Oh, yes, another metaphor. This time, to writing and woodworking. Usually I go blacksmithing, of course but today I’m feeling like woodworking is best. It’s the whole grain/stain thing. You pick out a good piece of wood (ideas, first draft, etc). Then you shape it and sand it; and at first glance, that piece is beautiful. The curves and lines are there, the form is right. But the details are off.

I remember as a kid I was riveted whenever I saw this one infomercial about some random varnish or stain that you put on wood. It would make the most hideous, scratched, stained, boring piece of lumber into a magnificent work of art. And although no woodworker would ever admit to the process being as simple as that, I still hold that a finished book is like a finished piece of wood. When you apply stain, the natural details in the wood just pop. It’s why when you select a piece of wood you dampen it, to see what the deeper colors and grain will look like with the application of stain and varnish.

Of course, I’m just finishing off with the stain. That’s the second draft, and the Big Edit. Which, honestly, for all intents and purposes was a complete rewrite. Sure, the characters are theĀ  same, and some of the premise is the same. But I went after my selected piece of wood with a hatchet when I should have chosen a chisel. Or something.

I am hovering around the 135K mark at the moment, about 15K from the end of this book. And as always I feel a little like a kid poised at the top of an icy hill in a snow tube. It’s going danged fast. When I emerge at the other side, which may be in a few days if the speed is any indication, I’ll dance around and celebrate and likely buy a bottle of expensive wine and some Brie. I’ll record it so you can share in my revelrie. (The last draft’s celebration–nearly a year to the date–was a tattoo.)

Thanks for bearing with me as I finish this. I’m excited, and thrilled, and can’t wait to hear the response when the last podcast goes live. I’ve got some surprises that even I was taken by; it’s so mind-boggling when the gears all move into place as if moved by some pre-destined hand.

Back to Home Depot, then, to pick out the last bits of inlay and contemplate the right varnish.

The FuriesEditing a novel can be, pardon the language, a major bitch.

I think I could edit this book for a millennium and still never be happy with it. It’s like a plague–you start, you edit a few things, and then you realize: “Oh crap! I should go back and fix that, too!”

It’s cyclical. The more I edit and rewrite, the more I change, the less I’m happy with my own work. The more I doubt myself. The more I question, the more depressed I feel about the whole process.

Two weeks ago, I visited family up North and I had a lot of time to contemplate writing. Most of this was done in bed since I had a terrible time falling asleep. The idea occurred to me that I should do some major restructuring. As it is, this multi-POV is kicking my ass. I thought about putting the first book into a Book I and Book II, sort of in the way Tolkien did to manage his characters as they flitted around Arda. The first half could deal with the story from the POV of the Territories characters (Brick, Emry, and Cora, respectively) and the second half would be the Queensland contingent (Kaythra, Denna, Sylvan, and Ellin).

The idea of restructuring this again makes me feel slightly faint. But I think it’s the only way to a) keep the reader’s attention and b) keep my brain from overloading going back and forth from chapter.

I’m also thinking that my editing method might do better if I abandoned the way I wrote the first draft. Instead of writing by POV, I wrote by chapter without regard. But in order to keep continuity smoother, it’s may work better if I edit by character instead, that way I can make sure the overall plot and arc of each character’s journey is at its best.

So, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of more work. And it doesn’t help that I’ve been thinking about another book I started writing about five years ago, to boot. And all these short story ideas.

Ah, for a modicum of focus!

Anyway, it’s high time for a new podcast. I seem to focus better after podcasting… go figure!