Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lodestar Series Edit

Sue Woolfe, on page 1 of her The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady, described the process of writing a novel perfectly for me.

"...she stumbles around not for months but for years building something, let's call it an igloo, from the inside only, and out of the oddest of blocks - ice here, but over there bits of wood, bits of metal, glass, ribbons, thoughts, air - without knowing if it will hold and, worse, being unable, for a long time, to go outside the igloo to look at what's been made."

I took my igloo, The Lodestar Series, or rather the two novella-sized instalments that I thought were complete, Part I Ahni SkinGifter and Part II Srese Kerr to Laurel Cohn, local editor, to find out what my igloo looked like from the outside.

It turns out that there is still a lot of work to be done to make the Lodestar world accessible to readers. While I was happy with the report, it took me a couple of days to overcome my dejection at obviously having to do these same two parts that I have been working on, on and off, for about than 13! years, again! Their seventh and sixth drafts.

At the end of the dejection phase, and after a good lot of brainstorming, I decided not to first rewrite these two instalments - I am pretty well sick of them - but to begin to treat the series as a whole. Use the things I learned pertaining to Parts One and Two to produce better writing first in Parts Three and Four, then maybe go back.

Even getting the package ready for the edit was a fantastic exercise as I was forced to work out the nitty-gritties of the full series, in contrast to my usual method of plotting on the go. Seat-of-pantsing I believe they call that. I think now that writing and publishing parts of a series one by one must be one of the most difficult things to do. Because you can never go back and change a detail if it turns out the detail on Part One, doesn't work by the time you get to Part Five. Probably I should take up a more exact and extensive mode of plotting.

Of course I could not stop inventing and began my rewrite with a completely new character, sitting up in the gods as it were, to begin to explain the Lodestar part of the title earlier. If he lasts, he'll be rolled into the last part, he is of that people.

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