Tag Archives: The Phoenix Fire

Editing Progress Report

Hurray!!!

According to the amending version of the editing schedule, I’ve finished October’s target for editing! Which means I’ve done a full read through, patched up the holes and filled out the text. I’ve dealt with all the big continuity issues and a few of the small ones, made the whole thing flow a lot better and generally done the bulk of the editing I wanted to get done this year.

One of the things I’ve been doing the last couple of months is adding a bit more subplot and tension. The new version is still short – 65,000 words approximately – and given last night’s Booker Prize announcement, hardly seems to qualify as a novel at all, but I’m pleased with it. And for now at least, I think it’s where it needs to be.

December will be for a final read-through for some specific text-based issues, but hopefully no big picture ones. Then next year I’m going to send it out into the world – to Beta readers first, and then on a submission mission.

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Editing Progress Report – September

As I mentioned last month, things have gone slightly astray on the editing front. That is to say, August was meant to be a re-read, September a re-write based on it, October another read-through. Instead, August’s re-read highlighted an exciting and scary hole in the middle of the text and I’ve spent September filling the whole. Well, the second half; the first half of September I was away and did basically nothing writing-wise.

Somehow it’s now the end of September, and I’m patently not done. I’ve managed to write about 9,000 words of the missing chunk. I’m pleased with that, both in terms of the plot developments I’ve added, and the amount I’ve written, but it’s not done on either front.

So, October is going to be more of the same. Hopefully by the end of October, I’ll have a finished story, ready for some smaller-scale edits during the December read-through. Because November is bracketed for NaNoWriMo. I’m going to see whether it’s possible to complete a 50,000 first draft with a one-year-old in tow!

We’re 3/4 of the way through the year. How are your writing resolutions looking? It may not be going exactly according to plan, but I’m really happy with the progress I’m making on TPF. I hope you’re having similar degrees of success!

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Editing Update: The Phoenix Fire

I’m typing this early as I may not have internet access at the end of the month. So, as it stands, I haven’t finished the August run-through of my draft novel as planned back in January, but with luck I’ll be there or close enough by the time you read this!

Rereading has been an interesting exercise. Last month, I determined that the new slim-line novel was a bit short to bear that description. at 50,000 words, it’s really a novella. I also resolved to read more novels, and that’s still part of the plan, although it’s been put on hold by the arrival of two interesting baby books and James N Frey (see last Monday’s post). What I discovered on re-reading, though, is that the first two-thirds of TPF feels like a novel. The pacing, plot, character development etc all feel bigger than a novella. And then it charges into a final climax which could come from a novel or a novella, but probably the latter.

So, I don’t think this is a novella at all. I think it’s a novel. With a big chunk missing from just after the half-way mark. A big chunk which ratchets up two of the subplots which are built up in the first 2/3 and then disappear with something dangerously close to an outbreak of deus ex machine. And to rectify this, all I need to do is write and edit that chunk.

It’s a good thing. Right???

 

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Editing – Progress Report

Back in the dim and distant past (January), I put together a plan for editing my first ever NaNoWriMo novel: working title, The Phoenix Fire.

Part of the plan was to spend May – July on a full-scale rewrite, based on the problems I found in the earlier months. By then, I had 60 “scenes” planned out, and needed to add, move and remove text to make the story work. I’ve been posting updates and you may have read that at the end of last month I’d fallen slightly behind, but things picked up in July and there was a bit of slack built into the schedule, so I managed to write the last word of the final scene on Friday 19th. For that, I’m rather pleased with myself.

I also think it’s a good story now. It’s a very different beast from where it was in January, but mostly in a good way. The plot feels much more rounded and the text sharper.

The biggest disappointment, though, is the length. When I started editing, it was over 80,000 words long, and suitable (on that front) for publication as a novel. However, the editing process meant cutting out a lot of fluff, and my writing style is much leaner these days, so the new version hovers at just 50,000.

The bad news is, publishing trends in this genre (mainstream fiction / magical realism) seem to be going long at the moment, which knocks me firmly back into novella territory. The good news, perhaps, is that novellas are on the up. So, I’m planning not to pad the text I’m working with now.

August is all about another read-through with a highlighter pen and a notebook. I’m sort of looking forward to it – hopefully I’ll enjoy it this time around!

How are your Writing Resolutions for 2013 coming along? Have you backtracked or given up, revised your goals or smashed through them? 7 months in, there’s still time to get some decent writing done this year, and to pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve achieved so far

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Editing Progress Report

Visitors are wonderful, wonderful things. They provide company and support, practical help and even babysitting. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

But they aren’t great for editing, so having gone into this last couple of weeks a bit ahead, I’m now slightly behind: 41.5 chapters down, when I should be at 43. I’m hoping to make it up to 42 and I’m still pleased with the progress. I’ve got a month left of this full-scale rewrite to go and hopefully I’ll finish it on time…

 

Wish me luck!

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Editing Update – May

In the original plan for my editing project, it simply says “May – July: Rewrite”. So here we are at the end of May and it’s time to take stock on that intention. By the end of April, I had a clear scene list, made up of 61 individual scenes, and for each one I’d put together any sections of the original text I thought might help me to rewrite that scene.

With 61 scenes and three months, I am aiming to do a scene a day, Monday – Friday. That gives me 5 days’ slack, which should hopefully cover the combination of a steady stream of visitors, an unpredictable baby and the odd ALS ([Incredibly*] Long Scene) that takes more than a day to complete.

So far, so good. I write during Sebastian’s morning nap, which means I’m not worrying about it all day. I did the Bella scenes first, since they are stand-alone to some extent, and also quite short. And now I’m plodding my way through the rest of the story, letting the plan and the old writing guide me, but also letting the new writing flow as much as I can.

24 Scenes done to date.

* I know Incredibly doesn’t begin with A. It’s not the original word from which the acronym is taken. That word is NSFW.

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Editing Update – April

April’s editing had the kind of shape to it that many of my projects do. I started strong, did nothing in the middle, then had a little spurt to get finished before the final deadline.

This month’s goals weren’t too ambitious. I wanted to get things all set up so that I could start the actual rewrites in May. I juggled my notes, made some plans and considered some options but most importantly, I created the word document entitled NEWPlan. It’s one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever done in my writing ‘career’.

I started with the scene by scene plan for the new version. For each scene, I created a page on the word document, headed with the one or two sentence description of that scene.

Then, opening up the latest version of the old draft, I cut and pasted each section into the right place in the word document. It’s a bit like a jigsaw where you find all the red pieces and put them vaguely in the bottom right hand corner of the board because you know they go there somewhere, even though you don’t yet know how they fit together.

The consequence is strangely pleasing. Although all of it will need hard-core editing (it’s now in the right order scenes-wise, but completely the wrong order for all the little details), it’s nice to have 80k of rough draft in the new document and only a few scenes which are still blank.

Next on the list is three months of solid rewriting, starting with a little stand-alone subplot which forms a sort of skeleton on which the rest of the story hangs.

 

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