fellow SFFWorld.com forum member for the title!). I’m gonna let this sit for a while and then see if it is worth fixing later when I’ve had some distance from it.
Oh, and I also wrote a bitty flash for Emmie Mears End of the World (EOW) flash fiction contest. You can check out the contest here (she’s got prizes!) and my entry here.
The End Anthology
We are in the midst of the second contest for three more spots in the anthology (you can read about it here). So far, I’ve gotten five entries. I think we will end up with some of our finest yet in this round.
I’ve gotten two of the winning entries from the first round to “edit”. As I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure what I am doing. So…guess my writing coach will be getting hit up for some more advice. 😎
Until next time, watch out for swat-gear laden, white, flame-red haired, he-seemed-so-normal men carrying an array of firearms. 😦
- Writing Update 2012-6 (nilaewhite.wordpress.com)
19 thoughts on “Writing Update 2012-7”
Re-writes are no fun but you need to decide if the project is a writing exercise or intended for publication. Both are fine but in the latter case, you need to polish the work as best you can until it is ready to market. That means lots of re-writes.
It’s a hard call to determine if you are better off shelving something or working on it further. Your readers can help in theory but in practice it is hard to get the right advice from them, partly because they aren’t likely to be professionals so they just don’t have the knowledge and partly for reasons of objectivity (both conscious and unconscious).
I’ve got a second novel “under the bed” at the moment that I’ve been casually submitting. Not really sure if I should push hard on it or not. My current thoughts are to send it by my readers one more time (it’s been a year or more for most of them) and try to get as objective feedback as possible. If it is positive, I may spend the $425 on a Kirkus Indie and see what that looks like.
Yeah, re-writes and feedback are tough. Let us know how you like the Kirkus Indie package if you go for it.
Have you tried out The SFF Online Writing Workshop? http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/
They will allow you to try it for a month, free, and I found I got a greater response than with critters. I liked it well enough to pay for the subscription.
Personally, I think 2 drafts of anything is not enough. I edited Botanicaust 6 times before I paid for a professional editor in preparation for Indie publishing, and was amazed at how much the editor caught / suggested to make it better. I think when I release it next month, it may finally be ready.
Just my humble opinion 🙂
Congrats on the flash fiction win! That’s wonderful!
I’ll check ’em out. Thanks for the tip!
Hey, you’re moving in the right (write?) direction.
Keep plugging away. Just stop the “I’m such a terrible writer!” act, k?
Okay…for a little while maybe. 😉
I tell her that all the time.
My apologies for the whining bits, but it is not an act. I really do feel that way. I don’t think the feeling will ever go away, but I will try to keep from writing about it. 🙂
I think that is part of being creative. You are always looking for approval from others. I live with this disease myself and have recently posted about aspects of it such as deriving your self worth from it, which is what I tend to deal with. Another aspect that I learned about the creative is that we tend to want and need more attention.
Hmmmm, fodder for a future blog post, me thinks.
The good thing is that all great writers secretly think they are terrible frauds. So it’s a good sign, really. You’d have to be concerned about the Dunning-Kruger effect if you were blissfully confident (paradoxically).
I had more success with critters after I did a few MPCs, and thus turned in dozens of critiques and got lots of people who recognized my name and were inclined to take a second look at my stuff. There is still about a 33% rate of useful crits, but that’s not so bad if you get enough readers (plus I’m finally getting a core of people who tend to return and improve my ratio of good readers to weirdos). Of course, doing an MPC isn’t easy – there are always a few good stories up on critters, but I haven’t seen a week with ten good ones yet.
I’ve wondered about that. And I guess if I don’t dedicate the time to really offer a lot of feedback, why would others do the same for me, eh? But I do feel like I offer what I can. I used to go through and do line edits but then some folks say not to do that. I’ll look into doing a concentrated effort towards the MPC and then maybe put the next (thrid) version up.
You know, I never peruse the list. I always just crit what lands in my inbox. Maybe that’s not the best strategy?
I like it when a few people do line edits myself, because it always turns out I need it, no matter how many times I print things out and read them aloud, etc. Of course, I don’t need a dozen people all pointing out that I meant “rein” not “reign”, so I hardly resent the people who skip them to focus on the big stuff.
I look over the list because I find that good writers tend to be better critiquers, so I pick through looking for stuff I enjoy because those might be the people more likely to critique me in the future. Of course, when I’ve done an MPC, I also like finding the really bad stuff, because it is easier to critique. It’s that middle ground I have problems with.
Good to know. I think I’ll do line edits if I think my knowledge in grammar and spelling is “better” than the writer I’m reading, but not when I know I’m sub-par. I guess. Good to know what you do, though. That puts things in perspective. Thanks!
There are a couple of avenues you could go that may be more time- and cost-effective than just shopping it around. If you live near a university, you could put out an ad for proofreaders. Most are educated and idealistic, so they’ll give you some pretty thorough feedback. You could also dig around local message boards, newspapers, or bulletins for some writer’s workshops. They’re usually free and have a pretty good vibe. The hard part will be finding people who are readers of your chosen genre, be it literature, sci-fi, or romance.
Self-editing can be pretty painful, and it gets easier with practice, but nothing beats a good community. Good luck!
Thank you, Justin. I hadn’t thought of going down to the local university and asking for proofreaders! Good idea.