The Edits

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently editing what I have so far, and locking it away in a separate file marked “Your Eyes Only” — which will mean anyone’s eyes but mine. It is time to get some feedback. I’m realizing that I’m a little rudderless right now, and the reason I’m rudderless is because I’m not sure I’m going in the right direction, and that I won’t know if I’m going in the right direction until I get a 10,000-foot view of the thing, but I can’t do that myself because I’m stuck on this boat, right here in the action (i.e. “too close to the work” to use the technical term) so I need someone else’s — or several other people’s — perspective.

So yes, I am going to send it out. Problem is, the last section of the book isn’t even written in first draft yet. That’s because I’m not quite sure how to resolve the conflict. I’ve already written the last 10 paragraphs or so — I know what to say after the resolution — but my plot ideas seem to be mostly falling apart.

In any case, it might be fine if people read the (essentially polished) first half of the book — I think getting some input will help the process of nailing the ending down.

More updates to come shortly.

~Graham

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12 Responses to The Edits

  1. Speaking as someone with little literary experience and even less long-form experience, all I can suggest is the following: “It was all a dream.”

    It’s a unconscionable cheat and your readers would be right to lynch you, but then again, it worked for a TV show that regularly pulled down the kind of cash no firsttime novel will.
    TC/Writer Underground’s most recent blog post: The Week In Tweets

    • Graham Strong says:

      Not sure if the dream thing would work in this case. But I could arrange to have someone shot, and not reveal the shooter until the next book…

      Actually, that gives me an idea…

      ~Graham

  2. What, no review of the latest Gatsby?

    Hockey season’s over, there can’t possibly be an excuse.
    TC/Writer Underground’s most recent blog post: The Week In Tweets

    • Graham Strong says:

      Lol — hockey season is most definitely not over yet! Bruins are playing tonight as a matter of fact, trying to clinch the quarter-final against the Leafs.

      I don’t have a good feeling about the Gatsby movie, especially now that some of the reviews are out (I don’t actually read reviews, but I do read headlines to get a sense of the reaction…)

      I’ve noticed too that many people have taken the opportunity to bash the book as well — big, supposedly learned people who like books but can’t understand the big deal. I mean, come on. I understand how lots and lots of people who don’t happen to have majored in English literature may not like the book. But if you know anything about literature, you have to at least appreciate the book for what it is. For example, I personally don’t like Hemingway — can’t stand his style — but I’m very much aware of why so many people love him.

      Anyway, I’m hoping that the movie might have some redeeming qualities. I think I’ve mentioned here before, it looks like it is more of an interpretive movie, giving us a sense of what the Jazz Age was like by using today’s touchstones rather than touchstones from the 20s, which would make it look old and tired. That’s one of the things about the book that can’t hold up over time — all these themes and notions of progress and fashion and “hip” get lost over the decades. If the movie is trying to regain that excitement in some creative way, well, I’m willing to give it a chance…

      (How’s that for a “pre-review”?)

      ~Graham

  3. Hi there,
    I don’t know if you’re really looking for advice, and I haven’t read all the previous posts of your blog, so forgive me if you’ve already addressed this, but I’m slightly concerned that the first half of the book is ‘essentially polished’ when you haven’t done a first draft of the end yet.
    The problem is that it’s 90% likely that once you do untangle the plot and find a satisfying resolution, you’ll need to go and make sweeping, painful changes ot the rest of the book. If it’s all in first draft form, that’s fine, but it means time spent polishing earlier chapters is wasted.
    Anyway, just my opinion.
    I’m interested to know who is going to be reading your half novel – in my opinion it’s only worth getting feedback from particular people – i.e. people who are into writing. Otherwise the feedback can be unhelpful or even damaging.
    Anyway – I think it’s really brave and interesting of you to be writing a blog about your journey – and good luck! If you’ve found my comments useful and want to ask anything, I’d be happy to make suggestions, or if you’d rather I just kept my nose out – off I go!

    • Graham Strong says:

      Those are all good points you bring up, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend sending out a book before it’s completed.

      Here’s how I look at it though. I’m pretty confident in where the story is going, and any feedback I get from the first half of the novel is only going to inform the second half (or really, last quarter of the novel). Therefore, any polishing I do to the first half will only enhance that feedback. Besides, I’ve found through my marketing writing that giving people half-formed ideas (i.e. “unpolished”) more often than not confuses them — they can’t see the same vision you have, unless you give them your complete vision, not just vague hints at it. So in this case, a polished version is necessary.

      Besides besides, I don’t expect changes in the last quarter to require sweeping changes to the rest of the book. (Though I do expect sweeping changes after I get some feedback. Not that I don’t like the novel so far — I do. But again, in my experience as marketing writer, there are a lot of unforeseen things that can come up, which why you have your writing reviewed in the first place…)

      Besides besides besides, no polishing is wasted if it gets me closer to the final novel. (And honestly, I enjoy doing it anyway, so what the hell…)

      I expect my feedback will come from informed sources too, so I’m not so worried there. At this point, that feedback will be helpful, and I’ve been through this type of process enough times that there is a slim chance it would be damaging (to the novel — to my psyche, well that’s a different thing though it wouldn’t matter if it’s now or then!).

      Again, great points and I certainly understand your misgivings. It’s exactly what I would say. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures though — so damn the torpedoes!

      Thanks for adding your two cents, and welcome to the blog!

      ~Graham

  4. Birdy& Bambi says:

    I just saw your blog for the first time and really like it!
    It’s really comforting to read thoughts from other lovely people out there that are working on their novels.

    I wish you all the best (the best meaning the discipline to create& the kindness to not hate yourself if things don’t go as smoothly as planned!)

    Greetings from Germany!

    Bambi-from Birdy and Bambi
    Birdy& Bambi’s most recent blog post: have a wonderful weekend …

    • Graham Strong says:

      Thanks Bambi — that was part of the plan, to include all those who are working on a novel and show them the ups and downs of the process in real time. Glad it had an impact on you.

      Best of luck with your own writing, and welcome to the blog!

      ~Graham

  5. jevvv says:

    H Graham, did you manage to get any readers? Did you get any further with the last part of the book?

    –jevvv, twitter

    • Graham Strong says:

      Hi Jevvv,

      Welcome to the blog!

      I have not sent it out to readers yet, no, but I have had a number of people offer. That’s very encouraging! (Though if I’m being honest, and I try to be on this blog, it’s also a little scary — I’ve never felt so responsible to the reader before. Plus, what if they hate it…? I’m sure these feelings are nothing new — just new to me!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Graham

      • jevvv says:

        If they hate it then too bad :) There will be more who like it or love it. And hating it isn’t a problem usually – it means you’ve provoked them. It’s the ones who don’t care that actually indicate something might be an issue… but only if they are relevant readers :)

        Sometimes it’s just better to get on with it, and deliberately choose to not care what they think- then you look back and find you are over the hump :)

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