How are we halfway through December? And how is Christmas almost here? HOW???
Time moving in hyperspeed aside, today I’m joining in on the third round of the Beautiful Books linkup, hosted by the ever fabulous Sky and Cait. This three-part linkup has been going on since October where they gave us fifteen questions about plotting our books. In November we discussed the writing aspect. And this month it’s all about that terrifying thing we call *whispers* editing. But that’s one of the millions of reasons why Sky and Cait are fabulous, they’re actually making the editing process enjoyable! See? Pure fabulousness.
Want to join in? Of course you do! You can answer these questions on any one of your projects, whether you’re planning on editing it soon or not. The questions are still helpful, not to mention fun! Here is Sky's post about it and Cait's right here. Either one will take you to the questions and the linky to join right up in all the excitement.
Now I know I’ve used the first two of this linkup to discuss my NaNo novel More White than Stars, but I’m gonna be honest with you. That thing isn’t going to get any sort of editing done for many, many years to come. That was the 5th book of a series, remember? Before even sort of thinking about rewrites I want to write all the books and there’s still two more to go. Then sometime after that I’ll start rewriting them in order, which means the first four get priority before More White than Stars gets any attention. So. . .yes. We’re talking many, many years down the road for the poor thing. But it’s written and I had a blast with it. I’ll come back to it someday, I will!
What does that mean for my writing now though? Remember Fallen Matter? The book I basically talked only about on my blog this year? Yep, it’s planning on dominating my life again. Come January I plan on jumping into a big ol’, major, overwhelming rewrite of it. What better way to prepare than join in on an editing linkup?
So let’s get to it! (Because I believe I’ve rambled enough. . .)
1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?
Well, that’s a question. . . This book was a dystopian-ish, scifi novel, two things I NEVER thought I’d write. I’m a medieval fantasy kind of girl. So writing it was quite the experience. I had no idea what I was doing. And yet, in the end, it become one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written. I really liked the cast, and was rather proud of how the plot turned out. I think it was a lot better executed than any of my previous works. Erm. . .6 1/2? 7? Because while I do love it, I totally pantsed it and churned it out pretty speedily, so the quality is rather low. Not to mention it became way, way too long.
2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?
I plunged into my first rewrite ever just last year with a book called Secrets of Camelot. I’ve been terrified of rewriting my whole life, but I finally took that step and. . .it wasn’t so bad. A lot of work, yes, but it was actually kind of fun seeing my mess of a story shape up into something mortal eyes can look upon without burning out of their sockets. Truthfully, it could use yet another rewrite, my writing has come a long way since then. But if nothing else, the experience finally proved to me that I can rewrite without falling into an early grave.
For that one I didn’t really do anything to prepare myself. I just told myself to take one sentence at a time, opened up the document, and began. This time though I want to be very serious about Fallen Matter and make it the best it can be. So the process is probably going to be. . .a lot. Reading through it, making notes, maybe even doing some outlining (scary thought for this pantser). It actually might be a while before I’m even ready to do the real rewriting. I don’t know, we shall see.
3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?
An. . .erm. . .embarrassing length.
Yeeep. And I want to cut it down to at least 100k. If I disappear some time next year, just know it’s because this rewrite killed me.
4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
*cackles* Definitely not pacing. XDDD I’m going to have to say plot. This one has a lot more twists and turns and surprises and connections and fewer clichés than all my other works. I was pleased with how it turned out, crazy long or not. Although there are also a few characters I can’t help but love.
5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
Oh goodness. I really have no idea. Basically any time Cyrus or Lykan was around I was happy. (I may have favored them a teeny bit. *cough*) I really liked this moment between my MC Breighly and Lykan—
"So I take it you spent some time in this underground place?" Lykan asked.
"Elan and I stumbled upon it after you...um...I..."
"Stabbed a needle through my arm rendering me useless?" he offered.
Biting my lip, I averted my gaze to the scuffed white street. "Yeah."
"Yep, that was all good fun."
"Well, you deserved it," I shot back defensively, more trying to convince myself than him.
"I think we've been down this road before. We both seemed to have betrayed and helped one another equally so far. While we're currently even, we'll call it good until the next time we do something treacherous. Seems to be the pattern."
His words held a curious truth. "We're not the most trustworthy of partners, are we?"
"Keeps things interesting."
I think that sums up the majority of the book pretty well. . .
6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?
As I said, the writing it pretty messy. Mostly the narrative. It definitely needs some cleaning up. And cutting. Good gracious, does it need cutting. Also, sadly, I wasn’t too wild about my main character Breighly. That’s not a good sign. I think she’ll need an overhaul in this next draft, I’m just trying to figure out how. Completely remaking a character is something kind of new to me, usually they just make themselves. Not sure how that’s going to work out.
7. What aspect of your book is your favorite?
The story is set in this city placed inside an impenetrable, inescapable cube basically. I sort of have this thing about people trapped inside certain areas (like in The Maze Runner, for an example, or the arenas in The Hunger Games). I don’t know why, I just find it a lot of fun. I think I had a bit too much fun making an entire city live inside this cube.
8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?
I actually think this story has some of the most human characters I’ve ever written. I was extremely pleased with all of them. But, as I said, Breighly wasn’t my favorite. She might be a bit. . .too human. I don’t know. Her personality just rubbed me the wrong way, but I’m not sure how to fix it because it makes sense why she is the way she is. But I want her to be likeable so. . .I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll figure out something.
9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
I had so much fun with this book. I can’t even think of anything I would have really done differently. Sure, it’s messy, but I like writing messy first drafts. That’s when I discover the story, not make it pretty. I don’t have any regrets about that. I guess pacing it better would have been nice. But I was discovering the story, I didn’t know how to pace it because I didn’t know what happened next. So I don’t know if I would have done anything differently. For the first draft stage, that is.
10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?
Erm. . .let me explain.
See, when I started this book I had NO clue what was happening. Two words popped in my head I’m falling and that’s all I had. Two words, literally. I just started writing because I couldn’t get those words out of my head. When I was three chapters in, I still didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know who Breighly was, or where she was, or why, or anything about the cube, or that it was even a dystopian novel. Not an inkling of an idea. I’m a pantser, yes, but this was like ultra pantsing. Walking into a foreign country blindfolded sort of pantsing. So, to answer the question, EVERYTHING surprised me. Every. Single. Thing. Plot, characters, events. All of it. It was one shocking revelation after the next.
Boy, was it fun.
11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?
I actually have quite a few things going on in this book. Two big ones are that life is a sacred thing and I covered a good bit on how deep God’s love for us is. But in almost all my books there’s a message of hope. I just can’t seem to write a story without hope burrowing into the root of it. But I’m glad it showed up in this book. Most dystopian books are so full of despair and hopelessness. I hate that that’s what this generation gets fed. I believe hope should always be clung to. As long as we have God, what does it matter how dire our circumstances are? This novel holds a lot heavier, darker stuff than my others, but it’s for that very reason I want the light of hope shining between the lines.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the message came across.
12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
That’s a hard question. I think I like a good mix of both. I love, love, LOVE NaNo because it gets me actually writing and finishing a story. When left to my own devices I don’t always get things done. But it’s also a lot more relaxing writing at my own pace. Usually I set goals for myself, because if I don’t have a goal I’ll never get anything done. I’m also OCD, so if I do have a goal I’ll almost always force myself to make it no matter what. All that to say, it’s nice to write as it comes, but I do better under a bit of pressure.
13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.)
*blows a puff of air* I don’t knoooow. I’ve been thinking and thinking and I can’t come up with anything. I pretty much never read sci-fi, and have only read a teeny bit of dystopian. I just haven’t dabbled in futuristic stuff much. There’s also some light superpower-ish things going on in this novel, which is another thing I haven’t explored much of, save for Marvel movies and it’s nothing like those. And the fact that they’re trapped inside a city is another aspect to consider. Good gracious, I have no idea. I’m going to be evil and flip the question over to you. Have you read/watched anything that sounds like this? I’d love to know!
14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!
DOMINATING THE WORLD.
Wait, no. That’s just in my head.
Usually I spend days on pinterest because I try to avoid it when I’m heavily working on a project. I’m a pinterest-addict. Once I’m on pinterest, it usually takes weeks to drag me off. So I kind of have to force myself away when I have lots of work to do. . . Also I just relish in the fact that I’m DONE. But I do not actually eat any relish because EW.
15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
A little hopeful, a little curious, and maybe even just a little sad. But, definitely, with a longing for more. Because, after all, this is only the first of a trilogy. *grins*
To be honest, I’m exceedingly looking forward to January where I can dive right into the workings of rewriting. This is one of my favorite stories, and I really want to make it something worth reading. I’ve missed theses characters, a lot. I cannot wait to spend time with them again!
How about you? Have you done any rewrites? How do you feel about the whole process? (There’s no shame. The very word used to make me shudder. ‘Tis true.) Do you have any projects you’re in the process of editing or will be soon?