Ensign’s Log, Entry 4: Weekend (Re)Writing

Yesterday I worked on The Astrals. Between breaks for food, bathroom runs, and anime marathoning, I spent 7+ hours editing, rewriting, and re-rewriting. Oh, and I had a Eureka! moment that solved several plot problems at once. Never let it be said that chocolate can’t fuel my inspiration.

Thanks to my wonderful Scribophile critters, I have a lot of feedback to consider. It took me four hours to revise Chapter 5, and I spent several more hours on Chapter 6.

Chapter 5’s edits involved a lot of revising/editing and fact-checking, but other than rewriting a large part of the battle scene (I had POV issues which have now been resolved), most of the chapter is still as it was, just better.

After Chapter 5, I went back and rewrote a section of Chapter 1, solving one issue and opening the way for me to solve another issue that starts in Chapter 6.

When I started on Chapter 6, however, I began expanding the opening scene. Several of my critters had problems with how the events unfolded, and I agreed with them–expansion was necessary.

The expansion turned into almost 3000 words written in the space of a couple of hours; in other words, I’d almost written a new chapter and hadn’t even gotten halfway through the events of Chapter 6; and things had changed around so much that a lot still needs to be rewritten before I can join it to the rest of the narrative.

Although I have a lot of work left to do on Chapter 6, yesterday’s progress has me in high spirits. Not only is the rewrite much better than the original chapter, but it’s also letting me delve into POVs I haven’t explored much yet (my story is told from various POVs of the MCs.)

In celebration of my progress, I’d like to share a brief snip from the rewritten Chapter 6. It’s from the viewpoint of Sharque, a water astral with dangerously weak powers.

Sharque lay awake for a long time, staring at the shadows dancing across the cragged ceiling. She could see the faint flicker of her aura if she raised her hand; it almost looked like a trick of the firelight. Junebug’s words from earlier echoed in her ears. Your aura almost went out… Closing her eyes, Sharque rolled onto her side and did her best to push away the thoughts crowding her mind.

A stubborn one refused to leave, however.

I almost died today.

 

9 Comments

  1. Yda

    Awesome that you’re making progress, keep it up.

    I still have trouble incorporating big picture suggestions from critiques. I’m much better at handling sentence-level input.

    1. I love both kinds of input–sentence-level because it’s hard to see errors when I’ve read the thing over a million times already, and big-picture because it helps me see where things aren’t going the way they should. Of course, if the feedback is very vague, there isn’t much I can do with that. And if it really doesn’t ring true, I don’t follow that direction. Sometimes people have different visions of what the book should be, and in the end, as the writer, you have final say.

      In terms of incorporating big picture suggestions, how I handle them depends on where I am in the editing process and what sort of suggestions they are. “I want to know more about Junebug”, for example, tells me I need to show more of that character, which means going through the entire book and finding places where she can really shine through. It takes a lot more work than tweaking this line or that one, but the end result is totally worth it. I tend to focus on one major change at a time, though, unless several of them are tied together, so I can focus on making that change as good as it can be.

      1. I think I shy away from big picture suggestions because I’m still on a first draft, so if I alter things two much in regards to plot and characterization, then who knows what I’ll end up with.

        Changing an unclear sentence, though? That can be done without needing to worry about any plans I have for the final arc. We’ll see how it goes once I’m working on a second draft :).

        1. That’s a good point! And part of the reason why I always edit through my work at least once before I let other people near it–I don’t want big picture suggestions until I have a good idea of where my story is going and what I want it to say.

  2. Sounds painfully familiar. The rewrites can be painfully difficult. Why can’t our books just shine after the first draft?!?!?!?!

    No wonder Brandon Sanderson took seven books before he developed the patience to revise.

    1. If only first drafts did shine… Would save a lot of writers a lot of time and effort. Then again, if wishes were horses/fishes/etc…

      I’m very grateful that I have the patience to revise–I never would have survived writing and editing Augment in the space of six months otherwise! But it can still be painful at times. Especially when you’ve got to kill your darlings.

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