Tag Archives: How Kim Rewrites

Next issue . . .

I was back to work on Monday, breaking another part of the rewrite open.  This time, there was an issue of logic concerning Rachel’s underdog response, one which I totally agreed with, but hadn’t seen the way around until I got to the end and looked backward.  So . . . I totally rewrote a chapter yesterday, and will have to rewrite another two this morning to carry on the new logic, but basically what I did was make a reveal a few chapters earlier to get rid of a questionable situation and more questionable response.  It had the unexpected benefit of allowing Rachel to figure something out instead of Al telling her, which incidentally made it a lot more satisfying, and it also strengthened Trent’s character, too.  Minimal disruption for maximum benefit.

I’ll be on the road tomorrow headed out to Portland and Seattle for the weekend.  Hope to see some of you there.  More info at the tour page.

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The best laid plans

So yesterday I’m working on the rewrite for the next Hollows book.  This one is hands down my favorite since FOC.  Has been for about a year.  If you were here last week, you’ll know I had planned a major shift to make the first 100 pages faster by moving some magic, taking out a bit of  “unnecessary magic” (That’s a good title, but the way.  It just sort of rolls off the tongue.) and address a Trent issue that my editor had brought up.

I thought about what I wanted to do over the weekend, studied it, looked at the ramifications, and decided going ahead with my thoughts would work really well.  It would be an intense fix, but worth it.  ha-a-a-a-a-  ha, ha-a-a-a.

Yesterday I’m blithely working on the last bit of the change, and I suddenly realize that the magic I moved had to be where it was for the cool stuff in chapter five to make sense.   Much gnashing of teeth and whining ensued.  I liked what I changed, and it took four days!

For three minutes I stewed, and then, upon deciding the changes I’d done made the book that much stronger and I didn’t want to go back, I looked at what I could tweak to adjust for it.  As it would happen, everything was already there.  I just needed to point it out.  AND it would further some of the ideas of Trent that I had been working on.  It also gives me something more to stand on at the end of the book, and the end need some major work.

A big PHEW from the woman behind the desk.  I don’t like it when I miss something this obvious, but it is going to work beautifully.  Obviously Trent isn’t as good at this magic stuff as he thinks he is. Obviously.  Patently obviously.  No wonder he got hurt!  Now I just have to shove that conversation into the next chapter, and we can all get on with our lives.  (laugh)

I’ll be packing today to get ready to go out to VA and the Festival of the Book this weekend.  My panel followed by signing is at 6:00 pm, and there’s a B&N signing the next morning.  More at the website!

–Kim

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Happy St. Patricks Day/Radio Interview link

I’ll be wearing my green today, and Guy is going to make green pancakes for dinner.  Yum.  It’s the small things that make traditions that mark the years, and we have some weird ones.

Yesterday, the work FINALLY started to come together, and I’ve just about fixed the continually issues that moving the bit of magic from chapter one to chapter six engendered.  My conclusion?  I like what I’ve done.  The beginning is a bit faster, I tried throwing something right out on the table instead of taking several chapters to get to it, which I thought might be anti climatic but actually increases the tension.  The entire beginning makes more sense.  Rachel is being smarter AND more stubborn, and Trent actually looses his temper.  All in all, a good bit of changes that address my editors concerns one way or another.  Now it’s just wash, rinse, and repeat for the next 400 pages, and we’re good.  (ha!)  My ending needs a lot of work, but the next few hundred pages will simply be tweaking.

I’ve got a link to a radio interview I did last week.  I can’t get it to work on my machine, but Guy can, so here it is.  You might have to scroll down a bit, but just look for the bright blue cover.  Mario Acevedo has one, too for his WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN.  😉  Enjoy!

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How Kim Rewrites

Back in November, I started a series of posts on how I organize my thoughts in preparation for writing a rough draft, all the way from my first handwritten page of wants to a peek at my “character grid.”  We-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l, I’m starting the editorial rewrite of the next Hollows book, and I thought you might like a glimpse at what I do to take that first rough story and turn it into something they will actually pay me for.  (grin)  Keep in mind that this is what works for me, and there is no wrong way to write, except not to . . .

Before I went on tour, my editor got back to me with a 4 page edit letter.  4 pages!!  Nice.  I’m usually at six, and I swear my editor uses smaller type to fit more on the page.  Not bad.  There were three paragraphs on Pierce and some questions I need to answer to make his character stronger and work better, two on Trent regarding logic behind his actions, two on the villain (name to remain undisclosed), one on the beginning, two on the end, and a third on the comfy cozy coda that is one of my writing styles.  Two pages on smaller notes pinned to certain pages where I have to answer or clarify something.  All in all, not a hard edit.  The world is set, so we’re just mucking about with personal logic now.

I also got my original manuscript back.  It’s been lightly copyedited for typos and such that Diana caught on her first read through.  This is part of the process that is starting to shift in the industry.  More and more, authors are being asked to edit on the screen using the tracking function.  I can do it, but not seeing that paper in front of me and ME making the changes, not just approving them, seems to divorce me from some of the satisfaction I get from making my work better.  My editor likes working with paper, too, so maybe if we keep producing top-notch manuscripts that bring in lots of money, they will leave us alone and let us do it the old-fashioned way.  One can hope, but I’m feeling like some of my favorite authors who continued to use a typewriter even when a computer was so much easier and versatile.

Anyway . . . I got my letter before the tour, read it through, and promptly forgot about it, letting the back part of my mind mull it all over for a week or so while I was busy with you guys.  Yesterday, I pulled the letter out again and picked it apart with a mind of how I can change things.  I’ll usually make notes in the margins of the edit letter, or go back to the manuscript and use that big space at the front of each chapter to jot a few things down like, tighten up for speed.  Shift character to next chapter so description doesn’t slow action down.  Skip first three pages and get right to action?  Move character’s intro forward.  Can this character’s function be given to someone else so character can be cut to address Diana’s concern about too many characters?  Stuff like that.  Still not actually changing anything on the manuscript.  I don’t do this for the entire manuscript at once.  It usually breaks down to 50 to 100 pages at a time —  a day or two’s work.

With the thoughts of how I might tighten and address my editor’s concerns, I then open up the computer with the manuscript in front of me and start going through it page by page, reading it as I fix the small typos that are marked.  It refreshes my memory, and reminds me why I can’t take said character out and lets me find new places to wedge a bit of needed info in.  I might fix a few things as I go, but the larger stuff I simply make notes for at the beginning of the chapter until I’m sure that me changing it won’t adversely affect something farther down the line.

For example.  I have a fairly slow start to this one.  I’m not happy with it, and my editor affirmed my thoughts that it was too slow with the simple statement: “Chs. 1-3  Tighten these up a bit”  Sigh.  That’s all she said, but it’s going to be a three-day work session to fix it.  But I’ve got an idea.  As it stands, it runs something like this.  Cp. one.  Trent is at the church, some magic happens. (magic, magic, not romantic magic.  ha!)  End of chapter one.  Chapter two is a fight.  Chapter three is a coming together of forces.  chapter five, six, and seven, cool stuff happens, and in chapter eight, more magic, which in hindsight, I don’t really need.  I had intended this magic to be pulled upon later in the book, but it didn’t happen, which gives me a golden opportunity.  To quicken the first two chapters and get to the action faster, I can dump the magic in chapter eight and replace it with the magic in chapter one.  Or can I?

If I do that, I have to monkey with some of the emotional logic from chapters three to eight until said magic is preformed and Trent’s a happy camper.  Shifting emotions can be tricky, but . . . the emotional distrust that I have to work in will work double duty, adding more texture and more mental gymnastics, which I love.  So yesterday, I puttered through the first 100 pages or so changing little things as I went through to text to make sure I can pull this off without having to change too much emotional or structural stuff of what’s already in place.  My conclusion?  I think so, but chapter eight is going to be a mess.  The changes I make will address more than my editor’s suggestion of tightening chapters 1-3, but also the two paragraphs on Trent, so I’m going to give it a try.  I feel better about it already.

Making it work.  Making it better.  Tightening it up.  Getting rid of what I don’t need, and making what’s left serve two purposes.  Going into making changes full-bore without careful thought will often leave you writing an entirely new story, and that’s not what rewrites are for.  Rewriting is a skill, just like the first original splurge of creativity, so take your time and develop it.  It will pay off at the end.

PS  Don’t forget I’ll be over at B&N chat lists today taking your spoiler questions.  Noon today to Noon Friday.  😉

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Taxes

Got the first pencils back to the artist yesterday with my comments, and had time to get my share of the taxes done, too.  I like doing my taxes.  Mind you, we have an accountant, so all I have to do it total up my receipts and let him have at it, but I like looking back at the year to see what I’ve done and how my spending habits change.

So now my desk is clear of graphic novel sketches and graphic sticker shock (I spent how much on boots?) and I am beginning the rewrite for book nine.  I’ve been doing a lot of lose, long-term planning for the series lately, and I have to start paying attention to building a careful network of concepts again to be sure that everything I want at the end, (be it physical, emotional, or locational) is easily available when I need it.  You won’t see it in book nine or ten as much, but by the time we get to 11, the vistas will again be expansive and I will be drawing from three to six different places for content to get to where I want to go.  I have to be sure to introduce the beginnings now so when I reach for them, it won’t seem “convenient.”

Think of it like a chef making a meal.  She puts all the ingredients out on the counter and then draws from them as she needs them.  I’m still putting things out as I adjust my long-term plans, but we’re at the tweaking stage, now.  What makes it fun for me is that I’m never sure what ingredients I’m going to use until my hand hovers over them, and my subconscious whispers, “yes,” so it might be a cluttered counter space for a while as things circle down to the end.  Mmmmm, I love this part.

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