1. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Editing in 'real time'

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jannert, Aug 20, 2013.

    I just read Joe Abercrombie's blog for today, 20 August 2013—find it on his website dot com. He's talking about editing quickly. He's writing a trilogy, and his publishers want the first book very soon, but he's concerned that he might want to make changes later on, and by that time the first book will be cast in stone.

    That's what happens when you are a successful author with a contract, isn't it. Your writing schedule is no longer your own. He's not complaining, just telling it like it is. But I only hope this pressure doesn't cause him to write a story that isn't quite what he wants it to be. Having time to develop a story properly AND make changes if necessary, is pretty much required, as far as I'm concerned. No wonder some first books end up being the best ones an author produces.

    So that's what happens when you get a publishing contract! Unless you're the kind of writer who can churn 'em out to order, this might be more of a weight than a blessing, long-term.

    I do wish publishers would ease off a bit, and realise that sacrificing quantity for quality can often be the best option.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A writer doesn't have to accept a contract before a work is finished. On the other hand, a deadline would be a motivation to work. Sometimes I get a lot written, sometimes not as much, but when I have my critique group deadline I always get at least 1,500 words out.

    Of course, that's different than if the 1,500 words had to be the final product.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Successful writers like Abercrombie are often under contract for future work. The Agreement will have deadlines for delivery of the work, because publishers are operating under their own deadlines to get catalogs out, or to do marketing or whatever they're going to do. I've seen it for first-time authors as well, who sell the first book in a series. The contract will specify delivery dates for the next two book, for example, so while the first book is written when the contract is signed, you come under deadlines for the next two.

    For a big-name author like Abercrombie, it's seems to be the norm (based on the contracts I've seen). It is also common in non-fiction, where a work may be "sold" based on a proposal, but hasn't been written yet at the time of the contract.

    It certainly would be a good motivator.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    For me, it would be enough motivation for me to know that the publishers want the book; they can leave their contract where it is. Concerning the editing changes, though, I think that unless you write the entire series before looking for publishers, you'll always regret that certain character from saying that sentence that changed everything, or whatever. You'll never get your series perfect, which is why I somewhat agree that the author's best work is the first book in the series. :)
     
  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    1,500 a day? That's pretty good.
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    People are different with wordcounts. If I wrote for most of the day (say from 10 a.m. till 3 p.m.), I could probably get 3000 words or so out of me. Of course that's an estimate, and my quality would go severely downhill by the end, but you get the idea! :p
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I know people all work differently. But I know if I were writing a trilogy, I'd like the option of being able to go back and edit the first book if I decided the story was going somewhere slightly different from the original plan. Instead, with a contract like this, I'd be locked into what I wrote. It might not be the best thing for a story. Maybe they could give a writer a deadline for an entire trilogy, instead of book by book. I think the end product would benefit.
     
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  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Alistair MacLeod had been writing excellent short stories for some time, however. But I do agree that it is possible to write an great first novel.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @jannert - I do think that would be best for the writer. Not sure from the publisher's point of view it is all that great. In other words, do they have an incentive in terms of running a business to enter into a contract with you now and agree not to publish any books until the whole trilogy is complete? If you have a proven track record and loyal fan base, I could see it. For a new writer, I think it might be hard to sell a publisher on that idea. Not saying it is impossible, but it seems to me when the publisher enters into a contract the business considerations are going to lean toward getting that first book out there and selling as quickly as is reasonable (while still putting out a quality product).
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I often do 1,500 words in a day, but there are other days I do far fewer or none. Not sure how I did it but I initially wrote out 134,000 words in a month (some of it was idea summaries or outlines, most of it was very rough draft).

    I typically write a scene at a time, sometimes a string of scenes. Later I rework the scene over and over until I find myself only editing a few words. To keep from getting bored, I'll skip to different parts of the story and stay there for a while, then move again.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    That's a very good point.

    My duology is two really separate stories with a connecting character, but I have definitely changed parts of my story in the first book which I am primarily working on now. I've gone back more than once because something in the latter part of the story required a change in something I'd already written.
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    At some point, all successful writers have to decide whether they want to be a commercial enterprise or not. A writer can be successful without earning tens of millions of dollars. Earning less is the price we might have to pay for artistic integrity. Then again, deadlines are great motivators, and many books would never be finished without the publishers who eagerly await them.
     

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