Editing Check-In #2


As promised, now that I’ve crossed the 10k word mark in my new draft of The Steel Armada, I’m back to discuss my progress.

The biggest takeaway for me so far is that rewriting is much, much harder than I expected. Not for the lack of words or ideas, because there’s no shortage of that. But, there’s so much sudden freedom and so many options for how I want to tell this story that I sometimes find myself uncertain how best to proceed.

This last week in particular I made a point to really hash out what it is I want to accomplish with this story. What story do I want to tell? Is my main character the best character to accomplish that? And so on and so forth.

The Good

The new manuscript is just shy of 15k words and it’s been a very illuminating process. I have completely re-imagined the world, and I like it much better. It makes more sense to me and to the characters, and feels so much more alive than my previous attempt. I’ve added a ton of technology, establishing my main character’s interests and what her every day life looks like.

There’s much more life on the page. The world exists beyond my main character, there’s movement in the background. There’s technology, food, religion, an economy. There’s so much more happening and it’s really just the beginning. I’m still exploring this world I’m creating, and though I’m sure not every detail will make it to the page (as they shouldn’t), it can’t hurt for me to know them.

Characters are much better developed. This is probably because I already knew them to some extent from the last draft, but they all feel much more real to me even in so few pages. I also like them all more in their current roles and settings. I’ve also created new characters. Some of them are critical to the story as it is now, and some of them aren’t, so there’s some work to be done in that area, but that’s okay. It makes sense that there would be characters in the world that might not make it into the final version of the book. As the world grows, so will the number of characters that come to life.

Which leads me to:

The Problematic

I have to figure out what the heck is going on in this book. By changing the world I effectively killed my original plot. That was a scary moment, let me tell you. Nothing like writing a book and literally have NO IDEA where its’s going.

But, I trusted the characters to take me where I needed to go. I wrote my way through until I came upon a story. It’s not as grandiose as the original plot, not so grand and ambitious. But, much closer to the types of stories I tell in my short fiction.

Which led me down an even scarier rabbit hole: Am I still writing a novel?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. I’m leaning toward a novella, at the moment, but have decided to ultimately take Madhu’s advice and put the concern on the back burner for now. Her words were, “Write the story, worry about the length when it’s done.” That’s some damn good advice, so I’m going with it. For now, I’m writing Val’s story, whatever that turns out to be.

(I just happen to think it’s going to be a novella)

Another big concern is that I’m going to have a lot of excess words. This is such an exploratory process, with rampant world building and characters popping into my mind like freaking daisies. Not all of it will make it to the final version, which means there will be a lot of editing in my future, all over again.

mushu daisies

But, that’s all right. Ultimately, I want this story to be the best possible version of itself. That was my goal for this year, Finish The Steel Armada. So, I just need to buckle down and figure out what that means. And to do that I just have to keep writing. The story will come, the editing will happen and eventually I can put Val’s story behind me and move on to whatever comes next.

Some Stats

  • added 9,798 words since last Check-In
  • decided on story themes and general plot
  • outlined three chapters ahead
  • considerable world-building and character development
  • lots of fun new tech
  • came up with some quality alternate title ideas

I need to write another 2k words by Thursday night to make my writing goals for the month, which will put me over the 15,500 word mark. Which means I’ll be back in a few weeks with my third check in, once I cross the 20k word threshold!

Hopefully another 7k words will offer some clarity in direction and let me set my sights on the ending of this story.

Until then Blogland,



Milestones and Works in Progress

All right,

After a nice ‘weekend’ spent playing Borderlands 2 with the boy, seeing The World’s End again, and then a night out at the casino, it’s back to the real work.

Starbucks, sure, but writing as well. Chapter 18 starts today! Hopefully it will end sometime this weekend, but Trevor’s schedule changes Sunday, so my schedule is going to get tweaked.

What I really wanted to talk about here was a milestone I hit this week. The blog officially hit 1,000 views on Tuesday!

I wanted to thank all of you who stop by and at least glance at all the things I have to say. I hope that it helps you, maybe even inspires you, or at least entertains you to some extent.

1,000 views over the course of almost 2 years, really isn’t much, I know. But, I haven’t been the most consistent poster, either. These last couple months that I’ve been writing on a schedule I have posted more than ever and have had more views per month than ever.

Things are steadily climbing up for me. The novel is almost done. Painfully close. And Sanderson’s class, though the community is starting to fail, has really convinced me to write consistently. I’ve written over half of my novel in the last two months!

And that’s just plain success in my book. I’m writing at least 5 days a week, generally busting out about a chapter a week. That’s still sort of slow going, but I’m picking up speed.

Already I’m planning what’s coming next. After the novel’s rough draft is done, I will return to some short stories that need love, in order to submit them in the spring. I might even take a workshop class in the winter if I really think I need it. And then, when those are done and submitted, I’m going to start the new novel. It’s clawing to get out, and I can’t wait to develop the world, characters, and magic system. But, it needs to wait. I need to get distance from ‘Vessels’ and work on smaller things so I can finish them quickly. Then, when the rough draft of the new novel is well underway, I’ll start editing ‘Vessels’.

And that will be an exciting adventure all its own.

Anyway, thanks blogland for reading. I’ll see you all wither tomorrow or Monday for the Week 8 Summary! Brandon talked about Plotting this week, and I learned a lot! Be ready for a pretty detailed post.

Much Love,