I Thought Draft 3 Was Done

I thought draft #3 was done, until I gave my book to my first beta-reader, my boyfriend.

Verdict: he loves my plot. He gushed about it for hours, actually, including his own alternate universe. It took him about 2 days to read. But there are two major things that need to be addressed:

1.) The “burden.”  I can’t discuss this too much without giving the story away, but highlighting the “burden” effectively will require additional chapters and making a tertiary character take on a more important role. This will, in essence, bring my book up to a word count deemed acceptable by traditional publishers, should I change my mind and decide to go that route – no doubt lengthening this process.  This will also make my book more expensive for readers, which is not what I was hoping for, but… It’ll still be cheaper than from a traditional publisher, and a higher quality story will make the purchase more worth it.

2.) Characterization.  All of the characters are a little… Wimpy.  I tried to make them too real, too confused, and by leaving none of the characters with any conviction, I actually made the opposite occur.  I didn’t create compelling characters my boyfriend could care about or relate to. They all just kind of let things happen to them. They were too reactive. No one in this world is just reacting to everything.

I wish I didn’t agree with his evaluation. Publishing this story tomorrow, or even my goal of Christmastime, would make me so happy. Unfortunately, I have a boatload of work ahead of me. While I won’t let myself join George R.R. Martin’s Lengthy Writing Club, this is still going to take more time than I’d like.  I’m not actually ready to announce a publication date, despite how badly I want this book out. It needs significant additions and revisions.

Most of my editing took place on the computer, by the way. Now that I’m editing on paper, I’m noticing all sorts of spots I can add to.  To anyone editing a story,  I strongly suggest using both methods.  Editing on the computer catches technical/grammar/spelling issues, while editing on paper somehow seems to release Creativity Hormones that enliven the story.  In this same vein, I’ve seen suggested that editing the book in multiple fonts is a good idea because your brain processes the unfamiliar in a fresh way.

Despite my urge to just get this thing onto shelves, I’m going to take the time to make it happen right.  I finished reading The Passage by Justin Cronin and… Wow.  Those characters are so real, you could reach out and touch them.  The end of the story feels like it came too fast, but other than that, it was a beautifully told story from start to finish.  My boyfriend bought me the sequel for my birthday and I’m really excited to read it.  I would venture to say that it’s actually made my own writing better, as well.  Cronin’s imagery is perfectly done and I can only hope to achieve that level of skill.  Too many writers make imagery feel forced.

Fast-forward to what I’m reading now: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.

“Are you fifteen?” my boyfriend asked when he caught me reading it.

“No.  It was on sale on Amazon for $5 and I’ve been curious about it since it came out. It’s a mindless buffer after finishing a long book. I can’t wait to finish it.  It sucks.”

Sorry, Stephenie.  I loved the Twilight series in high school, but Short Second Life isn’t even on the same reading level.  I wanted to love it, but these characters have the same problem that mine do right now: they’re all reactionary. I’m 100 pages in with 78 to go and nothing has really happened, excluding arms being torn off and a couple kids hiding in a cave and spying together.  With 78 pages to go, I’ll be open to a miracle, but I’m not counting on it. We’ve got an 18 year old kissing a 15 year old and that turned me off right away. Maybe I’m just getting old, but this book has been getting dusty on a shelf in my local Annie’s Book Stop for several months and now it’s no mystery why.  There will be a second book to keep it company there soon.

Does anyone reading have anything specific they do to edit more effectively?


Almost There

Hello, I’m back.  I haven’t abandoned this blog.  My time in the White Mountains was amazing, a total dream.  My boyfriend and I walked through gorges, walked trails, rode a gondola up and down a mountain, rode horses, ate lunch on a train as it passed by some scenic views (and trailer parks… NH is weird) and attended a really odd, but awesome, chili festival.  We ate Belgian chocolates and sushi and ate breakfast at a sugar shack hosted by a grumpy old man, and so much more. It’s the longest vacation I’ve ever been on and I really needed the travel time.  As a plus, my boyfriend was offered a good job on our second day there – so now our dream of living together and not 20 miles apart with our parents is a real possibility.  If anyone has moving suggestions, I’ll take them now.

Why don’t I move out on my own, right now, you say?  Please see my previous blog post.  I’ve been told since by other people in my company (if anyone was wondering, that Friday I only worked about 11 and a half hours) that if I’m not getting a good raise or bonus, I should think about splitting. Women supposedly aren’t taken seriously and have issues getting paid what men are.  Forget about upward mobility.  I’m currently training the new person to do my job (which is also his job, with a different title – did I mention he’s making around 20K more than me?).  I feel bad, because I’ve made some people furious with this revelation.  I also love this job. It’s hands on.  I have a reasonable commute most days. I’m making okay money; it isn’t enough to really move out on my own and I’m comparing it to what I’ve made in the past in retail and at a retirement home, so I know I’m trying to convince myself of something.  I didn’t mean to go on this tangent. It’s been at the forefront of my mind lately. Everyone in my life wants me to leave this job, mostly because of the fact that a co-worker asked me and my boyfriend to swing with him and his girlfriend and other sexual harassment; I’m creative, but I can’t make this shit up.

My genetic testing results from 23andMe came back. I put my results into Promethease and made a health discovery I’m visiting a doctor about next month.  I also may have found a distant cousin.  We probably share a great-great grandmother.  How rad is that?

In between life and worries and adventures, I’ve edited about 6,000 words and added another thousand or so.  I have 5,000 left.  I could bang them out today if I wanted to, possibly finish up on Monday.  This is starting to feel very real.  I’ve made two possible covers and my PhotoShop Wizard is going to help me test out more.  This all feels very real now.

A handful of things I want to do to market this book:

T-Shirts –  I’ll probably give them to family and friends at first, then sell to the general public if they actually like and wear them. Requires some designing.

Business cards – A well-known marketing trick is to leave your business cards everywhere. Mailing something out? Insert a business card. Renting a book from the library? Insert a business card. Checking out some books in a store? Oops, I dropped my business card inside of every book in my genre, how did that happen?

Pencils/Pens – Someone is going to give me shit for this because what am I really going to put on them?  Will anyone actually look, and if so, will they then take the extra step to look up my book?  This idea requires more research.  I honestly just love the idea of having custom writing utensils.

Website – This could be painful.  I’ve gone the GoDaddy design route before as an experiment and it was cringe-worthy. I know nothing about web design, so things could get interesting.

Contact bloggers to review the book – I will be contacting book reviewers to give me  honest write-ups about the book.  Some of the more positive reviews might have a sentence or two that make it onto my book cover, which is also great exposure for the blog itself. The plan is to email people PDFs as the book is processing on Amazon, but if anyone has better suggestions, shoot away.

In short, there’s still a lot of work to be done.  It goes far beyond just writing and editing.  I turned 25 on the 6th and I’m very excited to be sure I’ll publish in the next few months.