First, thanks everyone who sent me well wishes. I am feeling normal again, finally–yesterday I finally woke up and didn’t feel fragile anymore, which was great.
Something interesting has happened to me, which has never really happened before. My current WIP has gone off in a very odd direction, and I’ve realized it needs some big fixes back in the middle so I can redirect it.
I’m not sure if I should be worried about that. I’m really not–at this point, although I still don’t see myself as any great shakes, I’m at least confident in my ability to produce a coherent story. So this is more of an annoyance than anything else.
But it is confusing. Because I’ve never been a plotter, and I’ve never had a story derail like this. Usually it just comes out, and whatever fixes need to be made–there are always fixes–are small enough that I can go back later and insert the missing facts, or whatever, and it doesn’t affect the ending. This one does, or maybe I’m just being too nervous. Either way, it’s a little odd but I’m not worried.
Except when it comes to my beta readers, that is.
See, I know all the conventional advice, which is to write the first draft with the door closed and don’t show the book to anyone. To not invite feedback, etc. etc. But I don’t work as well that way. I like feedback from the start. I like having people to discuss the story with as I go along. It keeps the project alive for me. It alerts me to possible trouble spots I may need to fix later. It lets me know what I need to amp up now. But mostly, it lets me know if I’m on the right track or if I’m the only one who likes this story. (Case in point: my best friend Cori [yes, her again] always likes my work, but her tastes tend to run towards lighter, funnier books in general–she’s not a big uf fan. But when she read the first few chapters of Unholy Ghosts and couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved it and how desperately she wanted more, I knew I had to keep going, that I had done something special. Not like I think it’s oh-so-special or anything–oh, you know what I mean.)
Keep in mind, the people reading this–two or three, tops–are people I trust implicitly. And I don’t always take their advice. But if something big is missing, I prefer to know about it earlier, so I can add it in and make later editing much easier. Another case in point, Cori mentioned recently that if I didn’t insert a particular type of scene soon, people were going to lose all interest in a particular character. Of course she was right. I amped up the previous scenes a bit and added a new one, and now the balance works much better.
All of that is stuff I could have done after the first draft was finished, of course. But I think it’s easier for people to give feedback on an unfinished work, where what happens next is still a question. It’s easier to make suggestions when nobody’s going to have to delete a whole bunch of stuff to implement your suggestion.
Plus it’s fun for me. It makes the work more fun. It eggs me on, frankly. I haven’t been posting metrics here for the second UG book because I’m afraid they might be too spoilery at this point, but knowing people were expecting them really made me push myself. Knowing Cori or Anna or Caitlin is waiting for the next section pushes me too. I might be able to laze about and let myself down, but it’s a stupid girl who lets down her best friends and her trusted crit partners.
So who do you write for? Do you let people look while you’re working?
Oh, and I posted this rant last night on livejournal so I’m copying it here, because I am still irked:
I hate iTunes here. I know there are songs in the US we can’t get here. I feel it in my bones. And it pisses me OFF.
Seriously. Is it that hard to make the original Runaways version of “Cherry Bomb” avilable here? They have both the Joan Jett version and the Cherrie Currie version, but I don’t WANT either of those. I want the real one.
Same with the Lazy Cowgirls’ “Goddamn Bottle”. I can get the slowed-down version but not the amped-up “Tapping the Source” one. Or anything else from that album, which is one of the greatest albums of all time.
Why? Why can I not find any Cringer or Sewer Trout on UK iTunes? Nothing from Nine Pound Hammer’s “Hayseed Timebomb”? Some cuts from a live Pagans album but nothing from “Shit Street”?
I know what it is. It’s the US giving the big finger to our former rulers. And you know, I totally applaud that, but it’s inconveniencing me now.
OH! AND, if I were in the US, the lack of these songs on iTunes wouldn’t be a problem because I could download them from Amazon and they would automatically convert into iTunes. But nooooo…that’s for US customers only.
WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!?