Category: weaver of dreams

Reflections on Writing: Looking Back at Work from Days of Yore

As I said a week or two ago, I’m in the process of rereading one of my earliest books: Weaver of Dreams. This was the third novel I’d written, and I’ve always had very fond memories of it. In my head, it’s a great book, and all it needs is a bit of dusting up, tightening of a few hinges, and it’ll be ready for publication.

Or so I thought.

The first chapter was good. Solid as I remembered it. The second one had a few bumps. I kept reading. And reading.

And . . . what in the name of all that’s good in this world was I thinking? This book isn’t ready for publication *at all*. I mean, sure–there are some highlights here and there. The voice of the main character is good, and some of the conflicts in it are salvageable, but so much of it is just . . . not that great.

What, specifically?

  • There are whole chapters where nothing happens but two characters talking to each other. And they’re not even talking to each other in person. They’re using telepathy. This brings the phrase “talking heads” to a whole new level.
  • The main plot doesn’t really sort itself out until at least 2/3 of the way through the book
  • The villain doesn’t show up until 1/2 way through
  • The writing is just terribly uneven. The mood fluctuates all over the place.
  • The pacing stinks. I’ll have a scene where some tension is ratcheting up, and then I’ll have characters start discussing the basics of grammar for two pages. (I’m not exaggerating here.)
I could go on, but I really ought to be nicer to myself. I bring all this up because I wanted to discuss a few thoughts I’d been having while reflecting on this process:
  • Weaver of Dreams was written about eight years ago. I really hope I don’t look at Vodnik eight years from now with the same emotions I have reading Weaver.
  • Then again, I’m happy to see that my skill has grown so much (or rather, that I feel it has). Eight years ago, I thought Weaver of Dreams was awesome. So much so that I still thought of it that way all this time later. So if I read it now and don’t like so much of it, that must mean I’m *beyond awesome* now. Right? Right?
  • Even with all its troubles, the book has some underpinnings that really intrigue me and make me want to revisit the world and its characters. I still have to finish reading it, but I have some good ideas about directions I want the novel to take. In other words, it’s not a lost cause, and I’m happy about that.
How about you? Ever revisit something you were really proud of years ago, only to be surprised by its quality (or lack thereof) today? Do share.

Writing Update (and a Pigs in Space/Star Wars Mashup)

It’s been a while since I updated ya’ll on my writing. No time like the present, right? At this point, I basically have three major efforts that I’m working on actively.

  • Vodnik–The book’s been officially accepted by my editor, and it’s gone on to the copy edit stage. It’s also being read by some culture specialists to ensure my handling of Roma culture is done properly. I expect to take another pass at the book toward the end of this month. That will mainly be focused on fixing the details. Misspelled words, consistency of description (did a character’s eye color change?)–as well as fixing any cultural issues that might be brought up. I know the book is currently being designed (meaning what the interior and exterior of the book will look like–fonts, any maps, cover, layout, etc.). I’ve seen a rough draft of the cover, and it should be pretty darn cool. I can’t wait to share it with everybody. Vodnik is still on course for publication in spring 2012. That’s in about a half year!
  • Tarnhelm–The first draft is done. My writing group is finishing reading it, which should be done by the end of this month, give or take a week. At that point, there’s a laundry list of Things I Want to Change in the book. Having written it in between Vodnik edits, I feel like the tone is too uneven in spots. There are some plot points that I forgot I’d written, which obviously is a problem. I’m very much a drafter–I like to barrel through the first draft and get everything on paper, then go back afterward and start tweaking. So I’ll give Tarnhelm a read through in a few weeks and figure out how to change what needs changing. At this point, however, I haven’t yet identified any drastic changes that need to be ironed out. (Then again, my writing group hasn’t gotten to the climax yet . . .) I’ll revise the book, then look for beta readers to read it all at once–a very different sort of feedback than I get from writing group, where it’s spread out chapter by chapter over months.
  • Weaver of Dreams–In the meantime, I’ve returned to this, the third book I ever wrote. I’m rereading the manuscript, red pen in hand, mainly to evaluate if I think the book is worth a hard revision. It’s been a while since I picked it up–probably about eight years or so at least. I’ve already found some areas that need a lot of work. (For example, the book has two main viewpoint characters. In my desire to make their voices sound different, I decided that one of them would never use contractions. Not one of my smartest artistic choices over the years. That can and will be fixed.) So far, I’ve been really happy to see that the book is holding up fairly well. Then again, I’m only 30 pages in to a 200+ page book. There are some foundational problems I’ve come across (the set up of the big picture plot, for example), but nothing that looks too bleak. We’ll see what the other 170 pages hold in store . . . I’m shooting to have this read through done by the end of the month, so that I can transition from it over to the Vodnik copy edit, and from that over to the Tarnhelm revision, and from that over to the (hoped for) Weaver of Dreams revision, at which point I’ll hop back to Tarnhelm to do the third draft.
Clear as mud? That should take me through the end of this year. I’ve got some ideas for new books that I want to write, as well. They’re percolating in the back of my mind, hopefully improving with age.
So there you have it–probably more information about my upcoming books than you ever really wanted to know. For those of you who have hung around this long, allow me to reward you with the promised Pigs in Space/Star Wars Mashup (because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen C-3PO tap dance):
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