May 7th, 2009


Eclipsing the obvious with the oblivious, daily.

Okay, follow the timeline with me here for a moment. On July 2nd, 2008, I started a major revision of Late Eclipses of the Sun, aka, "Toby Daye, book four." On December 15th, 2008, I gave it to my agent for review...and on January 15th of this year I started a second major revision, because the book had some issues, and those issues could only be solved through the application of more machete. Much, much more machete.

Last night, on the plane somewhere between Michigan and California, I typed "the end" once more, closed the file, and called it good. The current book stats:

Pages, 389.
Words, 107,089.
Chapters, thirty-five.
Cans of DDP, beyond counting.

Please compare these to the book stats before I started my revision:

Pages, 417.
Words, 115,310.
Chapters, thirty-six.

Oh, and did I mention that—at one point during the revision process—the book managed to swell to a high-water mark of approximately 118k? Yeah. This was a book in need of some serious surgery, and now that the surgery has been performed, I can look at the manuscript and not feel like a match would improve it immensely. (I have a real love/hate relationship with my work. I love it while I'm creating it. I love it six months after it's finished. Immediately after it's finished, I would really love to set it on fire.) At some point during the revision, even the book's name got tighter, becoming Late Eclipses and skipping that whole "sun" thing entirely.

So now I'm tossing my innocent manuscript into the wolverine pit with my hungrily slavering initial readers, who will gut it and play hackysack with its kidneys for a little while; then I'll send it off to The Agent, and resume prodding at The Brightest Fell, aka, "Toby Daye, book five," aka, "Seanan, honey, can we please wait for Rosemary and Rue to come out before you finish the second set of three?"

In conclusion...


A few quick footnotes for the floor.

1. The Rosemary and Rue ARC giveaway is still running, from now through Whenever I Happen To Get Up Tomorrow Morning. So assume that I'll be announcing the winner sometime between five and eight AM PST (which is when I'll be coherent enough to deal with complex things like "the random number generator" and "counting").

2. Because I'm doing the drawing so early in the day, if you win, and you're able to get me your mailing address with reasonable alacrity, your ARC may actually go out in tomorrow's mail. I'm just saying.

3. Late Eclipses continues to be finished, which has me rather at lost ends. I figure I'll finish this zombie short story that I'm working on, and then crack open Discount Armageddon, see what Verity and the gang have been up to while I was away. Nothing says "relaxation" like "getting straight to work on a different book."

4. I am officially sick. Thank you, coughing people on my plane and annoying small child whose parents refused to make you stop kicking the back of my seat. Thank you so much.

5. My play list consisting of nothing but versions of the song "Rain King" by the Counting Crows is now two hours long, and incredibly soothing. If you've ever wondered why that song was my current music so much of the time, well...this is why.

6. Zombies are still love.

Thoughts on Writing #28: For the Critics.

Today brings us to the twenty-eighth essay in my ongoing series of essays on the art and craft of writing, all of which are based around my fifty thoughts on writing. We're not quite on what I'd call "the home stretch" yet, but we're definitely more than halfway there. That's nice to think about. Anyway, here's our other thought for today:

Thoughts on Writing #28: For the Critics.

In case that's too boiled-down to make sense, here's today's expanded topic:

Kevin Smith said "this isn't for the critics" when he was talking about Jersey Girl, and the critics savaged it anyway. There's a lesson here. You can't write to some imagined critical ideal, but if all eleven of the people you trust to review your first drafts say "wow, this makes no sense at all, what the hell is going on here?", you should maybe consider taking another look. Pandering is bad. Being accessible is not.

"Not for the critics" is an interesting concept to me, because it implies that anyone who's going to be in the least critical of a thing doesn't have the right to enjoy it—and more, that I don't get to have an opinion about a thing I love if it isn't entirely positive. Slither is possibly my favorite movie in the world, but the zombie deer looks damn fake. Hairspray would have been even more fun if they'd kept "Cooties," since taking it out renders Amber toothless. Stephen King has written some stuff I didn't like. Does that mean these things weren't for me?

Pandering and accessibility are two different things, and none of us are ever above critique. Honestly, that's a good thing. With me so far? Good. Let's begin.

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