Revisions: To Share, or Not To Share?

The good thing about having been writing a story for a long time, or about writing a series, is that the longer you write it, the more you see what works and what doesn’t. In addition, you are able to see more ways to compact the story, where before you couldn’t see ways to shorten up the length. Likewise, you can see places to elaborate more where your explanations or transitions were sparse.

The first time I did a revision, it was more of an edit; I checked for typos, grammatical mistakes, etc. By the time I set out for a second revision, however, I had finally some clue of what a true “story revision” was. “Revising” is not one of those things they teach you in your English class–the one-time (or even thrice-timed) proofread before you pronounce your work “finished”–and it’s more than just polishing things up. It’s about seeing your story as an overall picture, and figuring out what could spruce it up.

The first time I did a real “revision” on my Beauty and the Beast story, I don’t think people really realized what I was endeavoring to do–and neither did I. There seemed to be a lot of people who thought my story was great as it was. But after I took those months to sweep back through my story and fix what I considered to be inconsistencies with where the story needed to go, two things happened:
1) My original audience still liked certain parts of the original, but they said that my story had actually gotten better.
2) I gained new readers who either could not tolerate my story before, or simply had not been interested in reading it.
I also got a lot better at writing interest-piquing summaries–which I have still been practicing.

I’m sure the sheer amount of revising I do irritates some people, because it means they have to re-read old content in order to move on to the new. But the truth of the matter is that that’s why I’m here: revisions. I take the risk of posting my story online so that I can receive constructive feedback to help me make my story better. There was a time when I was younger–perhaps 10 years ago–when I wrote simply to write, and I really didn’t care for other’s critiques, because I didn’t care what anyone else thought of my stories; they were written for myself, almost like journal entries, and I was extremely suspicious of others wanting to read them.

But I am at a point in my life now where I recognize how invaluable constructive criticism really is. So many people can say things to tear a story or a person down. So many people can say “good job,” and leave you wondering what was actually good about it. But a person who is honest, and elaborates on what they like and don’t like, and offers you insight on how to change what they’re questioning, is not just writing a comment; they are handing you a tool.

But my reviewers are not the only ones critiquing my story; I am critiquing it as well. As time goes on, I see where more of the holes are, see things that are not set in stone that might be changed for the better.

What I am seeing now, is that some of my in-story explanations are running in circles. I intentionally put then in circles at the time, because I believe real people move in circles in their lives that they don’t recognize as circles, and don’t know how to break out of. But I am entertaining the thought that it may be possible to reflect Rome’s circular, self-deprecating mentality without running the reader in literary circles.

I also see that more efficient lines may be made from the beginning of the story to Rome’s troubles with the nobles–namely, Rome’s eye color. If I followed that theme, instead of wandering around looking for relational and friendship rabbit trails, the relationship may just follow the plotline’s lead and take care of itself. There is also, of course, the possibility of taking out the childhood chapters altogether. While they provide a peek into Labriella’s temple life, my continuation of writing is bringing me to an alternate method of divulging this information and perspective. Thus I could dedicate the first volume to the nobles–“Ignoble“–and dedicate the second volume to the temple and Power distribution–“Irreverent.” It would be a lot neater organizing, and would keep its focus.

I’m honestly debating whether to post such a version, however. It might indeed draw more readers. But I feel that if I make these changes, I will come a lot closer to attempting to publish, and there have been advisions against posting a truly finished work online. So then, the question at this point for me is less about whether to make the changes to my story, and more about whether the feedback I will receive is worth sharing the revision online.

But don’t worry; I won’t stop writing the story from where I’ve left off. After all, it’s difficult to revise things when you haven’t written then yet. ;)

Frane Mistake!

Uuuugggh, I made a MISTAKE! Rome’s not supposed to KNOW about Frane…yet. I forgot I cut that one scene with Frane, Gian, and Rome in it from volume 1… Okay, I’ll fix it. But that means now I have to go back and revise the tail end of chapter 6—the chapter I JUST posted. Grrrrr…

Well, I guess this could actually work out better… I just wish I had noticed before I started in on  chapter 7. Now I have to change which house everything’s in. (-_-);

Finally, Chapter 6!

I just posted chapter 6! It’s entitled “Just a Touch of Affection.” It’s a shorter chapter than I anticipated, but it’s probably better to keep noble events together.

Please MAKE SURE that you go back to chapter 5 and read my revision BEFORE you read this chapter! Otherwise, where I start chapter 6 probably will not make any sense to you! The end of chapter 5 is the lead-in.

There is nothing extraordinarily exciting in chapter 6, in my humble opinion. But that does not make it insignificant. There’s more talking between Rome and Labriella, and more time spent together, and as a result Rome opens up a bit more in conversation. Also, you see that Rome is starting to think through the plausibility of a more physical relationship with Labriella—which is a major development because it means attempting an actual relationship, just as much as because Rome is beginning to think of physicality as an actual option.

But there is also the reintroduction of the dark cloud that looms over the characters’ heads. There may be some traces of romance, but it does not change the characters’ current plight. And at least one of them needs to be reminded of that.

Note that Labriella has been a servant, but she is starting to take the initiative and/or speak up in certain situations. Some of this has to do with Rome’s special effect on her. But some of it can also be attributed to her time in Gian’s influence; while she was not allowed to leave the area surrounding his cottage, Gian did not treat her as a captive. She was allowed to do things on her own. Just some food for thought. ;)

You’ve got nobles to look forward to next chapter. O what fun!

Chapter 5 Conversational Revision Posted

I have typed up the new ending to Rome and Labriella’s argument in chapter 5, and reposted the chapter as “Touchy Relationship.”

Instead of centering around Rome’s desperation, I have refocused the argument’s resolution around the REAL problem: the definition of a relationship. Rome thinks he has given enough of himself; Labriella feels like she is the only one giving. Why? Because Labriella is thinking in terms of relationship vs. enslavement, and Rome is thinking in terms of rutting vs. mating; they are definitely not on the same page. Rome’s increasing paranoia about Labriella walking away from him again begins to show, as does Labriella’s insecurity about herself being enough to keep Rome’s interest. In the end, Labriella makes an important discovery that may be the turning of the tide in the relationship between her and Rome.

Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten about the plot bunnies! They should be only a chapter or two away. ;)

In the meantime, I’m going to reread some of my work to make sure I keep the consistency of tone; I think I’m getting dangerously close to OOCing or rabbit trailing.

Return to Reviews

I’m finally back from my trip! And I have computer access—hooray!

Wow, so many reviews! I was genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised that so many of you voiced that “Can’t Touch This” was your favorite chapter! I knew I was doing something completely different with Rome, and I was unsure how you would take it. I was unsure how even I felt about the chapter.

After I wrote chapter 5, however, I found it difficult to move on from there. It should not be so complicated, I thought, to pick up from where I had left off. But it was. So, besides being hindered by travel, when I did have time I was hindered by writer’s block as well.

Then yaeloval wrote their review, which echoed many of the insecurities I had while writing chapter 5. Writing the chapter had actually made me uncomfortable, but I figured that was because I was writing a type of content that I had never endeavored to write before. However, yaeloval‘s review gave words to those shaky feelings I had: That it was too OOC for Rome this early-on; that Labriella would not just roll over and accept Rome’s midnight creeping when she was already pissed at him; that the scene was startlingly close to rape and/or porn.

While I believe I am far enough into the story to showcase explicit content, I think this chapter ended up farther into the “rape” category than I intended. The line between non-consensual and rape is always thin in dark fantasy literature. I think in this case, I did not cushion enough; Rome’s desperation cast a plea to Labriella (and to the reader) for sympathy, but she is not in deep enough with Rome of her own volition to blur the line between consensual and non-consensual. Which is why yaeloval‘s suggestion of more conversation between Labriella and Rome makes sense.

So I have chosen to modify the second half of chapter 5. Content the like of which was in the original chapter 5 will indeed come, in time, but yaeloval is right; the conversational factor is long overdue. This is, after all, a romance, not a porno; there is a relationship there.

Actually, I have already modified chapter 5, and started in anew on chapter 6. Rewriting the latter half of chapter 5 took at least four, several-paged tries; the only way to see if my revision ideas worked, was to just keep writing the new version and see if I got stuck. Finally, I have a winner. I will let you know when I post the new chapter 5.

I’m placing the romantic initiative in Labriella’s small, work-worn hands. Let’s see what happens.

The Beginning of the Relationship Chapters

I just posted chapter 5, FINALLY! For lack of a better title, I called it “Can’t Touch This.” I almost called it “Sweet Temptation,” but that sounds suspiciously like it could be used for a future chapter… ;D

I already wrote a bunch about this chapter in my last entry, so I’ll leave it at that.

Keep in mind that I have posted this chapter on a brief respite from traveling. Sadly, I will not have that luxury for the next month and a half, although it is very likely I will be writing during that time. I would have loved to proofread the type-up of this chapter more before I presented it to you, but if I did that, it may not have been posted for some time, and I figured you would much rather have the chapter now. So here it is. :)

Naughty, Naughty

Ohhh I just wrote something really naughty. I wonder if your opinion of Rome will change based on this…? It’s a risk I’ll have to take. This is a scene I’ve had in mind to write for awhile—since long before I finished the first volume the first time. It’s one of those things you’re never quite sure when’s the right time for. But since I didn’t keep the after-wedding scene that Gian walked in on at the end of the original first volume, the change of scene opened up a few doors for me.

Here’s a bit of a preview:
Rome and Labriella have come to a certain long-awaited arrangement, regardless of the dodgy actions and circumstances leading up to it. The one thing that is for certain is that both of them definitely want it, and whether it not it is wise, it seems like the only thing to do. The trouble is, it has been so long since Rome and Labriella were close, that neither of them is sure how to go about it now that so much has changed. They do manage to have a decent conversation, and to enjoy one another’s presence for a bit. But Rome’s reluctance to divulge his thoughts pushes some of Labriella’s long-term frustrations to the surface. In the wake of their argument, Rome begins to realize that if he doesn’t do something to bridge the gap between himself and Labriella, he may lose her closeness forever.

Far from apologizing for acting like himself, yet increasingly desperate for what he sees himself losing, Rome does something sneaky and immoral to link an angry Labriella to him without her knowledge. But will this backfire? If she discovers what he is doing to her, surely she will hate him forever?

Still writing. ^_^