Tag Archives: revision

First thoughts

First thoughts

So I’ve got 400+ pages of novel sitting before me on my desk. Some would probably call it wasteful resources to print out an entire first draft like this, especially as for the first time ever I intend to do much of my reading and revision with the aid of my KIndle. I have to print it though, I need to see it, there, in front of me on my desk. 400+ pages of story.

971777_10151761107385630_554948715_nSo I’ve also done a quick’n’dirty conversion to eBook format. I say, quick’n’dirty – I could have been quicker but even when its for my own benefit I still have my own exacting standards to deliver. It has style, and chapter breaks, and a full table of contents. I even had to give it a rudimentary cover (of sorts). And I’ve started to read it too…

There are errors. I’ve got quite a bit of present-tense slipping in. That’s to be expected though, for some of these early chapters were written at the same time as The End Of All Worlds was still a wip. I’ve also identified a number or Louis/Lewis inconsistencies that I’ve had to sort out. It’s therefore not even yet ready for my first of Beta readers to have a go at (and laught at, and tear it shreds), but encouragingly story-wise it still hangs together. It’s still all good. I’m still loving the story of Mr Tumnal.


What I want to be doing, now, is making changes from my printed and well-thumbed script into my electronic version of my novel, so that I can send it off to friends and readers. But I am sleepy. I put my hands to my keyboard and I start to drop off. The same happened last night.

I need sleep.

The fineness of silver; age-worn or intricately wrought

Some days are more successful than others. Today was a successful one. Sitting with my sandwiches in one hand, pen in the other, novel before me on the canteen table, I worked as usual through the pages of part five of my novel.

Time was, that there was a box of bone, carved by the huldufolk, in my novel. I’ve since changed that to a silver cup, and it works better as such, but I have wondered upon the magic that I bestow upon it later in part five; it’s always been a different kind of magic to anything that I’ve had my characters encounter before. Today I realised that actually, with a few subtle tweaks and it could be the same magic as in the pools that Eleanor jumps through to go between the worlds.

What’s in a name?

Okay, it’s done. For years now I have been perfectly well aware that I have been breaking the cardinal rule of writing in having two characters of (broadly similar) the same name: Hannah Ball and Hanna Katla Baldursdóttir. There have been very good reasons for this, and I have been determined (should that be bloody-minded) to continue for as long as I can with these names.

Over Easter I decided that, finally, things must change. Today, I made the final cut for Hannah Ball, my character who wandered into my novel with Alice Cartwright from my previous novel/filmscript The Mill. From now on, her name will be Kirsten Ball.

Chopping and Changing

The ‘first pass’ reading revising of Part Four is primarily for establishing where to subdivide it into (approximately) six chapters, and for refreshing my own mind over what actually happens in the chapter. It’s also useful for getting to grips with the overlying style and possible broader problems with the section.

This part is entitled Midnight Research, and refreshingly it lives up to that with most of the action taking place in the middle of the night, during which time, a lot of study and learning takes place amongst my characters. This is a good thing.

The other thing I notice, particularly in what will become the early chapters of Midnight Research, is the return, big-time, of my chopping and changing style. The problem I will face here is reworking this is that whilst in the early parts of the books where I would cut fast between two different places in the same time, here I am cutting between the different times and places, and building up the meaning by their juxtapositions with each other. Altogether a different matter, this will definitely be interesting.


What’s in a name?

I’m going to try and get the revisions to part three of Blood & Fire finished by the end of this weekend, and thus reach the half-way point. The thing is, I think I’m going to have to change the title. Annoyingly Blood & Fire seems to be a popular name for a book, along with lots of other websites.

So here’s the thing. Originally, the idea for calling the novel Blood & Fire, is that the blood would reflect the family saga of the story, and the fire would be volcanoes beneath Iceland.

Keeping with this idea of having a title that conjures up family, legend, magic, and climate change, what do you suggest? Please comment here with your brainstorming.

Pretty please…?

Writing and Editing

I’ve been putting my handwritten changes to chapter 13 into the Word file. Because I was working offline with an old fashioned pen-type of arrangement I haven’t seen the comments and corrections that Helen has already made to an earlier draft until I got round bringing the versions together. Now I discover that many of the areas which I have revised are also areas (and sometimes the exact change) that Helen has already suggested.

I find this discovery very pleasing. I must be learning something about the revising process. 🙂

Scrapping the crap

That’s it. I’ve finished revising chapter 13. It’s weird, but as I’ve been doing the revising, I have been crossing out the bits that I thought, god this is really crap, but-I-need-to-write-it-to-get-the-story-on as I was writing it, and sure enough, I get to the good bits again. Of course there have been a few ‘good bits’ and some ‘very good bits’ that have had to end up on the cutting room floor because they just don’t fit any more.

The Curse of the Bread’n’Butter Pudding

When I came to make my lunch this morning I found that I had no bananas. There was a rather scrummy looking bread’n’butter pudding on offer in the canteen today. In some kind of rather flawed and backward logic I substituted the former for the latter, and yes it was rather scrummy.

Whether or not what happened next is cause and effect or just rather nice coincidence, I then proceeded in working well into my Blood & Fire revisions, finishing the completely new passage at the beginning of part three and getting stuck into the line editing of what’s already there. Good times… 🙂

I or He…?

My lunchtimes (at work) recently have consisted of being evenly split between reading The Timetraveller’s Wife and revising my own nove. The former is written in first person, present tense; and the latter in third person, present tense…

I’ve been thinking about Blood & Fire. I’m wondering whether it would be a better story to be told in first person, present tense with multiple POVs? And if I did make this change, how much work would it be to convert 100,000 words into the first person – bearing in mind that I’ve already edited around 33,000 of those words?

That moment between dreaming and waking

1. It’s funny, that moment in the morning, just before you wake. I was dreaming a story, and I was dreaming the actual process of writing it down choosing the words, as it was being ‘acted’ out in front of me in my mind. And then, *snap* and I’m awake and even before I can grab my Moleskine from the bedside table but the story is drifting off. Damn I wnat that story back…

2. Procrastination big time today. I’m not entirely sure how it happened. I certainly didn’t intend to do it when I got up this morning, but I redecorated three walls of my bathroom. I have been meaning to for a while, and it does look so much better, and cleaner and brighter, but why today? Why on earth, today? Will have to go out and buy another tin of paint now to finish it off… 😉

3. I’m thinking of getting some new foam for the cushions on the sofa. They’ve not been done for a while and they are probably a bit thin now. Edit: Actually, it may well be 20 years since they were last done!

4. Finished editing down part two, chapter one of my novel. Hopefully it still reads tighter and sharper. Hopefully also, I will have learnt something from the recent crits I’ve had for earlier chapters.

The second draft

This has been a very productive weekend, this one. I’ve done some CC critting (although doubtless my fellow CC’ers would say that I haven’t done enough :-\ ) and I have revised through the corrections given to me on chapters 3-6 and got them into good shape. Pretty damn good shape actually – and I’m enthusiastic that this might be coming together well.

And in case I forget, tomorrow, these pages celebrate their fourth birthday! Happy Birthday Me! 🙂

Of over-active minds and sleepless nights

A case of burning the candle at both ends last night. Revising chapter 1 and 2 into the night, I went to bed a little after midnight, which was not too late. The thing is my mind was still going round and round, and busy chasing stories and ideas around in my head. By ten past one, I was sat up in bed again and reading, in the hope that I would fall asleep (with my glasses on, the light on and the book somewhere on the floor!). But it was not to be. At two o’clock I was pushing the alarm back to six-thirty to give myself an extra half hour of sleep. By the time ‘morning’ came I don’t *think* I slept at all. I certainly don’t remember sleeping, or dreaming. I guess I must have done, but it was not good…

To Flashback or Not To Flashback

As you know I switch quite regularly between different POVs and plotlines, and I make use flashbacks in my novel Blood & Fire. I’ve just started looking at Part Two in my process of revising it, and I have a question for…

Part One covers Eleanor getting lost in the mountains from Ben and Hanna’s perspective with occasional glimpses into how Eleanor is getting on.

Then in Part Two, I roll the clock back and go back over the same period in time but from Eleanor’s perspective.

Nothing wrong with that you might say. However, currently Part Two currently starts where Part One left off and is a little prologue to Eleanor’s story. I then go back to the beginning and tell Eleanor’s story as if in the current time (ie. not a flashback). I’m thinking that this is going to get very confusing for the reader.

So what would you suggest? I’m thinking maybe it’s best to chop the ‘prologue’ from the beginning of Part Two and work it in to narrative when I get there. But my only problem there is that I have Eleanor’s story dovetailing in and out with ‘the present’. Ggrrr, I’m not really explaining this very well, which probably doesn’t bode well for it…

Views and opinions gratefully received!

On a cold and frosty night, consider the differences in critiquing style

I’ve been getting some good critiques from CritiqueCircle. They are perhaps not coming in as numerously as they do to some people – and I still can’t fathom exactly what it is that leads some stories to get dramatically different numbers. The loyal few that I do get though are positive, they show areas to think about, and more importantly at this stage, point me more editorially speaking to the nit-picky bits that need to be tightened up on.

One thing I’ve discovered though, is that CritiqueCircle does seem to be a US-centric site, and as such, I am becoming aware of things that I have previously been unaware of that do not travel across nations. References to this and that, or ways of saying things that are commonplace in our world, lead to confusion over there. The ‘tameness’ in some respects too of American culture seems to be reinforced too (please correct me if I’m wrong here, my US friends…).

For one, the characters in my novel are early twenties/student age, and as such there is a certain amount of going into bars and ordering drinks. One recent comment, was a query as to the legal drinking age in Iceland (it’s actually 20) – and was phrased in such a way as to ask if it was okay for drinking in YA novels. And this of course brings up another difference in perception. ‘YA Fiction’ does seem to be predominantly a US term which has taken over here, and it seems to cover books from anything from early-mid teens up to 23 but predominantly, under 18s. From what I can make out, in America, it is very much teenage books, whilst over here it does seem to be a bit vague. So drinking even amongst students who are legall alllowed to drink in a ‘YA’ book read by early-teens does seem that in some eyes, this could be a problem. In actual fact I don’t think it will be, because there is no drinking to get drunk, and they are allowed. It’s still interesting none-the-less…