Final Revisions…Still

Almost two months ago I wrote about being in the final revision stage for my first manuscript.  Well, I’m still there.

See, here’s what happened:  I finally got my last reader’s comments back.  She’s the one I was waiting for, the one who majored in creative writing and has a lot of editing experience.  Her feedback was worth the wait but it was a lot to go through.  I got overwhelmed so I set it aside.  That’s my policy–if it’s not fun or I start to get frustrated, confused, or depressed about it then it’s time to take a break.  Besides, I got a brain wave on some changes I wanted to make to manuscript #2, so why not just do that instead?  And that’s what I did.

I’m back to manuscript #1 today feeling less frustrated and ready to work.  Here’s the little conundrum I’m running into though:  Super proofreader wants more details about everything and more story information.  She said something about my book being a “shorter” book, which I find a little confusing.  I think my book is too long, especially if I’m looking to get it published.  Right now it’s at about 93,000 words.  I’m trying to condense it, tighten it up, get rid of repetition and unnecessary details that bog the story down.  It will probably still be “too long” when I’m done with that…but how am I even supposed to do that and add more?  Yeah, I don’t know either.  I’m making a list of things to consider and decide on as I go along, I have remember that just because a reader wants me to change something doesn’t mean I have to change it.  Plus I’m not making it into two books, this is a story I’m determined to fit into one novel.  Otherwise I have to add a bunch of useless fluff to make it long enough to support two novels, or I get two very short novels.  I’m not a fan of either of those ideas.

It’s also funny because in this story the main characters go on a quest/adventure, but unlike most other books of this type that I’ve read, that’s only half the book.  The other half tells you what happens when they get home, it’s a huge part of the overall story.  When I initially wrote it I worried that the second half would be boring to readers even though I really liked it, however almost all of my readers said they liked the second half better that the first half…except this last reader.  She said it did drag a little.  So which reader input should I weigh more?  Leave it because the majority of readers liked it or change it because my most experienced reader/editor recommended changing it?  I’m leaning towards leaving it for now…the whole point is they go on a quest and that leads to a bunch of other stuff happening once they get home.  The quest is only part of the story, not THE story.

I have learned something annoying about myself as I’ve been revising:  I like adverbs way too much!  I mean, I know I shouldn’t use adverbs often but they just keep sneaking in there.  Even when I reread it I’m thinking, “Dude, what’s with all the adverbs?!?”  LOL!  Oh well, I figure if I get them out of my system and just delete them later then I’m okay.  That’s why they call it a rough draft (in my case, very rough).

Anyone who thinks writing is easy has never tried it.  Just saying.

Anyway, I have a lot to go through but I still feel like I’m near the end (for now) point.  My goal is to have it polished, to the best of my ability, by the end of the year.  I’m ready to move on…manuscript #3 wants to be written and if I have too many projects going on at once I’m more likely to get stressed and stop working on them all.  Can’t have that…

Feel free to ignore this post, I’m mostly just talking to myself. 😉

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2 responses to “Final Revisions…Still

  1. I think you have a good policy of setting it aside when you get overwhelmed. I’ve learned the same thing. It’s hard work, yes, but it should still be fun.
    From the research I did of novel length for fantasy novels, which are generally longer than regular novels, the average is between 80,000 and 125,000 words. You also don’t count it the same way as the word program does. You basically follow their format (1″ margins, double spaced) and go by number of pages x 250, which comes out to 320 to 500 pages. Different publishers have different requirements, but that’s what I remember as the general idea.

    That said, you can add a lot of description in this editing round, then go back through to tighten everything up in the next. You might keep some of the added description, or find new ways of describing and explaining things that take up less words, and also cut out other things from the first writing. This has been my plan for my first novel. I know my first draft will be long, but it will also be somewhat bare bones as far as descriptions go (when I first write, I do a lot more dialogue than describing things).

    Another thing that I’ve read is that a lot of authors have a list of crutch words. These are words that they know they over-use (for me a big one is though), and other words that are common to use too often that don’t mean much (like very). They just use this list to go through and make sure that if the word is there, it’s really meant to be there, or find a better one (or just delete them all). Word’s Find feature is good for this, because you can just time in “though” and it finds all of them for you, then you can just keep doing Find Next through your whole document and take them out.

    As far as the quest being only half the story, I actually like that idea. Not having read it, I can’t say whether the back end drags or not, but it’s your story, do what makes you happy. Write something you’re proud of, there’s no way to please everyone. I personally like to read what happens after everything ends and the characters go home. Others might not be into that. Both cases are fine. Ultimately, it’s your book, if you think that having half of the story take place after the quest, than go for it. 😀

    • Since this story is a children’s/YA novel I based my word count “requirements” on those specifications. I’d also call this story a “light fantasy” as opposed to a “high fantasy”. It’s more about human relations set in a fantasy world instead of being about actual magic, creatures, and high stakes adventures. Thanks for the word count guidelines, that’s very helpful! 😀

      And you read my mind, after writing this post I decided to do this next bit of revisions in a series of tasks. First (what I’m doing right now), make needed changes for basic stuff and take notes on what details I might want to consider adding or changing. Second, work on those details. Third, polish…which will probably take many read throughs to accomplish. Once I made this plan I feel much less overwhelmed with the work ahead…yay!

      LOL! I’m sure my crutch word is “seemed” or “seems”. It irritates me every time I see it and I have to keep telling myself that things don’t “seem” that way, they just are. That along with the adverbs…ugh. XD At least I can giggle at myself about it.

      I also like to know what happens after a quest/adventure, which is why I wrote this story this way. You are right, not everyone will go for it. I’m going to leave it for now, mostly because changing it at this point is way too overwhelming to even think about. Plus it defeats the purpose. And because all of my other readers liked it I’m going to assume it’s okay that way. You are so right, I can’t please everyone and I’m not sure my story is really the kind this particular reader enjoys the most which is automatically going to make it more difficult for her to like it.

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