When Do You Dare Let Go?

Lately, Team Trian has been working madly on Solus , (hence the blog silence, sorry about that, in case someone reads this stuff, hah), and for a few sweet hours, we thought that thing was ready for submission.

But no.

It’s not. It’s really not. And this must be the 11th draft! We are starting to wonder whether it’s us, whether we just suck so badly that we can’t get it done or whether it is actually normal for a novel to take years and a gazillion drafts to be finished.

Our main problem is the length. We have to cut it down to, say, at least 180k. Space operas can be quite long, even those by new writers, and it seems we won’t be able to cut it any shorter than that.

Second problem is the amount of telling. Truth is, the prose is stronger and more effective when we show instead of right-out tell (we aren’t slaves to this “rule,” but it’s got a point!), and it’s a slow process to find the best way to convey Thing X in the most effective possible way.

Third problem is, how to put it delicately, some major new-writer rule-breakage. Italics for thoughts? Check (though way, way, way less than there used to be). Names for chapters? Check. Oh and the length, that’s a problem too, probably the biggest one, but it seems we’re going to have to live with all these “faults,” and hope that someone somewhere some day saw something potential in this manuscript… or else it’s self-pubbing for us.

Then there’s the technical side: formatting and grammar. Are the commas in the right place? Have we remembered every hashtag? Do we capitalize foreign words that would be capitalized in English but not in the other language?

How have you, dear published writers, jumped over these hurdles? Or perhaps you ram right through? When do you let go of your baby? How many drafts does it take? How high have you set up the bar and how much do you forgive yourselves?

We’ll be pondering this tonight while kicking some ass (read: have our asses kicked) in Medieval fencing and wrestling class and modern boxing class (yay for shitty time management and over-ambitious scheduling!).

Peace out and shoulder-punches all ’round!

T&K

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4 thoughts on “When Do You Dare Let Go?

  1. Welll, I kinda just blasted through it, had a three-day sulk when my alpha/beta-reader/editor/friend/nemesis told me I ought to do a full rewrite, did the full rewrite, had my alpha/beta-reader etc. go through it with a fine-toothed comb and polish it up, sent it off to a few beta-readers, incorporated or dismissed their comments, read through it another four times to take out the last few spelling mistakes, then published it…
    Need a beta-reader? Happy to volunteer…

    • Thank you for sharing, Erica 🙂 Sounds like it’s been a time-consuming process to you as well. It’s disheartening when some writers say they’ve finished their ms in a week, sent it to their editor who then fixes the grammar/formatting etc., and then it’s good to go to be pubbed on Kindle. Wondering about the quality of those works… Yet they still sell!

      And YES, if you have time and interest, we’d love it if you could beta-read Solus, even if just a portion (and we’d be happy to return the favor!) 🙂

  2. I rewrote my first novel for about twenty years. Mind you, I started it when I was twelve, so most of those rewrites were well-deserved.

    But italics for thoughts? I do it. Names for chapters? I do it. Length? Don’t gut your work because of an arbitrary number. I took a lot of text out of my first novel while trying to pitch it around for publication because I felt self-conscious about the word-count, but I realized (too late?) that I needed those parts, and shoehorning them back in didn’t work as smoothly as I would have liked.

    It’s nice to sell, I’m sure, but do you want to put out a product you’ve twisted into the market’s shape, or a product you love?

    There’s a middle ground somewhere. I’m still looking for it. But I self-published because I knew that any more work I did on the story would just be taking me in circles, and I have five more books to put out. No publisher wanted it at the time, but maybe they will some day. Until then, I’m making progress on the rest of the series and I’m happy. What else is there?

    (Well, beside money.)

    • Gutting is definitely a concern. We have a mammoth in our hands, the plot is complex (hopefully NOT due to our incompetence, hah), and the world unfamiliar to the reader, so it’s important to make it all clear enough without overdoing it, but even if we keep it simple, the word count is going to be hefty. We’ll see how our new revise will work… (based on beta reader feedback, we’ll downsize one character’s role which helps with cutting down the word count), but one thing we’d loathe to do is murder our work for, well, money, in essence, because in order to get an agent/publisher, the work has to be sellable. If this manuscript refuses to shrink to acceptable limits (which isn’t THAT far, thank God), we’ll self-pub, plain and simple.

      Thank you for your input, it’s really helpful to hear how others have tackled these issues!

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