Lock In, Super Finished
Posted on November 29, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 22 Comments
Just added another 1,400 words to Lock In, which you may recall I noted was already finished. Well, I didn’t lie. It was (and is!) finished, which is to say that I had written the story that I wanted to write and achieved everything that I had wanted to with the book. If I had been hit by a bus the second I stopped typing on Wednesday, one, that would have been really weird, because I was sitting in my office on the second story of my house, which is nowhere near any buses at all. And two, I would have been okay with Tor publishing the novel as-is (with, of course, copy edits that I would not have to deal with because I would be dead, hey this bus plan sounds better the further I go along).
With that said, one of the nice things about finishing a book slightly before deadline is that it affords a little time to go back and do (as I noted on Wednesday) a little buffing and polishing. In this case, the buffing included adding one new (short!) chapter and the polishing included adding an action scene to a different chapter. Lock In was good, and done, before. Now it is better, and still done.
And that is the nice part — no matter what else I do to the novel between now and Monday, when I send the thing in, it is still done. As I noted to my wife now, what I am doing now is the equivalent of walking into a room that you spent a whole bunch of time cleaning and made spotless, and moving a few things around a bit to make the feng shui just a little bit nicer.
The novel now stands at about 77,400 words, and I suspect may creep up even a little bit more from there as I comb through and detangle a couple of plot threads, make a couple of tweaks here and there, and otherwise play with the novel’s figurative feng shui. This is the fun part of the novel writing, actually. The hard, stressful part’s done. This part’s relaxed and easy.
Update: Added about another thousand words, did a final sweep-through and sent it off to my editor. At this point, no reason to wait any longer, you know? And now I start vacation!
Just don’t go all “Master and Margarita” on us. Bulgakov spent twelve years writing the damned thing and continued rewriting and massaging it until just before his death. Granted, there was no way he was getting it published in the Soviet Union in his lifetime; it was more of a hobby than anything.
Yeah, I’m shipping it off on Monday. You don’t need to worry about that.
That tinkering is the reward for all the hard work, isn’t it? :)
Thanks for the updates. Sneaking a peek into a writer’s life is always fascinating…
One word: Busnado.
Good to hear from somebody who enjoys his job!
78,400 words now, and I think it’s pretty much done.
@ shannonisaacs: Schoolbusquake!
Glad to hear it is wrapped, but who says the bus necessarily kills you? It could very well leave you horribly maimed but still able to recover in time for the copy edits :) And (selfishly) in good enough shape to keep writing. Hope the busnado stays away, but if it doesn’t just protect the head and hands…
Huzzah! Congratulations! I hope you sleep exceptionally well and enjoy the weekend.
Stupid question from a non-published non-writer. Do you sort of blow through your book and then fluff it at the end or do you work to make it near perfect as you go? When I wrote (with no thought I would ever get published) I felt like I wasted a lot of time trying to get each chapter ‘right’ before moving on & ended up going back to fix things that didn’t fit with changes I made to the current chapter. I had an outline but found things changed when I tried putting them on paper, can you be too well prepared? I felt that way sometimes.
Frankly: I usually edit as I go along. In general the key is finding a process that works for you and then doing it.
Thank you for making the previous and next links visible again. And congratulations on finishing your book.
Now all we have to wait until August 2014 to get the book in hand.
I’m glad that this won’t be a posthumous collaboration due to the busnado. Just saying.
Let the vacation begin! Congratulations.
Woot! Looking forward to reading it in August!
Well done dude! Enjoy December :-)
Woohoo! Bonus words!
Not sure how you got the 76000 word ‘target’ but your books seem about ‘right’ to me. Plenty of detail and ‘stuff’ but they don’t drag on. (I think JKR lost it in book 5 of the HP series. Maybe even 4…)
You mentioned spicing up the dialogue. I think it would be a great post if you gave us some examples of how you took dialogue that worked fine and made it even better. I think that’s a big weakness for many of us writers (certainly one of mine) and I’d love to see some of your thought processes as you do such an edit.
“Figurative feng shui?” Awesome.
Figurative Feng Shui is the name of my Wang Chung cover band. And gratz on finishing, writing another showstoppingly good book, and beating your deadline.
Congratulations. I will look forward to it. :-)