And so it goes…the revision that is. I’ve been crunching through the manuscript adding here deleting there – mainly deleting, actually. I’m on Chapter 26 of 32. I might finish the revision today.
Early this morning I made a decision that, though hardly irreversible, affects the beginning of book 1. You see, sometimes an author has to choose between telling a story as he or she would like it to be and having the correct pacing and flow to enhance the reader’s overall experience. Everything these days is rush, rush. In a previous revision I broke up longer chapters from the original draft into shorter chapters and, at times, deleted long narratives that gave backstory.
A lot of times the backstory is superfluous. Writers use it for connecting other details into the story later on. Some of the information may or may not have a direct bearing on the story at hand. Usually it can be discarded or at least removed from the story without impacting the experience for the reader. Mainly its like knowing and explaining how to build a clock when all the reader wants is to know what time it is.
What I did today was eliminate the entire first chapter of book 1. Why? Because it was all backstory and history, perhaps of interest if you are into the story already but it would have been a boring way to start out the story for most readers. Besides, the information contained in that chapter does not really advance the story and pertains to matters that are covered elsewhere in the series. It may have also gave away too much information with its foreshadowing of events that occur later on in the series.
Rather than delete the chapter completely, I saved it as is. It might be included as a prologue in a special version of the novel in the future. In fact I have saved much of the material I have deleted for the purpose of creating a backstory piece later on. Don’t know if that will happen, but those were my thoughts. As you may or may not know, writers suffer over what they delete from a story. The pain is lessened if, at the time of removal, there is a potential of using the material in some other way later on. We’ll see how that works out.
The purpose of a revision is to make the story more readable. What I’ve done has accomplished that. Both books are now below the magical 100,000 word goal I set. I plan to keep them there as it would make for a book of around 350 to 380 pages depending on line spacing. Even though I know that in the course of publishing these books I will read and revise them many more times, at least two more times but more likely five or six times before turning loose the content editor to whip it into shape for prime time, each time I revise something I fully intend for it to be the last.
Nothing has changed in the story line, which is good news for anyone who has read early drafts and enjoyed the tale. Structural and substantive changes take more time to work out. Each book will have to endure a fresh set of eyes from new perspective – one that knows next to nothing about wolfcats – before the books can enter into the production process. Every book can benefit from that level of scrutiny because the author easily overlooks things that someone new to the story will pick up on. Those details if left be can adversely affect the reader’s experience. It is a level of editing that publishers require but many self-published authors do not bother with.
Substantive editing can be expensive, especially if a manuscript has not been worked over extensively. A good example of a substantive flaw would be having a character owning a red truck in the first chapter but suddenly the truck is blue in chapter ten. Readers notice things like that and it ruins the story for them.
Content editing focuses on spelling, typos, and grammar. Most editors are reading each sentence and perhaps checking to see if the paragraph makes sense in terms of its construction but there is little or no substantive focus. Where content editing can cost a few hundred dollars substantive editing can cost considerably more. Few self-published authors can afford the expense.
Following the current revision I may venture into book three and continue on with The Wolfcat Chronicles. Or I may take a break of sorts and work on the sequel to Fried Windows, Ninja-Bread Cookies. I would like to see the sequel release somewhere between book two and book three of The Wolfcat Chronicles in order that a subsequent book involving Brent, the main character in Fried Windows, could be released between Books seven and eight of the wolfcat series. That would lead directly to the books that continue the One Over X series that brings together all the plot lines of the various series. Each of those books has been written in draft except for the sequel to Fried Windows. That one is incomplete at this point.
#writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #Author #editing #revisions