Every new visible crack in the publishing infrastructure inspires me to move one of my eggs to a new basket. Accordingly, I’ve added a Payhip store to my direct sales options. Still only the same old ebooks there for now, but I’m ghost-administering a workshop through Payhip’s course platform and taking notes on how I can make better use of those features, so that’s a possibility for the distant future if I ever have a fraction of the influence of people who don’t write their own books and therefore can’t manage their own how-to-write workshops.
I also finally finished setting up Stripe as a payment option at both Payhip and Ko-Fi, for those who believe that option is any less evil than PayPal.1
Not gonna lie, dropping the first chunk of to-be-revised text into a new document crushed my battered spirit.2 Each subsequent draft demands less labor, but we have not yet reached the “breeze through making simple tweaks” stage. Because we’ve circled back to the very beginning, the burden again drops in its entirety upon my stooped shoulders, which is not a fun moment.
But there’s only one way to lessen that burden, so let’s pick up our teeny tiny chisel and chip off some words!3
That is, incidentally, how progress on this revision round will be measured: erosion of the 173,907-word boulder of the previous draft, calculated from what’s left after I cut-and-paste each batch of scenes into the current revision document.4
This chunk represents the first chapter. I decided at some point that chapters would be divided by date, so Story Day One is now behind us.
Since I’m prone to delayed “ooh, OOH, what about?” moments, a lot of my handwritten notes5 aren’t in chronological order. Each revision session therefore begins with flagging all the notes relevant to the scene under renovation. Skimming through the whole plan at the beginning of every scene also helps keep the Big Picture in mind, so when I stub my toe on an opportunity to connect to something from elsewhere in the book or series, I don’t just kick it aside and stomp straight ahead.
It’s time to pay for kicking the can on naming things. I needed a word for fairies or pixies, so I turned to my old friend, Google Translate.6 One of the words began with “glim,” which put me in mind of “glimmer,” which seemed an apt component for my made-up word. Several words included “cant” or “kant,” which is a root related to singing in several languages, which is relevant to the context in which I’m referencing the fairies. Bonus: When I searched for my provisional word, there were zero results on the whole worldly web, so there’s less likelihood an unintended meaning will come back to bite me in the ass later!7
I used those little critters to get rid of my super-riveting environmental infodump opening paragraph. Until now, I mentioned them only as an indication that this is a world where fantasy creatures exist, but I never actually showed you one. Now they serve that purpose and give Heroine a small nuisance to interact with before bigger nuisances arrive and support a forthcoming claim that the wild things are becoming more aggressive. Once again, Past Me provided everything I need. I don’t have to invent at this stage, just extract more value from what’s already lying around.
I spent a lot more time than I would have liked on the first scene.8 9 There’s a lot of pressure on the part of the book that determines whether anyone will read further, and although “perfection” isn’t on the agenda at this point, proceeding will be easier if the beginning is “right.” There will be things I can now cut, things I don’t have to write at all, and things I just need a couple of words to remind readers about, and I won’t have a ceaseless inner monologue that nothing I do later matters because the beginning sucks so thoroughly nobody will ever read past the first paragraph.10
Onward to single-scene Chapter 2!
- No wonder I’ve been exceptionally exhausted—I spent all of January’s spoons on administrative crap by the 5th.
- Motion to recontextualize “battered spirit” to mean “dipped in a solution of flour, liquid, egg, and seasonings and deep fried like onion rings” to make it more palatable.
- I keep trying to embrace “It doesn’t have to be perfect, only get better” to prevent stalling over a sentence, but as much as I struggle with this concept during rough drafts, it seems to get more difficult in revisions, when the whole point is measurable progress toward “perfect.” Sure, technically, I’m free to do an infinite number of revision passes until I achieve an acceptable level of quality, but I would actually like to be done with this book someday, and every “don’t worry about it, you can fix that later” punts “someday” further beyond the horizon.
- Yes, there’s an untouched draft of the previous revision and several backups in various locations. I’m butchering a save-as file created specifically for this purpose. I’ve been doing this far too long to be cavalier about the potential for data loss.
- Currently 27 pages of a composition notebook.
- The Finnish translation provided for fairy is “keiju.” No, it’s not pronounced like “kaiju,” but that in no way diminishes my enjoyment of imagining dueling pixies destroying Helsinki Godzilla-style.
- Ass biting is, of course, always a possibility. We can only do our best to reduce probability.
- Or rather, on the first two-ish pages of the first scene. The main activity of it basically needed an unnecessary paragraph cut, which wasn’t terribly time consuming.
- Also, I forgot this beginning was an addition during the first revision. Since this was actually the new beginning’s first revision, it’s no surprise it needed more work. The second scene (the original first) and the brief third received extremely minor touchups and were out of the way within a few hours.
- That may ultimately be the case! But it’s not something Self-Hating Brain can state with persuasive certainty at this moment in time.