Monday, September 14, 2009

The Editing Blues

Well. That high is over. I spent two days working on my first chapter rewrite - being redone from the bones up. I think it' pretty good, but I've to the realisation that it may be all circus and no concession stand. In other words, is there really anything in this chapter for the reader to eat? I think it's exciting, there's a hook, danger, intrigue and a lure to lead the reader through the scene. Only... I seem to have forgotten about the drug war that is such a big deal in the next chapter. So I give the reader all this information (and it feels like there is so much information...) and then I have to give him more in the next. I have become very sensitive to the infodumps (as do all who spend any time on the Absolute Water Cooler...)

This isn't the only crises of faith. When I began this foolhardy adventure, my plan was a trilogy. Then I find out no one buys a trilogy, they buy the first book and if you're lucky, you get to do the second one. This trilogy is sort of based around the foolishness of a prophesy. Why have a prophesy if it's going to happen no matter what? It's rare that a prophesy says "Be on the corner of first and main on April 2nd or else..." It's always "Ben shall be born into a family of left handed gypsys and shall bring about their DHOOOOOmmmm...." Then all the left handed gypsys try to marry right handed gypsys so they won't have a family of left handed gypsys. Then... along comes young love among two foolish left handed gypsys, and along comes Ben, to destroy the peace of ten thousand years of gypsydom just like the prophesy said. So, I have a prophesy, and only the first step of it is completed by the end of this book. Obvious cliffhanger.

It looks like I might have to tell a backstory of the Dragongar. I know they are out there. My characters are adults, my female MC is around 28, and I could easily go back in time. I might have to delve into the reason the Brickmasters and Masons Guild are such rabid supporters of the Dragongar and all they do. Gah. National Novel Writing Month might come early to the house of Dragongar...

There would be a good side to this foolishment. I know this world backwards and forewards. I have maps. Histories. Family trees. "What the shell" occasionally flies out of my mouth. I could also delve more into the love of Baerwen and Jale, and Jale's family tragedy. I think I'm a much better writer now, and don't think it will take me 6 months to write one 500 page story.

Somebody - say a prayer for my sanity. Please.

ETA: I know I was just saying "I'm writing a trilogy, and you can all laugh at me for it" in a thread on AW. Feel free to laugh at me for reversing myself. It is simply that I realise I can't make book one END without seriously screwing with my idea, and I don't want to do that.


  1. Nothing stinks worse than an info dump, and it's not like you can cover it with topsoil and build a school on it.

    Info dumping is one of my bad habits too. It's just that sometimes I have so much to say and it's the quickest way. *sigh*

    I don't think there's anything wrong with writing a trilogy. Maybe "they" aren't buying trilogies, but if it's well written I'll bet someone will. Keep the fairy faith!

  2. Everyone always says "have the characters do it through dialog" - that is ridiculous sometimes. Especially when world building. And it makes me mad that a lot of the people who go off about info dumping don't write fantasy. It's like, HELLO! I've got a WORLD here! Sorry. snark over. And I am continuing with my edits. I just have a different focus for nano...

  3. oh god... the above sounds like I am a fan of info dumping... I just resent one sentence explaining what the Deliverers are being called an infodump.
    having trouble expressing herself

  4. I wouldn't worry about it too much. People say a lot of things don't work/you shouldn't do that actually do work, and are done by people who sell millions of books.

    The question you should ask yourself is not "is this an infodump", but "is it enjoyable?"

    You might also ask, "does the reader need to know this?", but generally I feel that "is it enjoyable" is a much better one. There are things your reader may not *strictly* need to know, but are enjoyable to know. That's part of the joy of fantasy--convincing the reader that there could be another world like this, sometimes through details that aren't necessarily relevant to the here and now.

    There is, of course, such a thing as going overboard. (I'm looking at you, spinning coffin of Robert Jordan.)

  5. ha! Yes, Salis, you make my heart grow warm. And I too, point and laugh at the spinning coffin of Robert Jordan... and the last book is going to be how many now?

  6. Yeah, I agree that the standard complaint about infodumping is a little ridiculous when you have a completely foreign setting that you need to at least IMPLY at the same time ...

  7. Just the fact that you are aware of an infodump means you're on the right track. Good luck with the writing process.