PDA

View Full Version : Editing.


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2

Holbrook
January 15th, 2006, 08:07 AM
Six years ago I finished the first draft of "the monster" as I call it. Since then I have edited it and sent it out, in its various forms, to more agents and publishers that I can count.

I have more versions of this book than most have had hot dinners. Lol. A few months ago I began going through these.

I have at present nine versions of the book without the narrator sections, and two versions with.

Most of the differences are a matter of order, with regards to the scenes, mostly in the first five chapters. Some have the original prologue, some have a shortened one, some have none at all. All nine versions at present have one ending, though there is another one. So, if I did copies with that ending it would make 18!!

Talk about over kill and "director's cuts" lol...

Still, I am half way through going through the "bulk" of the basic novel, as I call it, adding back some scenes I removed years ago and tidying up the grammar/typos etc. that still litter the 250,000 plus words.

Is anyone else as mad as I am?

MrBF1V3
January 15th, 2006, 04:56 PM
"Mad" as in "wakked"?

I used to save every old version, until one day I re-read one of the originals. Words cannot describe oh how bad it was. I quietly shreaded that copy and buried it the sand box in my neighbor's back yard.

I try not to save too many older versions. Yeah, IF I ever get published, and IF I become a major author and IF I am the subject of numerous literary studies and IF high school students are required to memorize the cliff notes for my big novel ... (and IF I can stop laughing long enough to finish this sentence) ... the older versions would only muddy the water.

I keep some of that stuff because I might need it for reference material, occasionally I want to rethink something I edited out. I know better than to think I will ever write the perfect story, there is always room for improvement.

B5

Radthorne
January 16th, 2006, 12:00 AM
I don't actually keep any older drafts; I kinda figure each revision I'm making is to "editorial order", to quote the famous advice, and thus I don't worry about the older versions. If I delete an entire scene, or some really good lines, I will save those off someplace in case I find I can put them back in later. But I think of each revision as an improvement on what came before (if not, then why do it?) and thus the older one can go.

However... it sounds like, if nothing else, you'll have plenty of material for that "director's cut" of the book! :D

James Barclay
January 16th, 2006, 02:40 AM
I keep alll draft versions in electronic format (usually three per book as an average) but not on paper. The only paper one I keep is the one with my editor's marks in it.

I'm paranoid about throwing away printed versions before publication. I shred stuff or hide it until publication. That came from a fear of someone stealing my ideas and rushing off to make their fortune on the back of my genius. Oh dear. :o

NOM

Billy Rhomboid
January 16th, 2006, 01:04 PM
The worst is when you dig out some really old draft just for cringe/hunour value and realise it's way better than the version you have now.
I actually did this recently with a project I've been developing on and off for 5 years or so, and to my horror, in chapter two of the very original sketch outline and draft there was a fundamentally different plot split/thread which would have changed the direction of half of the ensuing 800-odd pages, and resolve all teh enormous and intractable problems that have bogged the thing down... and of course is completely incompatible with the current versions... Doh!
still I suppose I could always go back and do another draft from page 21, or I could just jump out of the window. (throw the damn book out, more to the point.)

David Forbes
January 16th, 2006, 03:48 PM
The first draft of The Amber Wizard clocked in at something like 280,000 words. Just way the hell too long for a first novel. I ended up cutting it down to about 175,000 words after taking a break from it.

My agent and I worked on it quite a bit for about six months, and it grew back to 219,000 words. A few editors thought it was still too long and pointed out one section in particular that didn't really fit (and it didn't, but there was some cool character stuff in it I was loathe to lose), so I cut it and got it down to about 190,000 words. The published version is around 183,000 words.

I just finished the third draft of the sequel, The Words of Making. The first was 230,000 words, which my editor said was far too long. But cutting this one down was much easier, and it's now 186,000 words. I sent a copy off to my agent over the weekend and my editor will get a copy this week.

It's gets easier as you write more books. Trust me.

Sean Wright
January 16th, 2006, 04:19 PM
The worst is when you dig out some really old draft just for cringe/hunour value and realise it's way better than the version you have now.
I actually did this recently with a project I've been developing on and off for 5 years or so, and to my horror, in chapter two of the very original sketch outline and draft there was a fundamentally different plot split/thread which would have changed the direction of half of the ensuing 800-odd pages, and resolve all teh enormous and intractable problems that have bogged the thing down... and of course is completely incompatible with the current versions... Doh!
still I suppose I could always go back and do another draft from page 21, or I could just jump out of the window. (throw the damn book out, more to the point.)

I've been doing this on/off revisions stuff for 15 years with one of my books. I am amazed at how much my writing has changed stylistically. I totally agree with the cringe factor. I ditched much of what I re-visited. Such is life.

JRMurdock
January 19th, 2006, 12:41 PM
I also have multiple copies of my works. It's not madness.

But at some point you need to put the monster aside and say 'enough!'. You don't keep your children at home until they retire, don't keep your novel under your skirt for an extended time. At some point, it's going to have to go out and make a living on it's own or fail and be filed in a drawer.

Until you make a sale then you can pull out that dusty manuscript and say 'What about this one?"

Personally, I say put it away. If you've made changes, leave the story as is. As has been said before, if you pulled something to make it better or flow smoother, don't start second guessing and putting stuff back. Move onto a new work and leave that one alone. You WILL drive yourself mad if you edit the same work year after year after year.

Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result?

Sean Wright
January 19th, 2006, 12:48 PM
I also have multiple copies of my works. It's not madness.

But at some point you need to put the monster aside and say 'enough!'. You don't keep your children at home until they retire, don't keep your novel under your skirt for an extended time. At some point, it's going to have to go out and make a living on it's own or fail and be filed in a drawer.

Until you make a sale then you can pull out that dusty manuscript and say 'What about this one?"

Personally, I say put it away. If you've made changes, leave the story as is. As has been said before, if you pulled something to make it better or flow smoother, don't start second guessing and putting stuff back. Move onto a new work and leave that one alone. You WILL drive yourself mad if you edit the same work year after year after year.

Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result?

Perhaps that is a definition of insanity. I agree you have to put that monster away at some point, but the real question is when? When do you say enough is enough, and move on?

Holbrook
January 19th, 2006, 01:55 PM
As has been said before, if you pulled something to make it better or flow smoother, don't start second guessing and putting stuff back. Move onto a new work and leave that one alone. You WILL drive yourself mad if you edit the same work year after year after year.

A lot of the stuff I pulled out was to force the story into a word count that would be "acceptable" By having one copy, with it all now placed back, altered, re-written in places and edited to the standard I now can do, gives me the story I had in my head and heart for so long.

Actually, editing each year hasn't driven me mad,. It has shown me how my writing has improved over time. Each edit and partial re-write improves the quality, while still retaining the innocence of that work.


Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result?

I do, though, get a different result. Over the past week I have found I want the full version. The version with the shorter prologue, the versions aa (that refers to which way round the first three chapters are structured) and the versions bb. This really charts the whole progress of the novel. The full version will be about 270,000 words. The others round about 240,000.

I also want to keep the version with the full narrator text, not the edited one I did for an agent. That one, I felt, lost a lot of the soul of the story.

Anyway, it is only year seven of the monster's life lol... If Oracle fails in its round of agent/publisher submissions, I will, towards the end of the year, send out the monster again, just for fun lol...