Monday Ruminations on Craft and Learning

This weekend I wrote ten thousand words. I’m pretty excited by that, it’s the most I’ve written in two weeks. The stress freeze of the whole agent pitch is like background noise now. But I started work on the follow up book to the romantic suspense one that’s coming out next month from Samhain. I realized as I looked at it how far I’d come since I wrote it in late 2004/early last year. And I also thought, “fuck, if I try to edit around this it’ll take me even longer than if I just pick up the threads and write it from scratch.” That and I didn’t so much like the heroine as I’d written her. I wanted her to be stronger.

Anyway, I got my first round of edits on Giving Chase back today. And I wrote that right around the time I wrote Triad. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Technically, my writing has really improved. And I owe that in large part to my first edits with Ellora’s Cave. Now I usually do one round and a bit of follow up with word choice or small stuff. It’s like 20% of what I went through with Triad. Because I can put sentences and dialog together better. My chief crime, the comma splice is almost totally gone. I think about how I’m going to give information to the reader so I don’t vomit up backstory and drown the reader.

With Wolf, I tore it apart and spent so much time revising it I felt bloody at the end. It’s really a different book than it was six months ago. It’s better because I put so much fucking time into it. And I cut things I loved with a ruthless hand because they were unnecessary. But I’d rather write cleaner the first time out. The second book that comes after Wolf is a better book because I wrote it four months after I wrote Wolf. Just that time made the difference.

These are things I have learned through editing and writing a lot. I could not have learned this stuff from a book or a workshop. That’s not how I learn. I have to do it instead of see it. Although I will say having really excellent crit helps immensely (an editor who doesn’t try to change your voice but pushed you hard and an agent who was an editor in her past life). And it becomes just one more reason why I’m glad I got my start in epublishing because I had an editor who went through nine rounds of edits with me (no shit) and now we do two. She believed in me and damn if that didn’t force me to be a better writer. Now I was able to send a book to NY that was worthy because I was better prepared and let’s face it, a better writer than I was a year ago.

So back to Giving Chase, which is why I had this mini ephiphany – I have SO much work to do on the damned thing because I wrote it before I learned most of this stuff.

I doubt I’ll be trying to resurrect old books. Instead I’ll just use the first draft as an outline and write from scratch. It’s really a better use of my time I think.

2 comments to “Monday Ruminations on Craft and Learning”

  1. Lili
    May 11th, 2006 at 9:52 am · Link

    10,000 words in a day is good. Too bad it never lasts. I’ve done 15,000 this week, and that’s after editing out. I’d rather have the steady 1000/2000 a day that I know I can maintain without brain freeze. Sometimes I stop myself after 2000, I find it’s a great way to let my mind sift and rearrange. And it keeps my interest level high.

  2. Lauren Dane
    May 11th, 2006 at 3:24 pm · Link

    Oh that was 10K in a weekend. The most I’ve done in a day is 8K and that was unusual. A good day is about 3K.