Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Argh, not finished

It’s the 21st of December and Christmas is in four days and I really, really want to get this revision of LAHN done by Christmas, but you know, I’m starting to think it isn’t going to happen. By New Years, probably, but Christmas? Maybe not.

This is so provoking. Here is the path to full revision for this particular WIP:

Started reading from the top. Read nine chapters the first day, thought, Well, this isn’t bad!

The next day, read through five or six more chapters. Going along swimmingly, making just tiny little tweaks here and there. Decide, Yay, I can probably finish this whole revision by tonight. (This was the 14th.)

Hit chapter 17 and the whole story just . . . dissolves into chaos. I’m all like, WAIT, WHAT? Apparently that’s as far as I got when I started the revision before, sometime earlier this fall.

Skim through the remaining chapters in a state of appalled fascination. Who wrote Chapter 18? Was that me? What was I thinking? Gosh, Chapter 19 is no better. Chapter 20 isn’t so bad, the momentum picks up again (finally), but this one major plot twist is stupid. Also unnecessary, that whole plot twist can be cut completely, why is it even here?

Back up and read the end of Chapter 17. Then cut two chapters completely and begin to carefully splice the end of the book back into the late-middle section, with frequent pauses to stare into space and consider just how to get the splice to work.


So, yeah, this has been a ridiculously annoying week. With a complete pause now and then to read other people’s books. Gosh, those final drafts looks so smooth. Can’t wait till this draft looks more like that.

Which it will.

But probably not before Christmas.

Let me add that yes, it is remarkable how different the writing experience can be from one book to the next, even when you have written . . . let me see . . . getting pretty close to twenty novels, counting both published and unpublished. Oh, wait, it’s 22, counting that trilogy I broke up into WINTER and THE WHITE ROAD.

Twenty-two novels and the entire last third of this one is a total mess, in a way that is unusual for me, but not, I think, completely unheard of. Though I don’t think I ever ditched 20,000 words out of the last third of a manuscript before. I do believe this is a record. Hopefully it will stay that way.

As a side note:

I’m glad I did one final copy editing pass through DOOR INTO LIGHT. Many trivial typos — well, not that many, but a good handful — and four excruciatingly embarrassing typos. The very worst was typing “kill” when I meant “kiss” — a tiny bit of a difference there. Can you imagine if that had gotten into the finished book? I sure can. Vividly.

For some reason page numbers vanish on even-numbered pages halfway through the book. That is, I think, the worst flaw remaining, and frankly I’m not sure it is all that noticeable or important given the odd page numbers are right there.

I may add a bit of teaser material. Just gotta think what. The first chapter of BLACK DOG, maybe; that’s the easiest. One of the shorter stories from BEYOND THE DREAMS? Maybe, maybe, I’ll think about it.

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3 Comments Argh, not finished

  1. Elaine T

    Isn’t this the one where you wrote the chapters all out of order and figured things out kinda late?
    Then be really pleased that so much looks great.

    We’ll wait.

  2. Rachel

    Well, yes, and that’s probably good advice. Sigh.

    Now attempting to be moderately satisfied with the progress I made this morning.

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