Thoughts on Writing, Rewriting, & etc.

So, John Rickards is deep in rewrite mode, and I must admit that as a mostly-unpublished writer who’s written nine books and god-knows-how-many-short-stories, I find it deeply comforting that even writers under 3-book contracts write shitty first drafts.

I spent yesterday working on book two of the fantasy saga, Over Burning Cities, which is shaping up to be a far stronger and more powerful book than poor book one, which has yet to find a home anywhere (for the better? I don’t know). I also reread some of book one, and tinkered with some clunky dialogue, tried rewriting a couple of the scenes in the latter half of the book. It’s a book I’m still not happy with.

I keep opening up Jihad, the latest stand-alone book-in-progress, and wincing at almost every moment of it. There are things I like – I think the characters and setting are neat, but the pacing is too slow and the dialogue (like most of my dialogue) is clunky. The problem with a first draft of anything new is that I don’t often figure out my characters until the end of the book, at which point I have to go all the way back to the beginning and rewrite everyone from scratch so that they’ve got distinct voices and all of the action makes sense. This is probably why I’m enjoying Over Burning Cities more than the other two book projects – I’m dealing with characters I already got to know in book one, or characters I’d written about in prior books.

Opening up all these files and staring at them hasn’t made me feel much better, and I went through my usual question-and-answer period.

“Why the hell am I doing this? Why should I bother trying to sell this crap?”

“Because you’re going to do it anyway. Might as well try and make some money off it.”

I’m wondering if I’m letting the fact that I’m *not* getting paid take away some of the glee of writing. I keep looking at the top shelf of the book case in the living room that I’ve set aside for books/publications I’ve shown up in, and it’s terribly sad to only see the same two magazines there month after month (the rest of my sales have been online).

Just another tired day.

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