No More Lies update and some general thoughts on editing and revising

Posted by Shannon Haddock on March 26, 2015 in No More Lies, Writing process |
J.R.R. Tolkien

Cover of J.R.R. Tolkien

(And, man, am I good at short and pithy titles, or what?)

At the end of last July when I finished No More Lies I honestly expected it to be ready to release by now.  Some of the delay is, I freely admit, that I hate editing and revising and therefore always put it off as long as I can in hopes that one day a story will spontaneously revise itself.  Or that I’ll discover that my junior high and elementary teachers were right and my stuff is perfect in the rough draft.  By the way, if any of you teachers should ever happen to see this post, I’d like to have a talk with you about comma splices.

But most of the reason is that this story wasn’t supposed to be a novel.  The first two chapters were written when it was supposed to be a short story — a 3000ish word one at that.  They got a bit added to them when I changed it to a novella, but they still needed a lot of fleshing out to match the pace and feel of the rest of the book.  So then I had to go back over them to see if my additions broke anything else.

Then the third and fourth chapter were written when I thought it was going to be a novella.  So I’ve had to add bits to them too.  Not as much, but enough that they were more tricky to edit than expected.

Then there was the timeline glitch my spouse pointed out the other day that I discovered was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to timeline problems in the early chapters when I went to fix it.  An hour of editing time today was spent trying to fix the timeline without needing to rewrite the whole goddamned book, as several of the later events have to take place on certain dates or other works in the universe break.  Okay, so I doubt anyone else would notice if the date of someone’s birth was different between two works when the actual date isn’t given in either, but I’d know, and it would bother me.  I’m really, really bothered by timeline issues.  (Yes, GRRM‘s thing about how no one should try to work out an exact timeline for ASoIaF does drive me nuts, why do you ask?  And don’t get me started on the impossibility of the dates in Little Women …)

Add to this that I’ve recently been reading authors whose books come out on a much slower schedule than current author wisdom says is good for your career and noticing that they, in general, tend to be better than those of authors who release a book or more a year.  I’m not saying that there aren’t authors who don’t do wonderful work on a multibook per year schedule, I’m just saying that while it might be best from a “growing your brand” standpoint, it’s not always what’s best for the book.  And, as my wife has pointed out to me repeatedly, “Tolkien only wrote a few books.”

And then there’s the fact that I’ve already heavily revised and rereleased “Once A Hero, Always A Hero” and am planning to eventually do the same to Jake’s Last Mission.  And Crown of Eldrete really needed at least another punctuation pass before it was published, so it’ll be getting that someday.  In other words, I rushed them and it shows.  (I rushed them because of some very bad advice that said for an indie author quantity was more important than quality.)  I don’t want to be George Lucas, forever tinkering with things I’ve already released to make them what they should’ve been from the start*, but right now that’s what I’m doing.

So, from here on my policy on No More Lies is:  I’ll release it when it’s ready.  That might be later this year.  It might be next year.  It probably won’t be later than that.

But it might.  And that’s okay too.

Also, I posted a question about covers and blurbs a few days ago and would really like some feedback on that, if people could be so kind.



*Let’s not get into “Han shot first” or anything like that here.  Please.  Can we all just acknowledge that what Lucas wanted them to be and what fans wanted them to be were not the same thing?

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