This post was originally featured at Just Natalie as part of the TTC/MK VBT 2012.
In every book, some edits must occur. Some words must be struck from the page with prejudice. They must be smited righteously to tighten the prose and make that novel sing! *ahem* Sorry, I get carried away when I’m in the throes of editing — as I am today — and I just can’t help myself.
Anyway – its true. Snips happen. A word here, a paragraph there. Streamlining and refining.
In editing “Incandescence” I found that while sprinting during NaNoWriMo is excellent for word count and just getting the story out, sometimes it makes for redundancy. And redundancy is death to taut prose.
Mostly, fixing those repetitive bits just required little snips. Switching around so dialogue so characters don’t mention the same story twice or the like. I did not have to eighty-six anything major, and certainly nothing I loved.
But there was one large scene that had to be deleted and of course it was one I really enjoyed writing and wished I could have kept in. It was a very PG romance scene — not erotic, not exactly sexual — between one of the main characters (15 year-old Hannah) and a young man who has been pining for her since the moment they met (18-year-old Luke).
You see, Luke is a good guy with a bit of a possessive streak and a slight blind spot to how dire their circumstances are as survivors of ‘the end of the world’. He falls hard for the, admittedly, sort of weird, but spunky and funny (and magic!) redheaded teen. Patience is a virtue he possesses in great quantity, and even when he’s initially rebuffed romantically, Luke pursues her friendship.
And he wins it. They become close despite having grown-up in two very different environments and being a few years apart in age. But Luke is not alone in his affections for Hannah. The antagonist, Alexander, also wants Hannah, though his motivations are vastly different and somewhat nefarious.
The deleted scene, a tender first kiss and a little bit of background exposition, between Luke and Hannah just doesn’t belong. It did not make sense for the plucky magess who has been mentally tortmented for months and whose physical changes are making her withdraw from all the people around her, to suddenly being having a romantic exchange with her best friend.
So the kiss hit the cutting room floor and the hint of potential romance with it. By the end of “Incandescence”, it was obvious that there just wasn’t a place for that sort of scene in the book. Too many other things were happening in the race to the climactic scene and smooching just has to wait.
Ah! But there is hope for the burgeoning relationship in the sequel. If poor, traumatized Hannah can get herself together, there is a really great guy waiting to wrap her in his arms and love her through it. And if she can’t, well, time will tell if Luke’s the kind to pine away or move on. Options may be limited at the end of the world, but there are still other fish in the seas.
I hear great-great-granmama Torovaldi is single. *wink*
Love & Rainbows,
As the incomparable George Takei would say,”Ohhh myyyyyyy”.
I finally got a sincere and amazing email from a Beta Reader and it truly made my night. Not because it was a glowing review of how perfect and amazing I am (although, the part I’m sharing with you is sort of a rave) but because it was honest and had constructive criticisms. Due in no small part to this person having read much of my ‘work’ in the past, he really nailed some of my worst tendencies and called me out on some lazy tactics (just because it is set in the ‘real world’ in what is mostly the ‘modern day’… there’s no excuse for constant pop culture references).
He also mentioned the things he thought worked. Characterization. He loves Hannah, for instance. He felt that the relationship between Michael and Brandi was well done. The magic being somewhat in the background at first, then waking up as the story goes on to really move to the foreground by the end. Even the setting, which… you know… real life/modern day-ish…
Pacing is definitely still a bit of a problem, but if you’ve read this blog you know I tend to be a bit verbose. I really gotta rein that in, in the rewrites.
Anyway, the last paragraph of his initial feedback/review, is as follows:
I find [Incandescence] to be daring and delicious. Full of delightful details, even if they are heavy at times, and a gritty realism that grips […].
There is plenty to fall in love with. Characters […] to interact with and a magic that, at first, seems hidden, but becomes such a major player as the story unfolds. I wonder if by some means everyone will be saved by an unleashing of powers no one knew they even possessed. Personally, though, I think you know the magic you have, and it’s been beautifully unleashed on these pages.
Like, couldn’t you just die?
I could. I might. Now, excuse me as I decide not to sleep tonight and return to editing my poor bruised baby. Gotta get this apple polished before presenting it to teacher (and by teacher, I mean Harper-Voyager). Booyah.
Love & Rainbows,
At last! I’ve found my groove with editing and I am cranking out the changes/fixes/tweaks like no body’s business. Its a wonderful feeling and as much as I occasionally loathe editing, seeing how just a few changes can make an enormous difference makes my heart thrill.
Can a heart thrill?
The point is that I am working again, and working it hard. Now what, you might ask, has motivated me at last? Sent me into fits of productivity that after months of stalling?
An open submission invitation from a major publisher. They’re calling for fantasy and sci-fi from unknown writers, accepting non-agented people, and all that jazz. This is just too good an opportunity to miss, so I must finish this last sweep of the novel ASAP! Like, within two weeks.
While also packing and moving.
And planning a wedding.
And preparing for NaNoWriMo.
And working full-time.
Not to mention two challenges I’m participating in (a 30 Day challenge to Deal with, Dump or Donate things I’ve been putting off and a 21 day eating-right/living-right challenge). And blogging. And gaming. And life…
But I can do it. I just have to really tweak my time management skills. So I’m really cramming editing in between calls at work, before work starts, after it ends, when I wake up in the middle of the night… if I’m breathing, I’m editing.
At least until this is done. Then… maybe a breath to finish planning Inferno and right back to typing til my fingers fall off.
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. Man, I need bacon.
As anyone who has followed my journey writing and editing “Incandescence” knows, its been a battle. Its not my first book, not in the literal sense, but it is the first one which I am writing as a fully-grown-up person with intention to send off into the world to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by a broader audience than… just me.
Still, as much as I complain about how editing is both the worst and best part of writing, I have to say that the very hardest thing I have attempted to do for “Incandescence” is writing the blurb. Yes, the blurb. The quick synosis you find on the back of a book that makes you go ‘Hells yes! I gots ta read me summa dis!’ or ‘Ugh. More vampire lovers and tight black leather? Hells to the nah’.
The blurb has to contain so much information, yet be written in such a way as to not seem like an infodump. It has to be catchy and exciting, yet ask question or end on a cliffhanger, yet not give away too much of the plot.
There are many blogs out there discussing the anatomy of a perfect blurb. Start with a hook, choose only the main character(s) to highlight, leave them wanting more… all great points. But there’s an art to putting that advice to practical use and I have not yet mastered the technique.
Here’s my work-in-progress/beta-test blurb for “Incandescence”:
The world has been on a downward spiral for awhile – even 14-year-old Hannah Brighton knows that much – but no one was really expecting it to end quite so soon. Yet on one hazy afternoon in March, Hannah, her older brother Michael, and their 102-year-old great-great-grandmother find themselves running for their lives and struggling to exist in a world on the brink of collapse.
Fortunately for these siblings, magic is real. They are the last two mageborns on Earth — at least as far as they know.
As the world descends into utter chaos they must survive earthquakes and tsunamis, maurauding looters (or looting maurauders?), a greedy empire-building bastard named Alexander, and at the heart of the destruction, an ancient enemy with an army of hungry children at her command. Their peaceful mountain valley may provide some protection but it only delays the inevitable confrontation.
Trapped between the avaricious power of Alexander & Isaac, the collapse of civilization, and an indescribable evil – Hannah, Michael, and their assembly of exiles have no choice but to fight.
Well? What do you think? What should change? How can I improve this blurb to make it the bestest most blurbity blurb that ever blurbed? Can you tell I sort of love and hate the word blurb? Its great, and awful.
Still, I honestly seek your advice. You’re a reader, you’ve probably picked up a thousand books over the years, flipped ’em over and read the back cover copy. What makes you pick up Book A over Book B? I know the cover is important, both front and back, so its crucial to me that I get this one right! Right?
In the future, maybe I should take a fellow author’s advice and write the blurb first. Then it can act as a mini-outline for how I intend the story to go. But I bet if I wrote a blurb right now for say, the “Rudabet” project, the actual novel will be vastly different. Maybe not. Let’s give it a try.
A serpant with an insatiable appetite has swallowed the continent whole over the course of 100 years. Now, it sets its greedy black eyes on the island nation of Baidra and girds its loins for war.
But fierce Queen Rudabet will not give up her country’s sovereinty without a fight. A wild, proud people, the inhabitants of Baidra know they cannot fight the Empire’s expertly trained troops on equal footing. They take to the trees and trenches, declaring guerilla warfare on supply lines and scouting parties.
Lead by the Queen’s fearless consort, Kimaran, the nation’s fleet of merchant ships and pleasure boats transform into a powerful navy and rock the Emperor’s carefully laid plans. Victory – and freedom – are within their grasp and despite heavy losses, the people of Baidra refuse to be beaten. Yet, there is a traitor in their midst instigating trouble within the Queen’s court and selling information to the Emperor.
Will Rudabet’s ferocious fighting spirit be enough to lead her people to victory?
Not 100% awful for a first try. I don’t know if I should focus more on the war or the interpersonal stuff. I didn’t mention General Abeterus at all, and he’s pretty plot-critical, but the sweeping storyline of invasion and war might be more encompassing.
Anyway, I’d appreciate opinions (on both, but particularly “Incandescence”). I’ve read that a blurb should be under 250 words. Normally, I find that to be painfully limiting since I tend toward the verbose, but in both cases presented above I came in just under 170 (162 & 168, respectively).
Please please please, give me some advice, guys!
Love & Rainbows,
* * * * * * * * * * *
Okay, taking into account some feedback I’ve gotten, let’s try an updated version…
Although the modern world has been on a downward spiral for awhile, no one was really expecting it to end quite so soon. Yet, one hazy afternoon in March, Hannah, her brother Michael, and their 102-year-old great-great-grandmother find themselves running for their lives and struggling to survive in a world on the brink of collapse.
As society descends into utter chaos they must withstand earthquakes and tsunamis, looting marauders, a pair of greedy empire-building bastards named Alexander & Isaac, and, at the heart of the destruction, an ancient enemy with an army of hungry children at her command. Their peaceful mountain valley may provide some protection but it only delays the inevitable confrontation.
Fortunately for these siblings, magic is real. They are the last two mageborns on Earth. At least as far as they know.
Now, trapped between the avaricious power of Alexander & Isaac, the collapse of civilization, and an indescribable evil – Hannah, Michael, and their motley collection of allies have no choice but to fight back.
The fine print about the give-away. One winner will be randomly selected using Random.org and that person will receive an electronic copy of “Incandescence” as an ARC before it premieres to the world. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Jack is not eligible because he can have a copy anytime he wants, LOL. Otherwise, its open anyone over the age of 18 and a resident of the US. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The entry period for this giveaway ends on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 11:59 PM Eastern. The winner will be chosen, at Random, on Sunday September 16th, 2012 and contacted via email to claim their prize. If the prize is not claimed by September 30th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST, a second winner will be drawn. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog entry, giving your opinion or advice on the ‘blurb’ for “Incandescence”. Ensure that you have left a valid email address. I retain the right to disqualify any comments which appear to be spam for additional chances to win, but multiple entries will be counted. PenelopePrice.net reserves the right to collect and use the winner’s name and likeness for promotional purposes. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. There is no cash alternative, this prize is provided by PenelopePrice.net, and blah blah legal jargon blah.
Yes, I admit it. I, Penelope Price, am a slacker.
Sometimes, at least. Lately.
I have been working and trying to get some external ducks in a row and I have not been blogging as much as I ought, which is why the last three entries here have been VBT posts. And those are AWESOME (and this Sunday’s interview with the talented team of TL Burns & KR Hughes rocks!) but I really need to buckle down and be more productive here.
And in “Incandescence” & “Inferno” where it really counts.
I won’t lie to you. I am a little discouraged. After stellar initial reviews from my betas, they’ve gone silent and I can’t help but worry about the worst. Jack says to stop being dumb – but gosh! Its hard to maintain that positive mental attitude (PMA! PMA! PMA! *ahem* Sorry, flashback) when you’re not getting any feedback.
Even hearing “Dude, this sucks hardcore!” would be infinitely better than silence.
I try to keep my Facebook page clear of insecurity and whinging because…well, who needs it? There’s been a lot of that going around lately and while I totally empathize (and I DO. Mega-empathize) its not really appropriate to share with your ‘fans’ or ‘friends’. Which is why I could slap myself for writing this blog.
Oh well. Sometimes you do need to vent and I promise, this is the last time (er…re: Incandescence, at any rate) you’ll have to see me crying about radio silence from my peeps. Because damn it, I know Incandescence is good and since I cannot afford to hire editors, I do have to rely on the people whose opinions I value (and who will read it for free).
No more slacking off, PP. No more!
I’m feeling motivated today. Editing for the WIN!
Love & Rainbows,
Aaaaaaand we’re off!
Camp NaNoWriMo officially began today, June 1st, and with it, I put the first words to page on “Inferno”, the sequel to my WIP “Incandescence”. The chapter I began with is not chronologically the first one in the outline (which is still incomplete…oy vey, too many irons in the fire!) but I could not wait to get back into OLDLADYNAME’s head again and find out what has happened in the interim.
Er… yeah. I was waiting for her to tell me.
I started with her because she is not (generally) in the middle of the action. She’s on the periphry, sharing her knowledge and experience, relating things about the world and plot that other characters (especially those who ARE directly in the fray) cannot. And she spends a lot of time thinking or telling stories rather than being out there, doing the deeds, so maybe readers would think to skip her POV chapters. I don’t know.
But I love them. I love writing them, I love re-reading them, I love her. I love discovering things she knows that I did not even realize she knew until it came out on the page. OLDLADYNAME is an enigma cocooned in a conundrum swathed in perplexity wrapped in bacon (because everything is better with bacon). She’s such a strange little old thing with such a big heart, this iron-clad faith, and great anecdotes about peeing the woods.
I know, I know. I’m babbling.
I’m just very excited to be (temporarily) back to composing rather than editing. I’ve really been struggling with some stuff in “Incandescence” – though mostly its just insecurity – and I’m ready to lay it aside for a few days so I can really concentrate on “Inferno”.
So. Show of hands – who out there is participating in Camp NaNo this year? I’m hoping to do both June and August, myself! I love the challenge and daily impetus to JUST WRITE that comes from NaNo. What’s your favorite part of NaNo?
Love & Rainbows,
Today’s excerpt comes from my current WIP: WT: Incandescence. But we’re going to do things a little different. I’m going to post a super-short piece from the First Draft. Then, a tweaked and edited version from Draft Two.
– – – – – – – – – – –
From the First Draft
Forgive us, Father, for our trespasses tonight. You know we would not do this, had we any other option.
It sounded like a feeble excuse to her own ears, but OLDLADYNAME knew it was a balm to soothe Hannah’s conscious for the girl was concerned. Possibly, she was more worried about jail time than her eternal soul, but OLDLADYNAME did not ask. She was content to know that the children she had raised were resourceful enough to survive and honest enough to care that they had broken-in to someone else’s home.
Night had fallen and the forest was remarkably quiet around the trailer – that or the insulation was more noise-proof than she would have presumed. Now that she had been able to wash her hands and face, drink until her belly sloshed, and then satiated her hunger on some stale saltines, OLDLADYNAME felt her confidence returning.
– – – – – – – – – – –
From the Second Draft
“..and we ask you to forgive us, Father, for our trespasses this afternoon. You know we would not do this, had we any other option.”
It sounded like a feeble excuse to her own ears, but OLDLADYNAME knew it was a balm to soothe Hannah’s conscience, for the girl was concerned. Possibly, she was more worried about potential jail time than about her eternal soul, but OLDLADYNAME preferred not to ask questions to which she did not want to know the answer. She was content to know that the children she had raised were resourceful enough to survive and honest enough to care that they had broken-in to someone else’s home.
“Bless us with sweet dreams, and send your angels to protect this home tonight.”
“Also, thank you for the beans and crackers,” Hannah said. Scrunching up her face, she stirred her portion of supper with a broken saltine.
“That too,” OLDLADYNAME added, casting a disapproving glance at her. “Amen.”
They sat around the table and ate their cold meal with little conversation. OLDLADYNAME supposed the children were just as wrung-out as she – though probably not half as physically exhausted.
Night had fallen and the forest was remarkably quiet around the trailer – that or the insulation was more noise-proof than she would have presumed. Now, sitting here with freshly washed hands and face, having drunk well-water until her belly sloshed, and satiated her hunger, OLDLADYNAME felt her confidence returning. Some how, they were going to be okay.
– – – – – – – – – – –
And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!
Love & Rainbows,
PP.net may still be a babe in arms, but her mistress, ME, begins another year of life today. For those counting, that makes me a Taurus. An old cow. Nice.
This year is going to bring a a lot of changes to my world. Its going to be mean a lot of hard work and sacrifice. And a lot of posting here, I suspect. Although I am trying to keep this blog ‘writing centric’, it will inevitably contain some personal things and I ask that you bear with me. I’m just trying to get my bearings in this new and ever-evolving world of publishing/marketing/et cetera.
Today marks a re-birth of sorts, and as I mentioned previously, its a continuation of a theme that started in January with the commencement of the Year of Tangerine Tango. Like a phoenix I will rise from the ashes of my procrastinating life before and soar into the skies of… uh… well, I’m going to finish Incandescence and its sequel, Inferno. That’s my primary writing goal this year. I’ve set some new, hopefully hard-but-doable deadlines for myself. The first of which is to complete the edits on Incandescence and get it out to my betas. I’m just about half-way through right now, but I need to really get cranking.
Despite the powerful urge to open the document and WERK! (Yes, that is ‘werk’ ala RuPaul) Today is my birthday and Jack is taking me out to get his blood drawn (grrrrreat), then a Jason-Statham-better-take-off-his-shirt movie, and lunch with his mother.
After that, we’re going to drive all around this bloody town until I find an amazing piece of cheesecake! This area seems to be experiencing a dearth of good cheesecake and I don’t know why, but I absolutely Do. Not. Approve.
A world without Cheesecake is like… inconceivable.
Wish me luck!
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. Oh! I did get a birthday present from the interwebs today. Someone in my Facebook feed posted Only1Noah‘s cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” and I found a new musical love. I have a well-known penchant for folksy covers of pop & rock music (also – punk covers of the same) and while I did enjoy the cover – it was his catalogue of other covers (Billie Jean, Set Fire To The Rain, Your Song, Crazy) that blew my mind. Check him out!
P.P.S. I’ve “pinned” most of my archives to my Pinterest page for easy browsing. So if you’re interested, follow me on Pinterest >>> Penelope Price.
Cheesecake Birthday Cake Image from http://www.birthdaymore.com
Its Friday. And in my world, Fridays are back to being my Fridays again. Darn it.
A few months back, I had switched to a work schedule that gave me three days off (Thursday, Friday & Saturday). It was pretty much a perfect fit. I had a ‘weekend’ with Jack on F&S, but Thursday was my own.
Usually, I spent it editing, writing, and Facebooking, but it was ME time and if I wanted to wile away an hour with nail polish and DVR’d episodes of Chopped or Castle – so be it. This all changed, again, this past week. I’m back to the standard Monday through Friday grind, but at least, as I mentioned previously, I am working from home full-time.
What does all this have to do with writing?
Nothing, except that I’ve found I am having more difficulty getting editing done. I hope that work will calm down in the coming weeks, now that we’re a (mostly) complete team again. But this week, it seems that every time I turn my chair to face Incandescence, something comes up. ARGH!
Plus, I admit it, I’m a little frustrated by a loss I suffered in the catastrophic computer failure I experienced recently. The good news is that I was able to recover a recent back-up. The bad news is that I lost the part I had been working on the day before the crash and – pardon the caps – IT WAS MY FAVORITE BIT!
Deep breaths, P.P. Deep breaths…
Yes, I lost a big chunk of a chapter that I had been rewriting and was really, really happy with. I’m working on recapturing it, but somehow it just isn’t quite as ‘right’ this time through. C’est la vie. With luck, I’ll spontaneously remember how the changes were supposed to go.
I am suddenly reminded of a quote (mostly because I feel this post is getting a little bit whiny):
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Well, obviously that’s not true for me. I’d rather not hear the lamentation of any women. In fact, I suspect you all would rather not read the lamentation of any women. Not even this woman. And so, I shall stop sobbing about the lost material and move on, full of joy, to the next section!
Okay. Moving on.
Today, as I mentioned, is Friday and I’ve got a meeting with the boss in a few hours. Hopefully, it is a painless affair and when I get back, the afternoon will be d.e.a.d. so that I can finish Part Two and move on to Part Three. The sooner I get the second draft done, the sooner my beta readers can get their grubby little hands on it.
Have I ever mentioned that I could really use a volunteer or two as beta readers? I have two men I trust dearly, but a third and fourth set of eyes would be very welcome.
If you’re interested, keep your eyes on the blog, because I’ll announce when its ready and officially ask for your help in making Incandescence the best it can be.
Love & Rainbows,
Its almost May, which means its season finale season (er…redundancy for the win) in the land of the Magical Moving Picture Box. Within a few weeks, as the temperatures rise and the layers of clothing are shed, the powers that be will begin regurgitating their, frankly, already primarily regurgitated programs. And for whatever reason, we will watch.
But that’s not going to be happening here on PP.net! Eff no!
Instead, because I’m cool like that, we’re going to be (hopefully!) bringing in some incredible guest bloggers as part of a Virtual Blog Tour (though, to be honest – aren’t all blog tours pretty much virtual? Hmm?). Celebrate good times, come on!
Yeah. That was pretty lame. But I am excited. I’ll get to share my crazy-nuttiness with some other writer’s readership in hopes of sparking my own fanbase and … some other poor schmuck will post here hoping to do the same. Too bad my audience numbers approximately…two. Well, hits-wise its somewhat larger, but only two people comment with any regularity. Myself and Raymond, that is.
As I said last week, I’m not going to stress over my numbers (or lack thereof) or comments or Re-Tweets. I’m saving all my stress and freak-outs for the actual novel.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in any previous posts, but my current WIP, Incandescence is not my normal cup o’ tea. I’ve dipped my toes into a sub-genre that is sort of tangential to my favored type. Modern-Day Fantasy. Mages in America (or wherever). With all the differences in tone, in voice, in setting, et cetera – this book is a pretty big departure for me and so I do feel a little more stress about it than normal.
That, plus I am intending to actually let people read it. I haven’t always done that in the past. In fact…
I have not really done that since High School. Probably because my confidence was built-up fairly high about that novel and I, with my perpetual fear of failing, was too damned afraid of not living up to the previous heights that I just stopped sharing.
Plus, most of my novels are unfinished. They’re sitting around in various states of undress, waiting to be ravished and have their dirty sex tapes posted on the internet for everyone to view.
Wait – what?
You know what I mean. Don’t you?
Speaking of sex tapes – I was doing some research on Youtube last night (no, really!) and came across a song that I had never listened to but had heard about – Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”. (My thoughts: Catchy. Awesome make-up. Awful wigs. Sexy build.) I just happened to glance down at the comments and noticed that the newest one said that Nicki Minaj had just released a sex tape.
I don’t know if that rumor has any truth to it. But it made me pretty glad that I don’t have young daughters, because I know many little girls who LOVE Nicki Minaj and until last night (sex tape aside) I didn’t realize how super-freaking-inappropriate her music is for young ones.
What does ‘beez in the trap’ really mean, any way? And why are all the other girls ‘stupid, stupid hoes’?
Sorry – that was an off-topic rant, wasn’t it?
To summarize: There will be no re-runs this summer on PP.net!
Love & Rainbows,