To Be Continued…

So, for a while there I seemed to have hit a plateau with my writing. The books I’ve been writing just didn’t seem able to pass by this, and edits weren’t getting me anywhere. I’m well aware of how a project can burn you out though so I started something new and, as this didn’t have to be the same style as the books I’ve been writing, I wrote it in a different style. That’s when I realised the plateau I’d become stuck on was one of my own making.

The big series of books I’m writing were in a very specific style. There was a main viewpoint character to each book and we’d visit that person’s sections in first person. Then there were a load of side characters who would weave in and out of the story, and I wrote those from third person perspectives. Whenever we switched character a new chapter would start, which handily kept the page counts of chapters down for those who were intimidated by the size of books. And that’s where the problems started. With the main character having first person sections, all of the third person ones seemed like the main character was talking about these people after the fact. I was able to combat that, but it seriously limited what I could write and how I could write it.

My new project I started in a much more classic book style. Every character was written in third person, with an all-knowing narrator managing to fill in lore here and there while more personal narration kept what the characters thought to be true clear to the readers. It was a revelation for me and, although it was a daunting task, I knew what I had to do.

For a couple of weeks I’ve been going through the two books I’ve already written (one in a state that I still think could be published, the other waiting on a major editing run) and rewriting them so that they’re entirely told from a third person perspective. I did a trial run on the first two chapters (actually chapters 1-5 of the original manuscript) and it convinced me I was on the right track.

I’ve now had more freedom to distribute perspective jumps between the different scenes, allowing each chapter to flow more clearly between different characters and their individual storylines. I’ve also noticed that there are plotlines that run nicely parallel to each other and been able to put those closer together for better effect in the book. With no need to fill an entire chapter with each character, I’ve been able to cut out a few lines of filler here and there, and better bring certain plotlines to the forefront. Rewriting both books, as well as the other project that I’m still running on the side to keep from burning out, will likely take the best part of the year but it’s allowed my writing to slip past that plateau so I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.

And it is the long run I’m thinking of. One day I do plan on publishing these books. I may not make the sort of money that writing about the use of whips and chains can bring in, but I still want them to be as good as they can be for those that eventually buy them. But, even beyond that, I enjoy writing and I want to be as good as I can be at it.

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3 thoughts on “To Be Continued…

  1. Well done.

    Writing a book, being it 60 pages or seven volumes, is a massive journey. I don’t remember if it was Borges or Umberto Eco who dsaid that playing God always takes it’s toll and demands the deconstruction of one’s ego on a daily badis becaiuse it is a tough, tiresome and lonely job.

    This being your first book, it might not be a bad idea to go classic in your approach. The all-knowing, all-seeing narrator is, in most ways, the most efficiant technique. And the easiest too. Most books (small or big) are written that way, so we’re used to it.

    Godspeed on the rest of your journey.

  2. Man, I am not sure I would have enough patience to do rewriting like you are, but then again, this is why I am not a writer 🙂 Few short stories are my best achievement so far, even though I am a passionate reader. Good luck!

  3. I’m about a third of the way through the book now, and I’ve cut so much of the chaff while also setting up for the later books a little more and weaving in some world building. For the most part it’s a much better read, although my main character has lost a little of her charm now that she hasn’t as much internal monologue. Without that there’s a chance some of her actions could come across as weak or damsel in distressy, but I’m hoping to avoid that.

    I did an audit of the book when I started this process and I’ve got thirty four named characters and three masses of unnamed characters. Most of those are minor, existing around my viewpoint characters, but just seeing that number convinced me I’d written a mess. But then I started this rewriting and some of it’s surprisingly elegant. There are sentences in some places where the sentence contains too many iterations of the same word for a single sentence, but I’m taking care of those. Sentence… Ahem. Apart from that, the perspective problems, and some other bits that are just reminding the reader of Fact X that will be pertinent soon, it’s a pretty good read.

    This rewrite is making it simpler and even easier to read, although the actual format of the book is less friendly to new readers now. It’s a slog to get it done and yet, I’m enjoying it. I’m getting better, and the story is getting closer to how I want it to be.

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