Time Is On My Side

Okay – it’s explanation time.

I’ve been very quiet on the blog recently. I’ve also been making veiled references to an Uber-Ultra-Secret project, and not saying much more. Well, I think it’s time I bring you roughly up to date with what’s happening. I’m still keeping some details under wraps, plus this (and any posts relating to it) will be friends-locked for the moment. But frankly, I’d like to actually be able to blog in the way that I used to. And being that I’m spending so much time on my own right now, I’m finding that I’m oddly missing it.

What I’ve been up to for the last two months… well, at the beginning of February I heard back from an Editor Who Shall Remain Nameless in relation to The Hypernova Gambit. And what I got was… well, it can safely be described as ‘interest’. The Editor Who Shall Remain Nameless was essentially turning it down and explaining why – but they also explained in quite a lot of detail the problems they had with the book. It was all done in a very open-ended way – I was welcome to disagree, ignore or do what I liked with the advice. But if I did want to take that advice onboard and try another draft, I was welcome to resubmit it.

Now, obviously this is one of those ‘good news/bad news’ situations – but the main positive thing was that it wasn’t a complete rejection. It was a possibility. And of course, when you’re looking at criticism of your work, it’s very easy to look at it and want to ignore it or disagree… but I didn’t. I looked at all of it, and I found that I actually agreed with just about everything the Editor Who Shall Remain Nameless had said. And within about a day or so, I was coming up with stuff. I was realising what needed to be done – changes I could make, ways I could take the whole thing and twist it in the right direction. A lot of these were the kind of things where you look at a story and think “How could I have been so stupid?” A lot of them were ideas where I suddenly realised that a tiny shift would make things so much better. And this is the bit that I love – getting actual feedback, being able to actually look at the whole edifice as a structure, and then making the right changes so that you can get rid of even more of the flaws than ever before. I know I’ll never get rid of them completely, but I can try my damndest.

So that’s what I’ve been doing since around the middle of February, and it’s been a lot of work. It was one of the scary things about this bit of the rewriting – I knew it would make the book better, but I also knew that this wasn’t going to be a small change. This was going to be big, and lots of smaller changes ended up happening along the way. There were certain sections that did come very easily, which was really nice – but there were also certain sections which were still difficult. And then, once I was at the end, I had to go back to the beginning and go through every single sentence of the book to try and get them to work better (and, heaven help me, I’m going to be doing it again once I’ve gotten a few people to read it). And it’s been something I’ve barely stopped at in the last seven weeks – to the extent that I think I’m slightly suffering from exhaustion having finished it on Friday.

And you know something?

It’s really good.

I’m really happy with it. It’s not absolutely done yet – there’s still work to be done – but there’s a whole selection of things in the book now that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And the end of the book is so much stronger. I’ve got a level of faith in it now – I understand why I got those rejections last year. I think I had to go through those so that I’d get to this point, and understand what I need to do to make it better. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it good enough so that the Editor Who Shall Remain Nameless will actually want to take it on – but I really, really feel like something is going to happen as a result of this.

And sometimes, that’s all you need.

10 thoughts on “Time Is On My Side

  1. constructive criticism is a bit of a mixed blessing – one wants it, yet when it arrives, all one can register, 1st reaction, is the criticism bit. Good on you for using this for good and doing all that work. Crossing my fingers that Anon Edit takes it when you’ve finished. Will be so thrilled for you. Am impressed right now with your dedication.
    I still haven’t read it, which is weird.

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    • Would you like to, ma’am? I am currently in need of ‘beta test’ readers for this draft. Will willingly send it to you if you’re interested. (Although do bear in mind, it’s a monster – this phase actually saw it get bigger by 8,000 words. The damn thing is 175,000 words now! Eeek!)
      Let me know! And thanks for the good wishes. Hope all is well with you!

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      • I’d be honoured.
        (I’m bit scared I’ll not appreciate it: you can imagine. Cos I’m fantasy and space opera and fluff and you’re more sf-y, I gather from what you say. But this was space opera when it was an earlier draft)
        as for how things are with me, been mopey lately. must pull socks up.

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      • Heavens – what impression have I been giving you? It’s space opera – admittedly, it’s big, demented and colourful space opera with a very distinct and odd style, but it’s basically big, energetic action-packed comic-strip adventure. It’s sci-fi in spangly hot-pants!
        Will happily send it to you, but I don’t have your e-mail. If you go to my site, tho- http://www.saxonbullock.com – send me an e-mail, and then I can reply with the manuscript. And there shall be much rejoicing!
        And it’s no problem if it’s not your thing. I’d be interested to hear what you think.
        Sorry to hear things have been mopey. Sending hugs your way!

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    • I’m seconding Ness on this. Definitely impressed with how you grabbed the criticism and used it to turn things around. I can imagine my reaction would have been a little less… positive. In fact, I’m pretty sure that a deep pit of despair would have been involved. Fingers crossed that the editor takes a liking to what you’ve done. :o)

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      • Thanks – and don’t worry, there’ve been plenty of rejections that have opened up a pit of despair. This was just positive and detailed enough to give me hope, and encourage me that the Editor Who Shall Remain Nameless wouldn’t have gone into so much detail if they hadn’t actually enjoyed at least some of it. And like I said, this is the bit I like – I love getting feedback, and even if it’s bad, it can make you look at a story in a different way.
        And also, I received the disk you sent. Haven’t had a chance to watch as yet, but definitely will. Thanks very much!

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      • Well… I’m just happy that EWSRN had the good sense to see that there was something worthwhile in the story. Here’s to round two!
        And you’re quite welcome for the disk. Sorry it took me a while to get it posted!

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      • Re: I’ll screen this in a sec.
        I did warn you – it is big. Hope you enjoy it, though. In an ideal world, it’d be lovely to hear what you think by about this time next month (that’s when I’m hoping to have this phase done). But it’s no worries if you can’t.

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