Repeat After Me Writers, ‘I Will Be Patient.’

As much as I hate having to wait, telling myself to be patient today has become a lifesaver. This afternoon, while sitting in the first peak of warm sun since June, I had to completely re-write and plot my chapter four. I just kept beating myself up with the hard questions.

How does this advance the plot?
Can I live without this part?
Why is this character in here?
Will my readers find this section engaging?

And so on and so forth *bats head with a mallet*

Why is it so disheartening to come across a chapter in your first draft that needs a complete overhaul? Because, you’re just itching to be finished with the manuscript. I mean, how many times can you read your give-or-take 100,000 words?

I have to admit. I’ve read several indie author books now, ones that are mid-list and the most common mistake I see is authors using info dumps to deliver fantastical concepts. Once upon a long long…okay two years ago, I was studying philosophy at university. And honestly, info dumps on fantastical concepts is like reading a philosophy paper on metaphysics. It’s hard to stomach, it takes time and effort to digest what’s going on, and ultimately, the concept only needs explaining in so much as it relates to the character. It just seems like common sense to me.

Now I’m scared. That’s a pretty strong opinion to put out there to my handful of followers. But one day I’ll get feedback on my own weaknesses, and I’m sure I have them in abundance. Oh well… *thickens skin*.

I just don’t want my readers to skip sentences or words. Roll their eyes. Or think ‘what the hell is going on here?’

Admittedly, I have a pretty short attention span and if I’m not engaged or entertained… I will stop reading a novel (don’t be surprised I’m impatient… it’s why I am struggling with editing), but I don’t want the first novel I float out into the quagmire of the publishing world to be ‘half-finished’.

I will be patient. Repeat after me. ‘I will be patient!’

Keep at it. Keep editing. Keep culling, writing, re-writing and even more-re-writing. All too often I see reviews on self published Amazon pages saying ‘if only the writer had edited a little more’ and ‘if only the writer had fixed the formatting errors’.

Those things can be fixed. It just takes time. Quality work and quantity of work… that’s what we need to balance.

Am I right?

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Comments: 2

  1. Nicole Bross September 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I feel like this about my first two chapters. I’m both dreading and looking forward to rewriting them because nothing less than a complete overhaul is going to make them readable. In the meantime I like to think of them as placeholders – text that’s there until I can put the really good stuff in. It helps when I’m obsessing over all their problems at a time when I just want to finish the first draft. I like your hard questions – I’ll keep them in mind when I get to the revision stage!

    • kjcolt September 13, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Sometimes, our first two chapters are actually like information/backstory for the writer. I’ve written information dump scenes, then cleaned them up, cut most of the ‘waffle’ out and what’s left is an actual scene, rather than exposition, or forced dialogue that my reader will just skip over. I do sympathise with the need to re-write an entire chapter, it’s quite a slog and a lot of work. I just re-wrote two chapters in my novel, and after implementing 5 more subplot lines, I’m rewriting the rest of the novel. It’s a long process, but…one worth working towards. Don’t lost hope! From one writer to another…. 🙂