Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm Calling it Finished

This morning I have been looking at the bottom of page 105 (in part three - this time I have written with only scene break and divided the document up into three parts) and realizing that in order to really pull all the threads of the story together to reach a good end I need to go back to the beginning - so for me this means first draft is done. Once I go to the beginning again it will be start of major work especially as poor Penderown has been written in large chunks separated by months at a time. It is very disjointed however the basic story is there. Now it needs to rest....

So onto the next project...I spoke a bit about my Cornerstones' Workshop and that it gave me fuel for thought.....I had a one-on-one with Julie Cohen in which she played devil's advocate. It made me stop and think through exactly what I was going to do next. Based on her experience she felt I should now just look forward - leave A Cornish House resting, finish the draft of Penderown and move onto Pilgrimage - not to look back. These were fighting words! Since I took up the fiction mantle again after years absence I have learned to love the that which I had despised - the rewrite. I worked August Rock to death (but this year breathed life into it again by yet another rewrite) and A Cornish House has not be rewritten many times (total 4 which included the one for the NWS submission this summer which I didn't feel was a full rewrite as I was so rushed) as I didn't want to make the mistake of killing it with rewrites BUT I can see its faults now and I think I can fix them without losing its soul.

So I chewed on Julies words - I respect her opinion. I quizzed Helen Corner over coffee. She looked at it differently than Julie. She asked was A Cornish House the book to launch me? Was it the right subject and characters? I knew as she asked this that Penderown as it stands certainly wouldn't be as older heroines (remember Victoria began the novel as the villain but I let her have her way and she stole the book and unlike with ACH and Serena I don't feel it would be right to change it). So she gave me something else to chew.

I then shared some emails and eventually chatted with a lovely agent - her advice was to follow my heart....so it's now been a few weeks and quite frankly my jaw is tried of all this chewing. I am going to rework A Cornish House one more time...........and in the meantime Penderown will rest and I have started researching Pilgrimage.

20 comments:

Flowerpot said...

sounds great progress Liz and I would certainly go with what Helen Corner said. they've given me fabulous advice.

liz fenwick said...

She certainly made sense - the question is it the right book? Don't know but if I don't fix its problems I will never know :-)

Jan Jones said...

Go for it. You'll never know otherwise.

Personally, I love rewrites. It's the first bloodstained words on the page that I have trouble with.

HelenMHunt said...

Well done on such a huge step forward.

liz fenwick said...

Oh, I love those first blood stained words Jan - the rush of it!!! But I know loved carving something worth while out of that huge hunk of unshaped manuscript!

Thanks Helen!

Debs said...

I seem to be going through very much the same thing as you, Liz, so can understand how you're feeling.

I'm doing the same thing with HH&S and giving it one last edit, then I'm going on to something completely new that I've been mulling over for a while.

liz fenwick said...

Debs - I do think its important to draw the line under something otherwise we would never progress - but I just felt that ACH needed one last shot as it was so close. Good luck with yours!

Pen said...

I've be writing for a years now and every so often I here other writers (like you) talk about doing a re-write of their MS. What I want to know is, when they say this are they literally talking about re-writing the whole MS or just editing the crap out of it and tying all the pieces together into a coherent whole. 'Cause frankly I have never literally re-written an MS. Should I be?

liz fenwick said...

Welcome Pen. I have done both and know of other writers who have done both but I think mostly it is editing and substantial rewriting plus writing new passages etc... So you not missing anything. I think the whole rewrite thing would work if the concept worked but so many things had to cahnge that it would actually be easier to start from scratch.

Pen said...

Thanks for that. Sometimes writers just talk about these things as if they are standard practice and everyone does it (or should be)...

ChrisH said...

Well done, Liz, for showing such tenacity and working so hard towards your goal. Faced with a request for yet another rewrite of FTT, I had no choice but to go for it and, this time, I feel I've produced the definitive version... until someone else thinks differently. No seriously, rewriting this time really sharpened the book up for me and I'm pleased with how it turned out, but we'll see if anyone else agrees! I hope all the hard work pays off for you soon.

SueG said...

What great and important progress. I know I always get impatient at this point and just want to be done with it. But inevitably, the rewrites make the book better and, of course, we want to go out with our best clothes on, so to speak. You have so much going on with your work. It's an exciting and really fruitful time for you, isn't it?

Julie Cohen said...

LOL, Liz, as devil's advocate I can't ask for more than to have made you think. Sometimes having our decisions challenged makes us realise that we were right all along. Different things are right for different writers and I'm glad you're feeling good about your decision, which means it's totally the right one.

Fia said...

I was frightened of rewrites too but I think that enable you to strain away the flotsam and leave the best of your work with you.

Phillipa said...

Having your decisiosn challenged can make you realise you were right all along... I hope that's true Julie!

Liz - no advice from me, the World's Greatest Waverer but have you seen Anita Burgh's recent advice on dealing with critiques from different editors/advisors? yes.... in the end, it's follow your instinct.

Barrie said...

Don't we just agonize over every decision? I'm sure the answer will just arrive.

Karen said...

I think going with what feels right is good advice - you'll know if it's not working. Very best of luck, I didn't realise you'd written so much :o)

liz fenwick said...

Chrish - i'm so pleased you feel good about the latest revision!

SueG - it is an exciting time and I feel I am about to break through another writing hurdle/barrier :-)

Julie - you certainly made me think - in more ways than one! I think it would have eaten at me if I hadn't tackled it. Thanks for pushing me to question myself. x

Fia - I remember the first time faced them and though sh*t wasn't writing the damn book bad enough.....

Phillipa - I have seen that post and it's brilliant and in the end I had to go with my heart but the questioning made me make sure it was that and not just sheer bl88dy mindedness of which I am more than capable :-)

Barrie - I just hope I'm listening!

Karen - I hope if this is the wrong course I will find out soon!

Liz Harris said...

Reading the advice you've been given is a tremendous help, Liz; I feel as if I'm sitting back and learning vicariously through your hard work. Keep it up!

I love the title 'Pilgrimage'.

liz fenwick said...

Liz - so pleased your are enjoying and learning! I love the title Pilgrimage too :-)