Monday, 19 September 2016

Eleven Weeks

Burglary Dog from VOTOMS: the series that inspired Bad Dog.

Eleven weeks is how long it has taken me to get the end of edits my Beta reader flagged in the fourth draft of Strike Dog.  Now all I have to do is write a bunch of new scenes and fill in a lot of extra world building background details to replace the chapters removed in the edit.  I'm obviously relieved to have gotten through what became quite a slog, not only for me but also I imagine for my Beta reader who went above and beyond the call of duty.

However, I now have a much more realistic view of how long it takes to write stuff when one is working as well, and without the day job things would be a bit tight.  So it's relief not to have money worries, even if that comes at the cost of not being as productive as I would like.

As they say, life, no one gets out alive, and there are no promises.

Soon I will start on what I'm calling the fifth draft of Strike Dog, but before I do, I plan on doing some polishing on Bad Dog.  I spent a weekend away seeing friends, who both read an earlier edition of my novel, and discussing the rejection feedback, in between hanging out with my godson and his sister.  The consensus being that the feedback was sufficiently vague it was impossible to make substantive changes to the novel.

We discussed taking out some or all the third-person point of view sections, which are in the novel so that the reader always knows what's going on, even when my protagonist does not.  I had been considering removing some and restructuring the novel to have a prologue and epilogue that would have most of the third-person parts of the story to top and tail the main story, but this was shot down on the grounds that reader would lose the perspective of the villains.

I also thought about just having a first-person story, but then I'd be left with a novel that was only 57,314 words long, which means it just isn't long enough to sell: and that really would mean a re-write that would break Heinlein's third rule of writing.

So now I'm pondering the ineffable qualities of writing: the gestalt that is a novel, the synergy of plot, character and style from which a story emerges.  All of which is just a fancy way of saying novels are made of words put into the right order to tell the tale you have in mind, which is harder to do than it looks.

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