Meta Monday: Help Me Tackle These Edits! (Please.)

crevlock-coverAs I’ve mentioned before, my web-serial Crevlock Tower needs some major edits before I publish it as a novel. In fact, I’m feeling daunted.

For one thing, I wrote the story in the first person, which would have been fine if I’d stuck with Aric’s point of view. But partway through, I felt like Shocha deserved to have his say. (Bad enough that he was mute, without me silencing his thoughts too.)

And so I wrote some chapters from his perspective, also in the first person. But that makes the whole thing a tough read, I think. I don’t like switching from character to character in a first-person story. So I feel like I should overhaul the whole thing and use a close third person point of view instead, switching more often between the two protagonists.

And that’s just one issue. My initial outline for this story didn’t quite work, but neither did my improvisation! Don’t mistake me—the gist of the story is fine, I think. But I need to streamline the plot and make better use of the supporting characters.

I want to tackle this. I do. But I freeze up every time I try!

I just can’t muster up the energy and gumption I need to start powering through these edits. So what gives? Is it too soon? Do I need to be better disciplined as a writer and just get on with it? Or do I just need to recognize that, yeah, this job a little overwhelming?

I need some help, my friends. How do I convince myself to tackle these edits?

About Jenn Moss

Author * Web Serialist * Virtual Addict
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11 Responses to Meta Monday: Help Me Tackle These Edits! (Please.)

  1. ‘Major edits’ does sound quite overwhelming and even a little disheartening, a bit like knitting something and then unpicking it to start again. Are you sure you need these major changes? (Lots of excellent novels have different parts related from different protagonists) If yes, maybe it would help to start small – commit to working on a few chapters at a time in between working on other projects? I’m facing editing my thesis from ten years back after hiding from the task all this time so I know the feeling…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. 🙂

      I am second-guessing myself on the first person versus third person thing. But I feel like that’s out of laziness, alas.

      On the other hand, if I can get the plot under control, maybe I’ll find that Aric and Shoch taking turns on a first-person narrative will start working better.

      Either way, good luck on your thesis!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. inkbiotic says:

    I think it’s ok to write from the viewpoint of two characters (I do that in my book, one character first person, the other third), but if it feels wrong, then maybe you need to play some more.
    I find editing tough! I’m hopeless at it, which is why I have quite a regimented method for doing it, not sure if it will work for you, but maybe worth a try…
    Sometimes it’s my unconscious brain that need to be used, for that I:
    1. Read through beginning to end. 2. Do something else for a few days, not writing. Make notes on anything that occurs to me. 3. Look at it again. Often I figure it out without thinking about it at all.
    If that doesn’t work, I have to bite the bullet and do it all consciously, which means making loads of notes and plans – draw the plot and perspectives out on bits of paper, write the synopsis as a single document, writing which character sees what. That all gives me a new way of looking at it, which can help.
    Anyway, good luck with it! You’re a talented writer, so you’ll figure it out, it might just take a bit of time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      In a weird way, this might work for me. I tend to write extensive outlines–and I did that for Crevlock, but then I didn’t follow it. Maybe if I go back and, essentially, re-outline now, it will do the trick! So thank you. 🙂

      P.S. After reading all the comments here, I’m definitely putting aside the POV question until after everything else is done. Then I’ll confront it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joan Enoch says:

    I haven’t read Crevlock Tower, having only quite recently found your blog – so maybe I’m not qualified to comment.
    But – using first person narrative should be okay – for more than one character – as long as it is labelled or indicated in some strong way – I see your ‘Chapter 1’ is labelled ‘Aric’ – and then you go into the story from Aric’s point of view, using first person narrative.
    When you switch to Shocha – if that section or chapter is labelled (I’d say in the same way you did with ‘Aric’) – then you should be able to go into Shocha’s point of view using first person.
    After that, if it reads okay, all through – you can follow it – it should be okay.
    Sometimes, the reader is disappointed to be leaving one character, but if the other character is interesting, the reader should get over that, and get interested in what the second character thinks.
    If you write in third person, after all, you still need to have some way – a chapter break, or section break, say, to indicate when it is someone else closely giving their view of things (but in close third person).
    For me – there is no substitute for reading something over (again) – but you can get to the point where you can’t see it any more – your brain won’t take it. At that point, you need to leave it for a while again – you’re doing no good anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Thanks for this! Yes, I’ve gradually become convinced that maybe the duel first-person POVs might work after all. (And yeah, each section is clearly labeled as Aric or Shocha.) Or that, at the very least, I should worry about POV last.

      I will start re-reading Crevlock over the long weekend I’ve got coming up. I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it–if my brain can’t take it, though, I’ll definitely take your advice and set the story aside for a little longer.


  4. My $0.02 and probably not worth that!

    You’re tackling too many things at once.

    First, fix the plot. There is no point on working on anything else until the plot is ready. Why? You could spend a bunch of time reworking the other stuff, only to rewrite it when you fix the plot. And, frankly, that’s the most important part. Put your energy there first.

    Second, decide if you want first or third. First is fabulous as it keeps the reader closer to the action. But if it doesn’t work for the story, it doesn’t work.

    Finally, once you’ve decided first or third, you can choose point-of-view. I’ve never read a first person told from more than one POV, but very few books I read are first person. This is because I mostly read romance. Its usually written in third person and you see the world between the hero and heroine’s perspective.

    My genre preference may influence this as well, but I, personally, dislike hopping between too many characters. I expect to move between the hero and heroine no that’s it. As the books I read aren’t Game of Thrones, this works fine. If an author breaks this, it pulls me out of the story as I try to figure out what is going on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      This advice is worth much more than 2 cents. 🙂

      I did keep the two view point characters down to just Aric and Shoch, at least. And since the story is about a cagey romance between them, they’ll remain the two viewpoint characters. (That romance is another reason I wanted to give Shoch a voice, and not just Aric.)

      Which is not to say that a single character, first-person POV romance can’t work. Josh Lanyon pulls it off all the time. But I think I agree with you in that it’s good to get the perspective of both protagonists. (And that might be especially true here, since Shocha’s culture is so alien to Aric. It would be unfair if Aric were the only one to describe it.)

      Anyway, I think you’re right. I should tighten the plot first. I already know I’m keeping Aric and Shoch as the only two viewpoint characters, so after I nail down the specifics of the plot, I can think about whether the first person still suits or if I should switch it to third. (And, yes, I think you’re right and that doing it in this order will save me a lot of work in the long run!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin Hobb uses 1st person narrative as Fitz throughout the three books of the Assassin series and does it brilliantly. In her scheme, Fitz is personally involved in such a great number of events, his life so intimately entwined with others, that she is able to provide a sweeping narration of the entire Six Duchies and beyond. She even paints the other characters so vividly that they are often on center stage. I was just as (or more so) emotionally invested in secondary characters as I was in Fitz.

    If Shocha is receiving too little attention, you might still fix it in 1st person without rewriting the whole book.

    Other than that, I think Elizabeth Rose nailed it above, break it into issues, assign priorities, and take up one at a time.

    Good luck on your writing. I know it’ll be great.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jenn Moss says:

    I haven’t read Robin Hobb, but I do love when an author can use a single character’s first person narrative to showcase so many other characters! (So I will have to add Robin Hobb to my ever-expanding to-read pile.)

    In this case, though–yeah, I’m going to stick with both Aric and Shoch as viewpoint characters. I might even stick with them as first-person viewpoint characters. But, per all the advice above, I’ll worry about everything else first, and then decide what to do about first vs. third!


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