More about revisioning

This post is in regard to the other day’s post on revising/editing. One thing I’ve done for a while now, is to order single copy versions of my writing from the folks at Lulu, all throughout the writing process. It’s less than $10, and printing/shipping is quite speedy. Here’s a few reasons why I like to do this:

  •  I spend a lot of time at my computer, and any time I get the chance to just sit back in an armchair or in bed and hold a book is a welcome treat.
  •  I like writing in margins, jotting ideas, and generally not dealing with Word, commenting, scrolling, and other silliness. It’s a lot more relaxing to scratch at my words with a pen.
  • It’s nice to have a version that I can throw on the bookshelf when I’m done.
  •  Printed books can be shared with others easily. Having my wife or friend read it, or sending a draft to my parents is a nice perk. Don’t want to make anyone read 200+ pages on their computer, bleh.

quick tretise on revising

In general, editing my own writing is fairly tedious. It involves staring at the screen, scrolling through the text. Obviously, catching the spelling and grammatical typos is the easy part. Beyond that, my editing involves the actual manipulation of my words; changes to the story itself. At times, it’s simple tweaks to my character’s conversations, clarifications or re-wording something that I think might be confusing, moving sentences around; little stuff like this. On rare occasion though, it’s major. For example, the main character of every book had been ‘renamed’ at some point. Granted, this is an easy feat from a technical standpoint, just using the find/replace functionality in Word, but it brings a quote from Tolkien to mind, referring to trees and spoken by Yavanna: “But the kelvar (animals) can flee or defend themselves, whereas the olvar (plants) that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon their bough little mourned in their passing.”

Tolkien is talking about trees here, how they take many years to grow but can be cut in an instant, and rarely with remorse. I feel this way about my writing sometimes as well. I make such an emotional connection to a character, to an event or situation in one of my books, then poof! I decide to make a change. A reader would’ve never knew it any other way, that a sentence, a character, an event had existed. It’s the most apparent in a recent case where I decided that a character of mine should die. It was one of those ‘re-write’ situations I mentioned earlier. I woke up one morning, spacing out as I took a shower, when it just clicked: that this specific character should die. When all was said and done, I feel any reader couldn’t have expected it any other way, yet for two years and plenty of reads and revisions on my part… the story unfolded starkly different.

In that Tolkien quote, Yavanna’s solution to protecting her trees was the creation of Ents, the tree-like creatures that guarded the forests from the axes of other races. In my analogy, I have no such protection for my characters, for my story’s continuity and original ideas. When it comes to fiction, the author is ultimately godlike in their abilities; omnipotent and able to alter both the future and history itself with the swiftness of a penstroke. Perhaps that’s why a lot of authors write fiction; they relish in the total control, the world-building aspects of it. It’s no surprise how disheartening it is for most authors to then have their work picked apart by a publisher or third-party editor. I’ve not had to deal with this reality yet, but it’ll probably be coming…

mappity map

 

 

Editing and revisions are going very well on my East Realm book, had a very productive Sunday. Finally got around to updating the map this weekend too, to reflect a variety of plot changes and overall polishing up of locales to make things consistent. A slightly larger version is available if you click it. I also applied a textury patina, just for effect. The map in the book would be boring ole white.

thronal games

For anyone who doesn’t know me…let me just say that I’m not a big TV watcher. We don’t have cable, I don’t have a favorite show, and I’ve probably never seen a whole run/series/season besides perhaps the Simpsons.

However, after several recommendations…as well as access to Comcast’s online on-demand service, I decided to watch the HBO series, Game of Thrones. It certainly seemed like it would be right up my alley… a fantasy medieval-themed drama, based off a very good (from what I hear) series of books that run in a similar vein to my East Realm series that I’ve been writing.

While it’s quite dark and grim, it’s got wonderful depth and very very good characters. It’s refreshing to see heroes in shades of grey, rather than good and evil. Everyone seems to have some flaw or another, and it makes me want to go back and re-write Theo, Rey, Willow or Charlie. They’re just too right, too moral. I want to make my characters a bit more rough on the edges, less wholesome and protagonistic. I of course want to go back and read Martin’s Song of ice and Fire series too…though I hear they are a bit over-detailed and drear at times.It’s been far too long since I’ve been buried in a big thick book…besides my own.

 

cunning-linguist

I’m hoping to begin posting a lot more writing-related content here in the next few weeks, as well as update the writing pages on this site. I’ll try to include some snippets and teasers here and there, as well as updates and assorted fun stuff.

Here’s a brief overview of what I’m passively working on:

The East Realm Series (working title): 3 books (a trilogy, if you will) that take on a somewhat fantasy-like vein, though without anything too fantastical. There’s no elves or dwarves or magic, so maybe considering it ‘alternate history’ might be a better descriptor. The level of technological advancement sets it perhaps around the middle ages or even classical. The writing style is from a narrator standpoint and while the story occasionally zooms out to the larger meta level, it usually focuses closely follows a group of four protagonists on their adventure.Currently ERS is in the editing phase.

The Yellow Dress Ladies: An immature group of clueless, naive, and bored guys join up to form a wannabe street gang in a small rural desert town. It’s a humorous romp with a loose plotline, likeable characters, and many random ‘wtf’ moments. It’s currently around a hundred pages and I write a chapter here and there every few weeks or month if the mood hits me

All Around Bend: It’s my travel guide for Central Oregon. It’s been on shelves for 3 years now. Go check it out at http://allaroundbend.com, silly.

Appalachia (working title): A post-apocalyptic adventure, following Carl as he leaves the comfort of town and his dull routine. He leaves his entire life behind him as he explores the wastelands, wilderness, and the remnants of society. It’s not too dark, but has a deeper philosophical aspects, as well as theme, setting, and characters. It follows in a similar narration style as the East Realms, that of an author (myself) who has found a journal or pieced together stories from the protagonist’s adventure and compiled the materials into a narrative. It’s currently around 200 pages and I’m likely to turn it into a series, as I’ve got more ideas and the books gettin’ quite thick.

Well, I said that I’d like to start featuring some writing here on the blog; but I’ve already written a bunch already ^. Instead, here’s some eyecandy. This is a before and after of the map that will be in the beginning of the second and third books in my East Realm Series.Really happy with how well it turned out (first one is pencil/pen on paper).