Dear Blog Friends:
Well, I think I may have discovered why Smashwords is unhappy with my formatting. Apparently, they don’t like that my chapter headings don’t link back to the table of contents. That’s the closest I can come to figuring it out. I’m resubmitting a new version now with a table of contents that has been created from scratch. I hope that will solve the problem.
Meanwhile, I’ve pretty much finished DAYRUNNER. I think I have it formatted okay. I am kind of wanting to go over it one more time to make sure it’s nice and clean before putting it up, but I want to put it up before the end of July, so if I run out of time, I’ll put it up as is. As you can see, I’ve finished the cover. That’s a real wooden stake I carved. I’m going to try to do something gross/funny with the stake later. I will put up a video of it on my facebook page.
One of the things holding me back from putting up DAYRUNNERr is that I don’t yet have a sample chapter from FAERIE KILLER, the fourth in the series. But wait, you’re thinking, how can she not have a sample chapter if she already has finished the fourth book?
Here’s the thing: I already wrote the fourth book, but I hadn’t looked at it in over five years. I don’t know if it ever got an intense rewrite like the first three did. I thought it was pretty good, memory said it was pretty good, but when I went to clean it up, instead of finding a manuscript that needed just a spitpolish, I found a manuscript that had been destroyed by crap fairies. You know what crap fairies are? They get into your hard drive and turn your deathless prose into puerile crap.
Every time I go to rewrite a manuscript, it feels like I’ve never done it before. I have different ways of doing it. If it’s mostly good-to-go, I just read it through on my laptop and line edit as needed. If it’s nearly perfect, I print it out full-size and line edit on paper (catch more typos on paper than on the laptop). When I rewrote SEEING THINGS the first time (the first draft was 95% different from the published version) I basically kept a file with the few scenes I wanted to keep and rewrote everything else.
The problem is when it needs considerable work. I had this situation when I rewrote ALTERNATE SUSAN. I’d written it in 2005, I believe, and in 2006 I wanted to rewrite it to get it ready to submit to agents. The problem was, I’d learned about the world and characters as I was writing it, and when I got to the end, the beginning needed to be reworked. So I printed it out four pages to a sheet, cut it into little tiny chapter sections, and carried one in my back pocket to the coffee shop. I read it out, rewrote scenes on the back, and (wouldn’t you know it) got rid of basically the entire first chapter.
With FAERIE KILLER, I have lots and lots of scenes that I want to keep, but I think they all have to be rewritten anyway. I’m not sure if it’s just my insecurity or not, but I feel that the writing quality of this novel isn’t where I’d like it to be. I’m a better writer than I was when I wrote this (2003), and I don’t think I edited it enough in 2006 to make much of a difference. A lot of the scenes are really fun, and really cool, and action packed, and funny…but when I look at them closely, they no longer make logical sense to me. Would Kit REALLY do that? Would Jasper REALLY be there on a Saturday night? And what does he mean by that? That’s kind of a dumb thing for him/her to do. Etc.
When I first started this epublishing adventure, my goal was to publish the novels I’d already written. I have them, might as well use them. I knew I’d have to work on them a little bit, but I didn’t think I’ d have to rewrite any from scratch. The more I think of it, the more I think that FAERIE KILLER is going to have to be extensively rewritten. I think that 65% of the scenes are going to stay intact, and 35% of the scenes are going to be new ones (and I’m not sure what’s going to happen, exactly. I have to think about the scope of the story and the focus of the plot lines) The scenes that are going to stay, many of them are going to have to be rewritten. Instead of cleaning up an old manuscript, it’s going to be closer to “write an entirely new novel that sort of matches what happened in the first draft.” It’s going to be a bigger project than I had anticipated.
I’m picturing a huge outline on paper, like a map in a war room, with the old plot sketched out in marker, and the new plot brainstormed and sketched out on another huge piece of paper. I’m picturing long talks with some of my beta readers, where I propose plots and they shoot down the flaws. I’m picturing having it ready by Christmas at the earliest (though I can’t say for sure) and I’m picturing having to do even more work when it comes time to get book five, CHANGING PLACES, ready.
I wanted it easy. I wanted to just upload my trunk stories. But more than easy, I want good. You guys deserve a well-written novel. I’m going to do my best to give it to you.