Revision and revision and revision

According to the Word of Word, I’m on page 238 of 653 (word pagination doesn’t match up with print pagination, by the way – Book 2 will be roughly the same length as Book 1). so, about two-fifths of the way through, right?

Well… maybe. On the face of it, no – there’ll be more than one pass through. Right now, I’m in the middle of redrafting parts of the book. Taking out passages and subplots that don’t work, adding in replacements, cutting extraneous sections. There’ll be another pass of sanity-checking, another for style. So, if I’m going to go through the book another three or four times, then I’m only a fraction of the way through the revision process.

Fortunately for me – and even more fortunately, for my deadlines – the really hard part is this first pass. Here’s when the book turns to sand and threatens to fall apart; here’s where I’ve got to hold all the threads in my head at once; here’s where I’ve got to remember which metaphor I’m using, and change things so it’s either sand or thread, not both at the same time. Later on, when things are more solid/knotted together (mem: check this), I can make minor tweaks and beautify individual sentences. Right now, it’s all heavy lifting and major surgery, and I’m mixing metaphors again….


On Edits & Rewrites

The edits for THE DIVINE MACHINE (or whatever book two will eventually be called – that’s another blog post for another day) have arrived. 680 manuscript pages, with one or two comments per page, plus an eight-page cover letter describing high-level problems with the story.


My first piece of advice – take a day or two to read and absorb the edits before starting a rewrite.

(You are permitted to weep openly, tear at your beard, rend garments, and cry out to the uncaring sky as appropriate during this time, if that’s part of your process.)

Continue reading “On Edits & Rewrites”

One month to go (sort of)

IMG_2035The official release date for The Gutter Prayer is January, of course, but it’s less than a month to go before the Goldsboro Books edition, and the release on Netgalley – and the advanced reading copies have gone out, too. I’m moderately sanguine about the whole affair on one level – this is not my first or even my hundredth rodeo – but there’s a vastly higher degree of identification in the case of a novel.

Few people notice who wrote a particular rpg supplement; in general, people pay attention to game lines and publishing imprints, not authors, and most books have multiple writers involved anyway. Novels are a solo writing project, and my name (or some variation thereof) is right there on the cover.

So, I am totally sanguine and nervously checking twitter every 30 seconds, because that’s a healthy way to be.

There will be, by the by, an Official Launch Party at Warpcon. Details to be finalised, but expect some, none or all of the following:

  • Reading from the book
  • Q & A
  • Light refreshments
  • Ritual mockery of the author
  • Opportunity to buy the book

Fortunately for my own sanity, November’s looking to be absurdly busy. Too busy to get much of my own writing done (although the edits for The Divine Machine should be landing on my desk soon), as I’ll be alternately in Alpha Complex or off chasing The Borellus Connection. 


The Difficult Second Novel

677px-Punishment_sisyphOr, in my case, the third.

The Divine Machine wasn’t especially easy to write – the plot’s more complex than that of The Gutter Prayer, and there were some tangles that took a long time to unravel. However, the shape of it was clear, and more importantly – I had to do it. It was contracted.

Now, I’m trying to work on something new.  Starting something new is easy – the first few pages always flow, as you’re just putting words to a rough concept. After that, though, the thing has to run, it has to have momentum to go on for hundreds more pages, and that means pushing it along even as you slather more words on it. It’s all too common for the thing to fall apart, or start to look ugly and ill-formed and not worth it – especially when there are other pretty gossamer ideas flitting around freely, unshackled by the brick-dust of language.

In short, words are a really crap form of telepathy, and I’m frustrated I can’t just beam ideas into your mind.

(An added complication: my day job is also writing. And my side gig is writing. So I can get my writing kicks without having to go to the bother of writing a novel; this is where egotism and masochism become virtues, because I must convince myself that the world desperately needs this book to exist.)

So, the grindstone. 500 words a day, every day, minimum. No matter what, and on any of the ill-formed ideas that comes to hand, until one of them moves of its own accord.

Gutter Prayer things continue to happen – American covers! More wonderfully kind blurbs! Audiobooks, which are a whole new and exciting thing.

Strange Things

There will be a limited edition hardback of The Gutter Prayer. This is wonderful and unexpected.

There will be an audiobook version. On one level, this is not unexpected; it’s standard practise for Orbit, I understand. However, I’ve never done anything with audiobooks before, so it’s all strange and new and exciting.

The ARCs are flight to earlier reviewers and book-mavens. Exciting times.