Sunday, January 17, 2010

I wrote that?

It's not official yet, but I believe that I'll have a print contract for The Voices of Ire, my debut fantasy novel written four years ago. It was an ebook for awhile, but the company went out of business before it went to print, and so I left it on the back burner and started new projects. I've finished two other books and a number of short stories since then and my writing has morphed so much that I can hardly tell I wrote some of those passages at all!

Now I had to rewrite the whole thing!! Not from scratch, but enough to make it the same quality as the other projects I have out there. It took approx. twenty hours, a lot of coffee, and sour apple candies! I thought I'd share with you how my writing has changed, and then you can share with me your own stories of when you looked back!

#1. Passive voice was everywhere!

Here's a direct quote from the old Aubrie, "The ground had become uneven, and Fiona had to use her walking stick to remain steady, jumping over crevices and sliding across slates of granite."

And here's the new rewritten sentence, "The ground became uneven, and Fiona used her walking stick to steady herself, jumping over crevices and sliding across slates of granite."

I can't believe I used so much "was,were,had". Horrible, just horrible. My editor from Lyrical Press would be all over that. (Hi Stef!)

#2. Point of View changed all the time.

Epic fantasy novels are typically written through a lot of points of view, but my pov's changed right in the middle of a passage all the time. I had to go through entire scenes and choose whose point of view to keep and whose to keep quiet! I lost a lot of good sentences in there in the rewrites, but it's just not possible to allow everyone to think out loud all the time. If I really wanted to keep something, I had to have them say it.

#3. I loved loved loved adverbs! Why, I don't know? But I had so many interestingly's and suddenly's that I had to take a machete to the screen and chop chop chop away. I understand now why adverbs don't read as well. Why I didn't see it then? I'm not sure.

Now, all of you out there that had the courage to go travel back to the dark ages of your own writing, what have you found? What did you used to do? What has improved?

8 comments:

Kris said...

Congratulations...crossing my fingers for you that the print contract goes through! You do awesome work so I can't wait to read it!

Nisa said...

It's amazing what happens with practice and time. I'm too new at it, but even so, a year ago, I didn't know what passive voice was and I loved to info dump and had so much back story... Yeah, I am slowly getting better.

I love epic fantasy! :D

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck with the novel! I know what you mean about going back through stuff. I'm currently working on the edits/rewrites for my first novel, and I'm noticing bad habits right and left. I'm going back through the first three chapters again (hopefully tonight) to further fix things.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Congrats! I've been reading it, and The Voices of Ire is just a wonderful story.

My biggest problem with my older writing is too much passive and info-dumping. Much with each revisions, my stories get tighter and better.

Angie said...

Wow, that's great! Good job on the revising. I pulled my first novel out after ten years and revised the whole thing. I had a blast doing it. I,too, had adverb issues, and one of the MCs gasped so often I thought she might have asthma. It's much better now.

Aubrie said...

Thanks so much for all your comments!

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Agh--I found the same things you did! Lots of extra, useless words and way too many 'had's and 'was's!! :) Congrats on getting through it!

Lisa Rusczyk said...

I used to change POV a lot too. I also had all my characters "looking." She looked away. He looked at the ceiling, then said. She was looking at me and I was looking at the floor. Etc. Blue Pen was filled with those. I think a lot of them are still in there *cringe*.