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Difficult Decisions

One of the neat and useful perks of attending a convention is how I get to have coworkers for a few days. Writers (or perhaps, people who work from home by themselves in general) don't have coworkers like normal folks; we get editors, agents, and so forth. Editors, agents, and so forth are great ... but they aren't often around to talk shop over fantastic martinis called "Smoky Patron" or "High Rise," so I mean, really. They're amazing folks, but our interactions with them tend to be limited and somewhat scheduled.

So when I do a convention, I'm always tickled to have coworkers around. Even when having coworkers around makes for extra work. A lot of extra work. Like, an ASSLOAD of extra work for me, personally.

Okay, it goes like this: in the wake some shop-talk at DragonCon, it became blindingly apparent to me that Princess X has no business whatsoever being a first-person narrative. Its story needs to be told in third-person, to allow room for tension and characters to build and grow, and this was a godawful realization to stumble upon whilst halfway through the damn manuscript.

[Note: I'm not crapping on first-person narratives. I've written some myself. I'm just saying that this particular project was suffering mightily from the constraint.]

But there it is. The whole thing basically has to go out the window, and be rebuilt. Oh, the story is the same, yes - and telling it will be vastly richer and easier from this vantage point, however, this does not change the fact that making this decision means I'm going from "right on schedule" to "oh shit totally behind schedule."

That said, today I tossed out, reworked, and rewrote the first chapter - and the results have wildly validated my decision. It works SO MUCH BETTER. You guys, I can't even. I feel like a dumbass for not doing this in the first place, that's the long and short of it. But there it is.

I've already spoken with my editor, and she's given me the thumbs up - so now I just have to buckle down and deathmarch my way forward, restructuring and rewriting like the wind, my friends. And naturally, it means that my "daily word metrics" are going to be totally b0rked. So henceforth, I'm going to stall them until I reach the point in the story where I recently left off. Then I'll catch everything up. The math will be screwy, but it'll be okay.

Right. Yes. Well. Headlong into the fray I dive. Next time I come up for air, I'll report my progress.

[Edited to add: Because people are asking for specifics, this is 35,595 words that I'm (essentially) trashing in order to start over. It's not as bad as it could be, but it sure as hell could be better.]


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
As a long-time stalker-of-writers might I suggest you hold onto the original first chapter so that, if you are at some point willing, you can show the difference and deconstruct it in terms of technique? While this would be too much for a panel, perhaps this would be a cool workshop/seminar at a future con?
(I am thinking in part of the way Jim Butcher includes his first story in his Side Jobs anthology, if you are familiar with it.)

Given your background and attention to craft, I hope you'll consider it, even though the workshops at DragonCon, for instance, are being overwhelmed now.
Sep. 5th, 2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
Yay 3rd person!

Good luck on your death march judging from the last metric post you were halfway to the finish line...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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