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Revision, and How it Changes a Fella…

I started a novel back at the beginning of November.  I wrote well beyond the required fifty thousand words required for Nanowrimo and the annual challenge, and sometime in January, I finished.  The book came in between 80,000 and 90,000 words.  I immediately set it aside.  I don’t know how many know or remember, but things in my personal life took a sock to the teeth at the end of November, and I was in need of time to re-boot my brain and get the creative engines firing on all cylinders again.

Still, I have this novel.  I had a good pack of readers signed in who read it in installments as I wrote it, and I got some amazing feedback.  Overall, the response was very positive.  I also got a suggestion from one of the readers – a guy who took time out of his own busy life to help me put together a “bible” for this series of novels.  He suggested that I should read some of the novels by Jim Butcher about the character Harry Dresden.

I was leery of this advice for the simple reason that I did not want someone’s style (other than my own) to leak into my work.  Still, I wasn’t ready to do the revision yet, and I had / have a lot of nagging doubts and problems with my manuscript as it stands.  I went on over to Audible.com and downloaded the first Harry Dresden novel.  I listened to it on my recent trip to Baltimore, and I have to say – I’m a fan.  It’s quick moving, it immediately provides you with  a nice comfortable stable of regular characters and settings.  I don’t believe the books are remarkable in the way that you’d remember them for years to come – but that they ARE addictive in the way Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and other shows of that type can be.  I am currently reading the second in the series and will no doubt slog my way through every one of them.

Before I give the impression this is a book review, let me shift gears.  I did learn some things from the Harry Dresden novels that will affect how I revise “Heart of a Dragon,” which is an odd duck.  It’s the second Donovan DeChance novel, but if and when I get a mass market deal on the series, it will probably be the first released.  When I wrote and sold Vintage Soul, I did so in a bit more cavalier a manner than I should have.  I have learned some things, and I intend to make use of the knowledge.

For one thing, revising this novel very carefully and noting characters and settings that will recur.  I’m also trying to provide a bit more explanation of the magic involved to lend some weight and “gravity” to the prose.  Originally I intended to write these as if I were writing one of the World of Darkness novels I penned early in my career, only without the restrictions of writing in someone else’s world.  What I neglected to do was set proper restrictions for my own.

So…this revision is a careful one.  I’ve revised Chapter One three times and have had four passes at the ending of Chapter Two.  The book will be stronger for it…but it’s going to take some time.  I believe the outcome will be worth it.

Meanwhile – any blogs / websites / book reviewers out there willing to interview, review, or take a guest blog spot to promote Vintage Soul…contact me.  I’m ready and willing.  The book has gotten very little press, and it’s been out since December.

Now, back to my revision…


4 comments to Revision, and How it Changes a Fella…

  • Thanks for sharing your journey with Heart of a Dragon. I used to be fearful of reading anything while I was writing but I’ve come to believe that there’s nothing more helpful. I’m going to go read Chap One of Vintage Soul right now…

  • Bob Jones

    As clay contains the basic molecules and potential of a work of art to a sculptor, a first draft of a piece of writing contains basic ideas of an author. Revision is what ultimately forms it into a masterpiece. Learn to love it and reap its rewards.

    Thank you for the instructive peek into your personal writing world.


  • David Niall Wilson

    I have always been able to compartmentalize what I’m reading, and what I’m writing…I don’t think the two cross-pollinate, but I know that others say they can’t read anything similar to what they are writing…

    For me, it was just interesting to see what I’d done side-by-side with a nice, formulaic approach that is already successful.

  • Brian Hodge

    I’ve always felt that the perceived danger of reading someone else while you’re first-drafting or finalizing is an overblown phantom. Any stylistic whiff you pick up probably seems more pronounced from your own perspective than any readers.

    Besides, who’s to say one’s style can’t shift and shimmer from one project to the next?

    Basic style + Recent influence = Synergistic new voice

    Good luck on those revisions, Dave!

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