Monday, February 25, 2008

Step Away From The Book!

I have noted that I've been a very political animal recently and since my blog does mention the word Writing in its description, I figured I'd best add a few electrons in that area.

This is the "Step Away From The Book!" week. Most folks recommend that once you have a workable first draft you get away from it for 4-6 weeks. That way when you return to the work the brilliant stuff is easily seen as well as the sections that really suck. There are always more of the latter than the former. I don't have 4-6 weeks. In fact, the book is technically due March 1, but my editor can't get to the actual chainsawing of my prose until the third week of April. This is very good.

Despite the fact that I wrote the first draft of MADMAN'S DANCE in Nov. 2006 just so I could tell where the story arc was headed, that was only about 75K words. My novels are usually 115-125K words long. So we were missing some bits. Lots of bits actually. After I finished VIRTUAL EVIL, lots of stuff changed that impacted the third book's draft. So I've been playing Victorian housewife with the manuscript. Victorians did not like to waste stuff so women would remove collars, cuffs and other edgings from their gowns and sew on different ones to fit the occasion. Voila! A new gown. So I'm ripping out the old stuff and sewing in new stuff. Not much fun, especially since I hadn't quite figured out the mechanism for the Everything Goes to Hell Moment in the book. Now I have a better idea. Hubby has been quite helpful with that.

So this week I'm stepping away from the work, telling the VIMH (voices in my head) to shut up and trying to work on a paranormal mystery/urban fantasy/romance that I wrote a few years back. It's had more reincarnations than Elizabeth Taylor. It needs to get cleaned up, darkened up and sent off to an agent. That won't happen this week, of course, but it will keep my mind off the other book.

Then there's the business finances. Last year we changed computer programs and some items just didn't cross over and changed banks. I've been lax about keeping up with the numbers. Then NetBank went under and we had to move our personal accounts as well. So this week is the tidy up the numbers so hubby can do the taxes thing. Whee.... As a friend put it this morning when e-mailing about her taxes, "Just shoot me now."

A week of tidying, getting things in order and living in contemporary L.A. instead of 1888 London. Next week I'll leap back in time to finish off the final book in Jacynda Lassiter's story arc. Even in rough draft stage, this thing has legs. That's reassuring, especially this late in the game.


steve said...


I've never heard of the 4-6 week rule, but it makes sense. I've bought Virtual Evil, but I probably won't get to it for a while, because I'm living in 1968. My time travel novel uses the premise that the soul or spirit is able to travel in time, while the body is limited by time and space. Anyway, I'm at the point where the soul of 50-some year-old Timothy Reddish gets to meld with his 18-year-old soul and is back in Chicago, in the last week of August, 1968. So I'm heavily into the Walker Report and other works on the '68 convention.

Best of luck with your multigenre work, and of course with Jacynda's third adventure. If you can mix genres, maybe there's hope for my novel yet.

Jana Oliver said...

If I remember correctly, Stephen King likes to stash his draft in a drawer for four weeks before beginning an edit. The forced separation from the work does make a difference in terms of objectivity and the ability to spot stuff that purely doesn't work.

Taking the soul/spirit on a time travel journey is nice twist. Saves on the wear and tear to the human body, at least the physical self.

Multi-genre is becoming more popular. Unfortunately, bookstores have issues as to where to file the books since they're rooted in the "mystery vs. science fiction vs. romance vs. horror" means of classification. They're not happy about filing in multi-locations, either. Pity.