Returning to Hollow

Look! A post about writing! WOOHOO!

I feel bad about not having returned to Hollow for most of the fall semester. I had told myself that I would get back to it in the spring, but that was before the deferring of the comprehensive exams, the anxiety attacks, and the convergence of work and school to make me feel rather helpless and creatively immobile. The fact that I managed to start those two podcasts is a bit remarkable. I’m still finishing up an audiobook and planning to start at least one more rather soon, but… recording rarely causes me stress.

Here’s the thing, though… I’m not just a narrator and voice artist when it comes to the creative side of things. I write. I write often. I have work out in multiple formats; there are a few short stories in different genres, there’s one full-length standalone novel that I co-wrote, and there’s a superhero series where I am one of four authors for three novels so far. But, I’m still working on the solo novel with Hollow, and I often wonder if that may be what pushes me over the edge in the writing realm.

I’m on the fourth draft of Hollow, and I confess that each draft is more and more difficult to approach. The comments from my beta readers have helped greatly, and I learned a lot more about how I write and what I need to do to improve my writing. Hiring an editor (and I can’t say enough about how amazing Sue Baiman is with her mad editorial skills) was one of the best choices I made during the writing process; the comments and suggestions that I received not only helped me to consider what choices I made with the characters but it also affected how I wrote other pieces at the same time. I confess, I probably did things a bit backward, because I sought out beta readers after the editorial process. Some of the comments were consistent with the editor notes, and others seemed to point out some bigger problems with my writing that story.

One of the notes that I got from a beta reader was that I wasn’t taking advantage of the setting that I had created. I had a very dynamic corner of the world for my characters, and I confined them to three or four places. Some of my choices for characters didn’t make sense, especially with all of the information that I wanted to put into the story. Sometimes, I had difficulty with the “show, don’t tell” with my protagonist; I had problems getting into his head and putting enough emotion into the character. Other times, I wanted to stay away from specific tropes with the main characters so as not to fall into a particular format.

I’m not sure what the best ‘restart’ for the draft would be. I probably need to decide what I want to change and see where, in the current printed draft, I can make those changes. Between the second and third drafts, I took a lot of time to rewrite some characters and investigate the backstory so I could better understand why I had characters acting and reacting the way that they did. Now, I’m torn between continuing what I started with the fourth draft or stopping and restarting.

Getting through this process is trying, certainly. I don’t think I’ve done this amount of editing on any other project, especially in terms of rewrites. I would like to think that getting through this phase so as to make it the final draft is is my best interest, but I also know that making that kind of statement is a little silly. There’s a fine line between working to a complete story and overworking the story so it never gets finished. At some point, it’s going to be important for me to just let the story go.

But, not yet. There is still work to be done on this draft, and I think it’s time that I got back to it.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 9:56 pm and is filed under hollow. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Returning to Hollow”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    I’m glad you’re getting back to writing. That is good. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    Revision can be harder than writing the first draft. Especially when you’ve got feedback that says the reader wants more of *this* in *that* section, but when you look at the section it just flows so well there isn’t a place to put anything more in there without breaking it.

    But sometimes, you have to break it and rebuild it and get it to set up until it is solid again. It is a lot like fixing bones that have healed wrong. You have to break them, re-align them, and prey that it heals.

    But it is so worth doing.