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Night Shade Message Boards » Gilman, Laura Anne » On Writing -- the process and progress of a novel « Previous Next »

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Laura Anne
Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 09:50 am:   

I've always been a firm believer in revising and polishing. Finish, revise, polish. It's a simple but effective work-structure.

That's not what I'm doing with STAYING DEAD right now, though. I _thought_ it would be, but it's not. I'm revisiting it. Like a tourist who has been to a city once or twice before, I'm seeing locations that are familiar and remembering why I loved them, but I'm also discovering new side streets and stores I missed the first time around. Taking a few more chances on unreviewed restaurants. Expanding my knowledge of local customs and styles. Meeting a few people I didn't speak to last time, and figuring out who has a history with who, and why.

And making plans for my next visit, of all the things that intrigue but aren't on the agenda this time around. "Oh, I can use that. And put this here for later, in case they need it. And remember him, he's going to be trouble..."

It's an interesting trip. And so vastly different than anything I've done with the short fiction, or even the tie-in novels, that it feels like a completely different beast.

Having fun. When I'm not tearing my hair out and disturbing the cat with my whimpering, that is. Or was that part of the fun? I get confused sometimes.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 07:07 am:   

Nice entry! Like taking a tour of your own novel, without having to worry about pickpockets and bad hotel food...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 04:31 pm:   

I've managed to replace or rewrite a lot of the material that was lost in the great Stupid Helpdesk Trick of 8/20. Still annoyed about that. But, in the process, I also managed to find a great whopping internal logic error caused by adding in a subplot that tangled threads one time too many with the main plot.

It's just a question of working backwards and untangling them -- the material's still good, I just have to reword it so everything's clear. But it's a slower process than the forward writing, and not what I'm in the mood for.

I almost (almost!) wish for a short story idea to bite me in the ass, so I could do the zoom-zoom-zoom of starting, rather than the careful-around-tripwires tread of finishing...

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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:38 pm:   

Rollin rollin, rollin' towards the ending...

Into the final chapter, and I've figured out who does what why and to whom. Now to tie off a few threads and give comeuppance to them as what's got it coming. Despite working from outline, it always surprises me how things turn out in the end. I'm never aware how wildly I'm veering from the plan until we end up in a completely different state, and all the maps are useless.

Won't finish before I get on a plane at oh god early tomorrow for WorldCon, but close enough to count.

Now, of course, I'll have to look at it with an Editorial Eye. I shrink back in fear of myself.

And I've decided on chapter five for my WorldCon reading tomorrow night, should anyone be thinking about wandering by. That and "Harvey & Fifth," sinply cause I love that story so.

Babble babble. The first draft babble. I need to go pack now...

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Laura Anne
Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:22 am:   

Editing myself is... interesting. I'm trying very hard to balance the editorial gimlit eye ("clarify this. Expand that. What the hell were you thinking?") with the authorial defensiveness, all without permanently splitting my personality into two or more.

So it's going slower than I'd hoped -- about 2/3 the pace I normally read for revisions. Damned annoying, since I only blocked out so much time to get it done. *grumble*

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Laura Anne
Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 12:26 pm:   

And I'm perfecting the odd art of watching a Giants game while also working.

Peter is watching upstairs in the bedroom. I'm watching downstairs in the family room, manuscript on the lapdesk, sound muted. Whenever I hear noise (happy, angry or screaming encouragement) coming from upstairs I unmute and watch the action.

So far, so effective. Three quarters, 20-6 Giants, and 50 pages down.

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 07:55 am:   

Laura Anne -- I hear you about things going slower than expected. I always way under-budget my time when revising -- I end up going WAY over. Like yesterday when I told my wife I'd be done in "fifteen minutes." Got done in about an hour with those damn revisions.

And hey, I thought "Harvey and Fifth" was quite creepy and painfully effective. Nice one. I'll not look at trick-or-treaters the same way again. How'd the reading go?
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 08:02 am:   

Mike,

Many thanks. And I'm not quite sure how that one was received... when I finished everyone sort of sat there watching me. I decided to take it as an awed silence rather than an embarassed-for-the-author one. *wry grin*

They did seem to like STAYING DEAD, though. Snickers and winces in all the right places.

And 23-13, Giants. Go Blue!

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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 11:37 am:   

And it's off to the agent for her comments. I now have a week or two to sit and fret, er, work on other projects. Yeah, that's it. other projects. Like sleeping.

Actually, I feel my brain turning to a story that got good feedback but no money from a recent submission. Maybe time to fiddle with that a bit...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

Manuscript is ready (more or less, as they wrest it from my clutching grasp) to send to the folk who've agreed to read-for-blurb. Nervous? Moi?


And in other semi-related novel news, I finished off the revisions to a YA fantasy trilogy proposal I was asked to put together. They loved the original version so much they wanted me to do something totally different with it. I feel like I've fallen into the Hollywood Connection. Sadly, without the Hollywood pay. Sucks, that.

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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 06:09 am:   

It is only small steps away....
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Laura Anne
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 04:32 pm:   

And lo, the manuscript has been handed off (over lunch of rare steak and strong coffee... had we opened a bottle of wine or at least had martinis it would have been just like Old Time Publishing, but we both of us have colds, so...)

And one last revisions on the YA proposal, after which it will be reworked by the packager and sent out on submission. Fascinatin' stuff, this working for a packager. All the pay and none of the emotional trauma. I'm not sure that's healthy. Can that be healthy?

But at least it's keeping me from fretting over the revisions letter for STAYING DEAD, which is scheduled to arrive after World Fantasy but before Thanksgiving...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 08:52 am:   

Matrice let me know she's reading the book this week. I shall now proceed to gift my own authors with _their_ revision letters, so as to keep the great cosmic wheel turning and in good order...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 06:56 am:   

More different book-stuff. Looks like the packager I've been working with on this YA trilogy proposal is on-board with my ideas. So now I have to do up a sample chapter this weekend (eeep!) to round out the submission packet, and then we'll see what we'll see. Whenever we see it.

I suspect I should feel like a 'ho, but I do like this project a lot, and it promises to be fun. So less ho and more kept writer, I suppose... *grin*




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Liz
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 09:06 am:   

I tend to think of it more as geisha. After all, much craft is involved.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 01:39 pm:   

Just got word yesterday that the YA trilogy is a go, being published by Harper U.S. Projected deadlines are... closer than they appear in the rear view mirror.

I now need to go have a slight panic attack.

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