Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Archive for July, 2009

Good Money After Bad

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Once again I’ll take a shot at getting this blog re-started. Despite the silence here, I’ve been pretty busy these past months. As some may remember, my big goal this year was to self-publish my fantasy novel The Wild. As preparation for that, I sent a “final” draft to a few readers. I wanted to see if it would grab people–but the response was a bit underwhelming. No one managed to get back to me in under two months. Bad timing was a factor. People were distracted by other tasks and no one even started to read for several weeks after receiving the manuscript. Nevertheless, I know lack-of-enthusiasm when I see it. This was the first time I ever had to do some gentle nagging to get any feedback at all, and even then I did not get much more than, “I liked it, but the beginning is a little hard to follow.”


“Well, was it boring?”

“No. I was interested in it when I was reading it.”

But it was not, apparently, the sort of manuscript that would leave you sleep deprived the next day; and when you’re about to wager your own money on publication, a more bubbly response is absolutely required.

Now it’s true that my chosen readers are not writers themselves–at least not of fiction–but all are avid readers of novels. So if they were having a hard time getting through it, the logical conclusion is that the manuscript needs work.

Well, really, the most logical conclusion is that I should stop throwing good money after bad, and start on something new. I do have a new novel in the rough planning stages. It’s a mainstream work, topical, mildly comedic and meaningful if I can pull it off the way I envision–but I seem to be in the obsessive grip of The Wild.

So I have decided to go ahead and throw good money after bad (or more accurately to devote time that might be used for more lucrative projects) and do a major re-write. The first goal is to cut a substantial chunk of the 158,000 word length. For comparison, both Vast and Memory were around 130K. For the new version of The Wild I’m aiming for 110K, and so far am under 130, so it’s going well. That much cutting has led to dropped characters and plot changes that will hopefully tighten the whole thing up and give it more momentum.

So wish me luck. I would love to have the rough-cut done by the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted. No, really!