I am notorious for never ever rewriting.
I could be known as Cait-Who-Has-Too-Many-Shiny-Ideas-And-Therefore-Struggles-To-Rewrite-Older-Stories. But, you know, that would be a mouthful.
Obviously I have done heavy rewriting and editing before. I did take my flying monkeys and ruby shoes and burn through the query process to get an agent. But of the 14+ novels I’ve finished I’ve only heavily rewritten 4.
But I feel this burning need to write down these fresh stories bopping about my skull before I lose them. And, okay fine, here’s the truth: I’m a perfectionist and I always (secretly) hope my Next Book will be THE BOOK OF MILLION DOLLAR AWESOME.
I want to rewrite my NaNoWriMo book.
I hesitantly plan to tackle it in January (although January is my birthday month and I tend to give myself the whole time off writing…birthdays are nothing on birthmonths, I tell you).
My book for NaNoWriMo 2014 is titled The Dead Boy And The Paper Cut which is exhausting and a very bad life naming decision on my part. (I posted about this baby novel of mine here.) I’m going to answer the final (!!) round of Beautiful Books questions…all about editing!
Find the questions here and link up with us!
1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?
IT WAS DEFINITELY A 10!!!
Okay, realistically, I’d say The Dead Boy And The Paper Cut probably hits an 8. Usually I hate and loathe my books when I finished. But I had a blast with this one! My fingers felt furiously excited about it the whole time. There were no middle-book-blues. And (with a few variations from the version in my brain) it turned out like I wanted it to.
I could cry, I am so happy.
Of course it’s a complete mess, but we’ll get to that.
2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?
I have! I rewrote (to the point of bleeding from my eyeballs) my fantasy book which is now agented.* I also rewrote Boybots (an apocalyptic robot hot mess) and Six (sci-fi catastrophe) and a second fantasy book.
How do I prepare myself? I cry a bit. I say “whyyyy me” a few times. I despair of ever writing eloquently and compare myself to famous published authors and feel hopeless.
Then. I suck it up and start rewriting. I rewrite from scratch. Every. single. sentence. goes. It’s like writing a whole new book.**
*I STILL FLAIL ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I CANNOT BELIEVE IT’S REAL LIFE.
** Sometimes I think of my first-drafts as just really detailed outlines because the second drafts are always so freakishly different.
3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?
I finished up with 65,000-words. I want to trim! Honestly, YA books are best short and concise. Never say 10 words when you can say 5.
I queried my fantasy book at 80,000-words…after edits? It’s now 63K. And I am oh so happy with that.
4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
Characters! Don’t get me wrong: they need work. They need tidying and strengthening and I need to figure out their nationalities because I may or may not have changed that halfway through the book. (My bad.)
But I’ve struggled to write humour for ages. (You know that moment when you try to be funny and you suck? Me = writing books.) This time it was mildly acceptable.
5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel?
I have instagramed and tweeted and facebooked a lot of lines and I’m sure you peoples are sick of them by now. I don’t have anything new, but here’s the beginning, which I love a lot:
6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?
Probably the parts where everyone sits around and drinks coffee and eats cinnamon muffins and makes useless conversation. I think I was hungry when I wrote it.
7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?
I have this seriously open ending. It’s the kind that would drive me BONKERS if I was a reader. I’m pleased.
I also quite like my beginning.
8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?
Thomas and Moxie are my alternating narrators (in 3rd person). They aren’t too bad although Moxie’s voice is a bit insipid at the beginning. Thomas didn’t turn out quite as grouchy as I wanted him too. He was supposed to wreak havoc…but he cleaned the house.
My secondary characters need work for sure. Particularly Moxie’s best-friend, Khalida Gola. She was supposed to be in the finale, but ended up strangely absent.
9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
I WOULDN’T CHANGE IT.
Okay, I probably wrote too fast.* (65K in 7 days isn’t wise.) I got very extremely extraordinarily tired and my fingers hurt and I felt like butter spread very thin for the next few days. Not pleasant.**
** My life in a phrase.
* I was on such a roll though and I didn’t want to break that stride!
10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?
Good changes: A teeny tiny minor character popped in at the ending and rocked the world when he wasn’t supposed to. Thomas also unexpectedly tried to kill Moxie’s uncle which was a much-needed action scene.
Bad changes: Moxie’s uncle had a nervous breakdown and wasn’t Uncle Awesome because…nervous breakdown. Seriously, someone glare at the ghost for me.
11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?
The theme was: listen to me. Because it was about a deaf girl who wanted to hear and a dead boy who wanted to speak. Oh these little adorable unfortunate souls that I tormented.
I think most people feel unheard, which makes it a relatable theme. I may have pushed too much about it towards the end though. EDIT IT OUT!
12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
HA HA. YOU’RE ADORABLE.*
My life is a deadline. I always write on insane deadlines (they’re all in my head….aaand that just made me sound crazy). This is my first NaNoWriMo, but I knew I could write a book in a month. I average a draft in 10 days.** But the fact of this question is: yes I like deadlines and I never just write-when-I-feel-like-it. If I did…I’d never write anything.
* Wait…I did half come up with these questions. But whatever. Technicalities.
** Seriously this sounds….stuck up. It does. I know it does. But I have the TIME to write like this and I type fast and I write messily. So please don’t think I’m bragging. I WOULDN’T DO THAT. I promise.
13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book?
* Hence the Dean gifs. But honestly? I don’t need a reason to inundate you with Dean gifs.
14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!
15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
It should be a process of feelings, really. Starting with fear.
Then a few tears because I MAKE BAD STUFF HAPPEN AND PEOPLE GET HURT.
And lastly, for the very last sentence…they should be feeling this. BECAUSE I RUIN THE ENTIRE BOOK WITH THE LAST SENTENCE.
What? A girl can dream, right? As long as my book evokes emotion (whatever kind) then my work here is done.
Breaking hearts, hunting tears, the family business, you know?
January should be back to the regular Beautiful People (or else we might have a super-awesome-special)…stay tuned!
ooookay! i am shamefully late posting this, but let’s talk about rewrites, okay?! do you prefer first-drafts or rewrites? (aaand…i’m considering posting a few chapters of TDBATPC on the blog. would you be interested in leaving a bit of constructive criticism for me?! let me know!)
Cait could be a superhero, you know. She could be the Super Lazy Writer and wear a cape and boots and cool mask! (Masks are terribly comfortable, you know.) Apart from thinking up this little fantasy, she’s also fantasising about rewriting TDBATPC asap so she can scoot it off to betas and get advice and edits.