Monday, 21 January 2013

Aging Words

This is a pretty internalized post, and if you’re interested in looking into my brain, then read on. There might be a bit of wisdom in it for anyone else out there who’s writing, or is stuck writing.

The title of this post might be a little bit misleading, maybe, I haven’t quite decided. Allow me to just jump to it and explain, and we can work through it together. I have been in the middle of rewriting my book Black Gates (working title) from scratch. I wrote a post on it a few weeks back talking about how I’d missed the tone of the first novel by making it a little bit too comedic; but then I liked the comedy aspect, and so I had just gone back to rewrite the whole thing.

There was a part of me at the time, however many weeks ago that was, that had decided it would be too much work to try and salvage any of the book. That it would just be easier if I were to toss the old one aside, keep the bones of the story, and redo it all from scratch, which is what I’ve been doing. The other night, though, I accidentally opened the wrong copy in word, and ended up reading everything I had written. The problem was, I liked it, a lot. There were sections that could definitely be replaced, but there was a lot of material that was absolutely solid. With a few minor tweaks to tone or internal dialogue, I could have miles of top notch writing just waiting to be slipped into my current version. I, of course, am now doing this, partially out of like for the old work and partially out of being excessively lazy and the fact that this launches me a good twenty thousand words further ahead than where I was before.

The title of this post, though, connects back to me fusing in my old work because when I had originally set the book aside, I’d really not liked much at all. I’d found it to be a very odd blend of serious and comedic fantasy, with dull characters and not enough power behind the words to make the worlds come alive. Now, I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was able to meld the current style of the new version with the concepts from the first, or if it was the time I took apart from the writing, or possibly both, but suddenly I really like what I’d written. The worlds are vibrant, the scenes amusing and bizarre, the characters are likable, and the text pleasant to read. This is not just an excuse to lay praise upon myself, because really, I thought it was bad before—to the point of just writing it all over again. The point that I’m trying (poorly) to make, is that there seems to be a disconnect with me when I’m writing in the way that I can’t just sit back and read the text as a book—it stays as a more technical barebones plot skeleton.

I experienced this to a smaller degree when I was editing Dreamstate: Dark Eyes. I hadn’t read the book for a good six weeks, and I figured that I should give it a quick look through before doing a technical edit. Everything was different on that pass, though, the book popped in a way that I hadn’t experienced with my writing before. I was reading for enjoyment, rather than a technical ‘make sure nothing is missing or the timeline matches up’ sort of way. I hadn’t really given it much thought at the time, as I was in the middle of getting a novel ready for publishing, but things are a bit more relaxed right now, and I have the time to muse. I’m sure that I’m just experiencing this same phenomenon with Black Gates, but man, it really gives me a new perspective on ways that I can interact with my own work. It’s a way of connecting that’s just so entirely different from how I normally look at my writing that I think honestly, I’m going to have to start taking some time off at the end of a book to let it sit before reading it again. I believe that the potential vantage point it gives me will be very much worth the wait.


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