Absence makes the heart…something, something.

As if I didn’t already feel like a negligent father to this blog, I’m just getting into editing Wolf’s Tail, the novel I wrote in late October.

Yeah, that’s gonna be a time and energy suck.

It’s daunting, but I’m trying to carve it up into edible pieces. I did my first complete readthrough the other night in order to see how the whole thing flowed. It was better than I thought it would be, both story and prose-wise, but it has plenty of failings that will need some fixing:

  • Since this story is set in a real time and place, and I’ve done a lot more research since I wrote the first draft, I see that it can use some improvement in the verisimilitude department. For anyone reading this with a knowledge of the era, or looking to gain knowledge of the era, I want to do right by them. I imagine the audience will include fans of Historical Fiction who are notoriously attentive to detail. What makes this story even more difficult is that I’m mixing two cultures that were so alien to each other at the time. But that speculative aspect is also what makes the story interesting to me and hopefully to prospective readers.
  • I’ve decided to ditch the overt supernatural aspect that I initially planned for a more subtle approach. I think it fits better and feels less forced. My gut tells me that’s the type of story I’ve been wanting to write all along.
  • I’m looking at a huge rewrite here. I doubt I’ll keep any of the original material, and damn, there is some good stuff in there. It’ll all be stowed safely away in a document somewhere, but for Wolf’s Tail, it ain’t gonna work. All part of the growing pains to becoming a decent novelist I suppose.

I hope you’re all tackling your projects with some New Year’s gusto!

-Phillip

0 thoughts on “Absence makes the heart…something, something.

  1. Great place to be in having gotten that first draft down. Seems like a brave (or is it crazy! ;-)) decision to not use any of in the rewrite – especially as you seem to like a lot of it. I’ve not done it on that scale, but when I’ve rewritten a scene or a chapter I’ve found having the original next to it (easily achieved if your using something powerful like Scrivener) helps massively as I tend to cut and paste a lot then tweak it based on the new elements in the new writing. I find a lot of the dialogue or core descriptions stand up to the test of time. Its more the ‘feel’ that changes. Whatever you do I’m sure it will turn out well as you seem pretty psyched by it. Good luck, and keep us up to date with how its going.

    1. Yeah, definitely crazy and maybe inadvertently brave. I feel it’s the right thing to do in the end, so I’ve decided to weather the heartache. Using Scrivener certainly helps. Love that program!

  2. I feel your pain, Phillip. I’m impressed you did your first read through in one night. Mine has been taking me days. Like Wolf’s Tail, much of mine will be moved into a new file for safe keeping. I’ve even entertained the idea of rewriting it in first person. Good luck to you, Phillip!

    1. Thank you Jill! I hope for your sanity’s sake that your revisions won’t be as drastic as mine will be, but as I said before, it’s all about putting down the best story we can. Good luck to you as well!

  3. Always hard to toss out passages we spent so much time on, but you’re right, it’s all part of the editing process. Good luck to you!

    1. I think I’d rather deal with physical pain than the emotional pain of shedding work that seemed so hard to create. Oh well, it’s what we signed up for. Thanks Carrie!

  4. Hi Phillip – Happy New Year! I think all of us are clearing away the dust and getting back into the swing of things after the Holiday rigamarole. Sometimes revising can be the best, most creative part of the process, so follow your gut, even if it means deleting massive amounts of work. A friend once told me a “good” revision should erase your writing footprints, leaving barely a trace of the original draft behind. I don’t claim to be a prolific writer, but I’ve found the pieces I’m most proud of are those that diverge most from the original.

    Glad we connected in 2013. Looking forward to more this new year! ~Gwen

    1. Happy New Year Gwen! Glad to see your face back around again as I know you took a little time off from the Interwebs (great idea, btw). That’s very good advice from your friend and, at least for this project, I’m finding it to be true. Looking forward to more from you this year as well.

  5. I don’t envy you. I don’t think I’ll ever try to write a novel. Short form is for me! I’m pooped enough editing a 3500 short story! 🙂 Good luck, though. Your book sounds very interesting.

    1. Thank you Shelley! 🙂 I think we all need to find the form that works for us. My mind seems to naturally lean toward something novel-length since most of my short stories end up looking like the beginnings of novels. I’m just not very good at them. Appreciate your comments!

  6. Was it your site that said it’s several hundred thousands of words before we reach a professional level? Just adding to your word count! For the book I’m getting published, the first draft was completely scrapped. Basically I’m keeping the characters. Even how things happened is changing a great deal. Good luck in the rewrites!

    1. Thanks for the comment Paul! It’s definitely possible I’ve repeated that saying before, and it’s one of the few that keeps me from downright despair. 🙂 That’s fantastic about you being published! Are you going the self-publishing route or did you land a traditional deal?

      1. This will be self published.

        1. Well I look forward to reading it when you do. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the past few self-published books I’ve read and I have no doubt yours will be awesome, if the synopses on your site are any indication.

          1. Oh goodness I hope so. The first version was a little too campy, so I’m redoing it. Have some good people helping me with editing, so that should help a lot too. Might ask for a review!

  7. Tough stuff, eh? What’s that thing about killing your darlings? It’s true a lot of the time.

    I’ve scrapped first drafts many times over the years, and it’s never an easy choice to make. And if you try to salvage pieces of it you might create a Frankenstein monster that’s even more messed up! Still, you’ve fleshed out characters, put together a viable narrative, tuned into some motifs and themes, and sketched the settings. It’s all there for use in the second draft.

    Best of luck, Phillip!

    1. Yeah, my darlings are gonna haunt me for years… But like you said, I think a Frankenstein monster would be worse! Thanks for the well wishes Kevin.

  8. Well let’s see. Launching a book, editing the next and writing the next. Yeah I’m tackling my projects with some New Year’s gusto! Good luck to you.

    1. Hah, you are right on top of things John. Very excited to pick up GRL on the ebook release, which I thought would be out on the 6th. Am I missing it on Amazon?

      1. No. there is a glitch and I can’t get the publisher to man up. It will be there soon. Thanks for being patient. BTW just got a Five Star review from Readers’ Favorite.

        1. Congrats on the review! I’ll keep an eye out for when the publisher figures things out…

  9. Kudos to you, Phillip, for taking these steps to working on your novel. Posts like yours help motivate me since I’m still dragging my a** on my writing. My current excuse is that I have two novels I’m trying to decide between. They are very different from each other: one is horror, the other crime/mystery. One is in better shape than the other. One is a “standalone” while the other will (would) be part of a series. I’ll probably write a post about it because I feel so indecisive 🙂

    1. Thank you Marie. Glad my insanity is of service to another to writer. 🙂 Let me just say that I can completely sympathize with your indecision. You don’t want to pick the “wrong” project because you’re afraid it’ll turn to crap and you’ll kick yourself for not spending more time on the other.

      I’ve found that flipping a coin and picking one is as good a way to decide as any. You just need to choose something to sink your teeth into. It’s like any relationship… The more time you spend with a story, the more it drives you insane and the more you fall in love with it.

      Good luck and I look forward to following your journey!

      1. I like the coin toss idea. I might try that 🙂

  10. Peter, I just want to say how I love your title for this post; I always read it ‘Absinthe’ though, so I don’t know if it has the same meaning as what you intended. 🙂

    1. I had some Absinthe once… I don’t think it was the real deal, but man, I could feel the burn all the way down… Good to hear from you, btw Nate. I thought I was following your new blog, but I’m not getting any notifications. I’ll have to fix that.

      1. Yeah, and I just realized I typed Peter instead of Phillip, makes me feel like a dope. Sorry man, must have read another blog right before yours or something. I never have had Absinthe, but have always wanted to try.

        1. No need to apologize to a guy that’s horrible with names!

  11. Ahhhh! I was just talking about my need to edit, last night! (so bad at grammar, you see). I have a huge-arse manuscript that’s waiting for it’s very last death kneel. How the heck am I supposed to fit that in?!

    1. Haha, grammar, who, needs, it..:;!? And with your prolific blogging, if you’re asking me when you’ll fit the editing in, you’re asking the wrong guy. I have NO idea how you fit any of it in!

  12. I’m with you, Phillip. I’m trying to finish the draft of my novel so that I can get at the incredible amount of rewriting I have to do. As for the blog, your novel writing and short stories need to come first. (And yes I agree that Aussa is an amazing blogger.) Congrats though on getting your draft done and for knowing what needed to go.

    1. Good luck on the draft Linda. One of the most exciting, yet nerve wracking times! Thanks for the reminder about what’s important. I really am trying to focus more on having a finished product. 🙂

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