The Trenches of Revision, Part VI

Even though the story I’m working on now was written about 9 months ago, most of the characters in it have been jumping around in my brain since 2004.

I’ve realized that knowing my characters makes revising the story so much easier. It’s nice to ponder different plot decisions and think, “That couldn’t happen because I know Character 1 would never do that!” When I don’t know my characters I feel less certain about what they would do and wouldn’t do in certain situations.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The novel I’m currently revising is called XIII: Strophe and it’s an urban fantasy – the prequel to a much longer series involving a evil, mystical being and the two young adults who are attempting to take him down.

I do not plan on submitting this novel to a publishing house, nor do I plan on self-publishing. The XIII series has always been a “practice ground” for me, so I’ll eventually post it on critique sites like FictionPress as “promotional” writing.

Because I use this novel series to practice writing, it’s a lot more fun to write and revise because I don’t feel a huge need to be a perfectionist with it (which I shouldn’t feel anyway, but that’s another post). I do plan to get it as good as I possibly can before posting it because I can’t stand to put a shoddy piece of work online.

The XIII series was also my first (and last) adventure in collaborative writing. The main thing I learned about writing with someone else is DO NOT get too attached to your work. Chances are, you and your co-writer will butt heads over character development, plot problems, or anything else, and sometimes your ideas will have to be thrown out. The other thing I learned about collaborative writing is (this is pretty obvious) you MUST be able to work well with your co-writer. Just like any relationship, you’re going to have fights every once in a while, but if you’re not getting any joy out of the experience, it’s time to move on.

14 thoughts on “The Trenches of Revision, Part VI

  1. I could collaborate with an illustrator . . . but not another writer. 😀

    Enjoy the revise.

    When you WHO your characters are . . . you know HOW to write their scenes.

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  2. I have had this question since long, in collaborative writing doesn’t the differing writing style or voice of each author become a problem in maintaining a coherent tone throughout the novel?

    Good luck with your revising.

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    1. For the early drafts, I would write a chapter and my co-author would write another, and yes, the tone was a little discordant throughout. But during the rewrites, I re-wrote the entire novel so the tone problems were mostly solved. My co-author just gave me more ideas at that point.

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    2. Different collaborations are different. For the mystery writer Ellery Queen, for example, “Ellery” was two men (cousins). One plotted out the mysteries, the other did the actual writing.

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  3. You are much further along than I am, I desire to be an author and I use the Law of attraction to put it into action.

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  4. It seems I’ve been writing the same three stories over and over again, always revising, always researching. Some nights my characters positively haunt me, almost angry because I won’t let them finally rest. …eventually, I’ll have to “save as” for the final time and either Send It Off or not…I think I fear what would happen if I was truly finished: I’d have to write something else, let these characters go. The problem is, I like them. …I may not like the next characters nearly so well.

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  5. Oh yes, that feeling of really knowing the characters is wonderful. I’ve had some of mine around for years before writing their stories, so I think I can relate to it. 🙂
    I like collaborative writing, but I think it’s hard to make it work right. I can definitely understand why you wouldn’t want to do it again with your experience with it. I’ve tried creating new characters (that I didn’t get attached to) as well as doing it with people who know my characters very well (as I do theirs). Those can work (at least for me).

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    1. What’s most important is that the two people have the same end vision of the story, but that’s difficult to achieve.

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