If Thine Eye Offends Thee

Edit it.

I started re-reading Emprise, in order to understand where I went awry. I quickly decided it would be impossible to tell, as my writing style has changed so dramatically in the last year to be unrecognizable as compared to my first three books. In a word, the opening to Emprise stinks.

That left me with 3 alternatives: ignore it (which I would NEVER do), pull it from the shelf, or fix it. I chose the latter. I made it painfully through the 1st chapter tonight, pulling out 840 words. My goal is to cut at least 15,000 words of shite, crap, unnecessary material by the end of the book. It will be painful.

I suppose I should delight in this, since it means I’ve truly grown as a writer. I remember when this was my pride and joy, the book “I cared about.” Now, I’m embarrassed by it. Absolutely everything I’ve written this year has been better.

I’m not sure about timing, since I want to continue working on Jeanne Dark, which will be emotional, romantic, dark, and upsetting. I suspect it will be my best work to date, and hard as hell to write. We’ll see if editing Emprise is a respite or something that blocks my flow. If it’s the latter, I’ll just pull Emprise until I decide it’s good enough.

The real truth is this: everything I write in the 1st-person POV is better than everything I write in 3rd person. But re-writing a book from 3rd to 1st is substantially harder than scrapping the whole thing and starting anew. I’m no longer enamored enough with fantasy fiction to do that. Instead, I’ll tighten the descriptors and really emphasize the romance and emotional content of the story.

It’s amazing how being in love changes one’s perspective, no?

Now, to figure out what to do about the two short stories that need editing. Those, I want people to read.


  1. amysomday says:

    I have looked at photos I took with my point and shoot in 2009, they really suck, but the memory of who I was with when I took them and the journey we had as friends at that time are captured in the images. I have grown as a photographer and learned lessons about friendship since then…To go back and labor over something like that would not make me a better photographer, nor a better friend…it would just allow me time to dwell in a place I have walked away from and pain over something that is just fine where I left it.
    Maybe it’s better to not rebuild the stairs unless you plan on going back down the staircase.

    1. Amy, the only reason for doing so is that I still think this is a story that needs to be read. The book got beautiful by the middle, and I need to fix the stairs so that people can get down there to see it. If it’s not salvageable, I’ll walk away content. I’ve never considered it to be finished, which is why there’s no paper version.

  2. Ishaiya says:

    I agree with Amy to an extent, however being a writer myself I know that there is no reason not to rewrite pieces. Literature is different from photography in that it is a more fluid process, and will change as you change. Some stories just take longer to tell than others, and the rewriting is an inevitable part of the process, also a healthy one I think. It keeps a story dynamic because you allow it to grow with you. So if you want to rewrite it, then rewrite it, don’t deny yourself that pleasure. Why have a book you don’t like sitting in your archives gathering dust if you could make it better?
    I started writing a novel years ago about a Shaman who lived over a thousand years ago in what is now Scandinavia. I thought it was great at the time I was writing it. Recently I pulled it out and posted a couple of chapters on one of my blogs, and it was suddenly obvious to me how much re-editing it required, although the base concept still has potential. It’s a book I know I will keep writing and re-editing until I feel happy that I have done the story and characters in the book justice. Keep doing what you’re doing my love.

    1. I can see both sides, and argued them with myself last night. The bottom line came down to this book is still important to me, and I didn’t “finish” it. A friend went to a writer’s workshop, and came away excited with a single piece of information, which I keep in mind. The speaker said that we should write as quickly as possible, because we constantly change, and six months from now, the book won’t be the same one we’d write today.

      That’s definitely true here. I hear your feedback, and the feedback from people on this blog, like my friend Christina (http://christinahawthorne.wordpress.com/) who sees more emotional content in my work, and I’m thinking maybe now I’m ready to fix this book. We’ll see.

      1. Ishaiya says:

        Well if it helps, then it’s good feedback.

  3. All emotions color perspective, but love is the one in this world that’s closest to magic…less like Vegas and more like OZ on steroids with a huge CGI budget. It’s a creative treasure. Hold on to it.

    Writing is a birth to death learning experience. Most of the time we’re in the “right place” emotionally and intellectually at the time we conceive of an idea, but not always. Sometimes we can revisit past work and other times the window has passed, gone forever. Only you can make that decision concerning your work. My guarantee is that you’ll learn no matter what path you take, and there are many. Believe me, I’ve written my share of “unnecessary,” cringe-worthy material. Yet, as you say, it’s rewarding to see how much your skill as advanced. As for the talent, well, that’s always been there. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Christina. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling – that the window is closing, and if I don’t fix it now, I never will. I can see that, since a lot of the energy between my characters that I originally loved, I find annoying now.

  4. Wow, same going on here I have been looking at photos I shot 2-years ago some I trashed some reworked. Moving forward is great but looking back once in awhile lets us realize how much we have grown as artists.

    1. I agree. I think it’s a healthy self-assessment and part of growth.

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