Self-Loathing to Avoid Self-Editing?

photo COMPENDIUM manuscript (sorry, didn’t have a dinosaur for perspective, but yes, that is a blue canary in an outlet by a light switch in the background)


To the right is the first draft manuscript of COMPENDIUM in physical form. It does not look nearly as intimidating as Brandon Sanderson’s manuscript for Words of Radiance (best title for a book ever by the way), pictured directly below it. Mine only clocks in at 425 pages in this first draft, where as Mr. Sanderson’s final manuscript for Words of Radiance was over 2,000 manuscript pages. Every time I feel intimidated by the re-write process, I have to tell myself that if Brandon Sanderson can rewrite a 2,000 page manuscript multiple times to prepare it for publication, I should be able to suck it up and make it through 425 without any complaining.

wor_dinosaur (Photo from of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance Manuscript)

In an effort to get  myself psyched up to begin this re-write, I have been reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. So far, it has had good advice. I will eventually get my manuscript to a professional for a formal edit, but for now, I am just trying to implement the suggestions in Self-Editing to make my novel the best it can be before I seek outside help. I am only a few chapters in, and I can already see where I can improve COMPENDIUM, so hopefully I can get sufficiently excited to get going with this re-write. I am debating putting it aside to get fresh eyes, but since I started writing it six months ago, the beginning is already pretty fresh. I will give myself some time to read through Self-Editing and maybe also The First Five Pages and The Plot Thickens before I buckle down.

I have been really remiss in posting about books that I have been reading lately, as well. In the end of 2013, I finished Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and I recently finished Dragonfly in Amber, which is the second book in the Outlander Series. I started Voyager this week, because now I’m hooked, and I have to know what happens with Claire and Jamie. I feel like Diana Gabaldon is able to get away with breaking so many rules, and yet it works for her! And it did not keep her from getting published either. For one, she starts her book out slowly with a lot of narrative summary. She generally uses a lot of narrative summary throughout, actually. She also, starting in the second book, switches between first and third person POV as she jumps from character to character. And yet it works for her. I struggled myself with making COMPENDIUM first person or third person POV, since I wanted to maybe open the door to other POVs in the future books, but I am comforted by the success of her multiple perspectives. At some point, I have to do a more thorough analysis of her work, but right now, I am just thinking about how refreshing it is to see an author succeed while bucking certain trends that publishers and agents are so keen on presently.

Also, as a final note, you may have noticed that the featured images on this blog have pretty much switched over to Waterlogue images. I have been having too much fun with Waterlogue, so there you go. I may switch back, or not. Right now, it’s what I feel like doing, but I’m not going to go back and change out all the existing images (at least, not right now).

Photo Credit: Taken in my living room March 20, 2014 and run through Waterlogue.

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