Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goals and Deadlines

A quick reflection or two, here on New Year's Eve:

I want to get my debut novel, The Single Eye, published as soon as possible. Yes, I need to finish my current edits. Yes, I ought to and shall let it rest for a month or two before I go over it one last time and then launch it out into the fearsome sea of readership. But I've decided that late March to mid-April is my farthest-out deadline for publication. 

Why? Because I'm an egomaniac. 

*Pauses while she hits herself upside the head and calls herself a silly goose*

Sorry. Correction: I need to get it published by then so I can take advantage of a sure-fire opportunity to do some face-to-face marketing. I've won a free ride to the annual Pennwriters' conference the third weekend in May, and I'd be an idiot not to have my book there ready to show my colleagues. Heck, maybe I could even get a little space at the Saturday afternoon authors' fair (though that may be open only to those who are trad published). Imagine it: Me handing out swag and selling (I hope!) my very own book!

So how much more pre-letting-it-rest editing will I do? First, I'll finishing evaluating my beta readers' comments and incorporating their perspectives as appropriate. Second, I'll finish redoing the places I myself know need redoing, whether anyone else has told me so or not. Third, I'll get rid of those passages where up to now I've told myself, "Yeah, that's a little cheesy and even kind of narrator-intrudery, but I'll leave it in because Ms. X the Famous Writer gets away with prose like that, and besides, I'm a first-time author and no one expects me to be that good." No. If I find myself looking around guiltily hoping nobody will notice What I Did There, the word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, whatever, needs to be excised and sent to the Outtakes File.

I'm setting the end of January to complete all that. Or the third week in, preferably.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Not as Bad as I Used to Be

Is it obnoxious to claim you're a better writer than you were two years ago?

The question arises because this morning I got to thinking, "Maybe I'm using the wrong scene(s) from my heroine's past as my prologue." So, despite my mortal need of sleep, I've just opened an earlier version of my novel and read over the incident I had in mind.

Oh, dear, no. That version was too early.

Hmm.  Let me try again with a rendition dated maybe nine months later, just before I cut that scene and the extensive flashback before and after it.

. . . Sorry, no. Though somewhat improved, it's nowhere close to usable. It would need so much labor to lick into shape; it wouldn't be worth it.

How can this be? I've always liked those chapters detailing my FMC's backstory! I'd even considered releasing them all as bonus material with the ebook. But now I'd just as soon parade around outside in my underwear. In the dead of winter. No, no, nodiddy-no-no-no!

I'm nothing to brag about as a writer, but at least I'm not as bad as I used to be.