Starting the Ohio 3 Read-through/Revision

By Holly Lisle

Okay. I have the manuscript printed out.

I did some brainstorming in the shower on how I can save as much of what I remember of the story as possible WITHOUT breaking what I did in the first two books, or the last two.

Worst case, I’ll end up writing a completely new novel. That’s about as bad as fiction-writing worst cases get, though, and I’m not eager to do that.

So while I was letting the shower pound on my head, I figured out some ways I might be able to keep a lot of what I did in Book 3 WHILE working in the Primary Five-Book problem (which I didn’t figure out until I was about halfway through Book Five).

The primary problem is evident in the first chapter of Book One. I just didn’t extrapolate from RESULTS backwards to CAUSES to identify the problem until I started thinking through this massive revision.

It became clear there, it’s BEEE-YOOO-TEE-FUL!, and mostly my Muse/Gut/Subconscious Mind got all the stuff I needed into the books without me identifying why I needed them.

Not, though, in this book. In this book, I ran off chasing wild Scots, and as a result, I face a lot of work to get things on track.

However, post-shower, I don’t think I’m going to have to throw this book out and start fresh.

That’s big. From what I remember of the book, there’s a lot in it that still fits the later books, and that can be saved.

SO…

With under four-hundred manuscript pages now sitting on my desk, I’m going to do one no-touch read-through just to reacquaint myself with what’s in there. I’ll take notes in my series notebook.

THEN and ONLY THEN, I’ll brainstorm solutions to the question: What’s worth saving, and what has to go?

Wish me luck.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Good news, BAD news on the Ohio Novels.

By Holly Lisle

Finished up the type-in revision of Ohio 2 yesterday, and I love the book. Printed out the revised manuscript this morning, and have it set up for Matt to edit when he has time.

And then I opened up Ohio 3.

<cue theme from Jaws: beat head repeatedly on desk with vigor and frustration… but in time with the music, because at least I can do this with a little style>

Boy, oh, BOY did I go off in the wrong direction with that novel. I’m torn between:

  • Spending the paper and printer toner to print it out, and trying to revise it into a keepable novel
  • Exporting it as a pdf I can read off of my Kindle, just to get a read-through to see what — if anything — I can salvage
  • Shoving it into the Dead Zone on my hard drive (projects over the years that I’ve killed off for being unworthy, unfun, or just bad…), and writing a new Ohio 3
  • Deleting the thing unread, and doing a brand-new Book 3

Today, however, I’m going to do nothing.

I’m just off the pretty-tough revision of Ohio 2. I have to concede that my objectivity is not at its highest.

Also, I’m kind of queasy, and I don’t think it’s entirely from that first encounter with Book 3.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Finished the revision of Ohio Two

By Holly Lisle

DONE DONE DONE!!!

I’m happy. 

Love what I got.

Gotta go do laundry now, and a bunch of other chores… but it was a good, good writing day.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Ohio 2 Revision: To page 398 of 431

By Holly Lisle

Pretty decent day. This part of the book took significant reworking, and I’m betting this is going to be one of the places where my editor finds out I struggled a bit.

But I love what I finally ended up with. 

And I stand a pretty good chance of finishing the revision on Monday. I am, of course, taking the weekend off. Sanity requires down time.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Revised Ohio 2 through page 369 — and very happy with my progress.

By Holly Lisle

Today was one of the weirder parts of Book 2, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I was afraid it might not hold up.

But it did. I found myself laughing in the right places, and getting choked up in the right places, and while there were some story issues I had to fix, this section was overall pretty clean.

Tomorrow, I’ll pick up on manuscript page 369 with Chapter 23, and I should be able to finish most of the rest of the write-in revision. If not all of it.

The last page of this manuscript is page 431.

That’s less than a hundred pages of write-in — should be doable if everything else goes smoothly.

It would be pretty cool to have the type-in revision finished this week. I’d then be able to start fresh on the read-through of Book 3 on Monday.

I’ll see how it goes. 

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Catching up on the updates: Starting at page 291 on the Ohio 2 revision

By Holly Lisle

The last couple days have been hectic, and I’ve managed to miss blogging twice.

But I’ve gotten my revision pages every day. This morning, I’m starting the write-in revision on page 291. The last page in the novel is 431. I won’t get there today, but I’ll make good headway toward getting there, and might be able to wrap up the Book 2 revision tomorrow.

Yesterday’s revision was a lot of fun — I hit a scene I’d forgotten writing, and laughed my ass while working my way through it. My poor main character is under attack by enemies both hidden and right out in the open, and yesterday the bad guys tried to pull a bait-and-switch on her.

This was stuff I’d forgotten having written, so it was all fresh to me, and reading through it, I had a fair amount of stuff to fix.

BUT the scenes I worked on took me by surprise in multiple places, and made me laugh out loud once.

Today I’m onto the next section, and I’m pretty sure stuff gets darker. But when you write in flow — that is, when your brain is making up the story as you go and your fingers are pretty much taking dictation — you don’t labor over words, so when you come back to them, you’re as surprised as readers will be by what happens next.

Therefore… <evil grin> I’m looking forward to discovering what else my writing brain did while I wasn’t looking.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


To manuscript page 228 on the type-in

By Holly Lisle

Today was tough. I had a LOT of hand-written stuff that had to be typed in, and a number of existing pages that had to be either heavily re-written or deleted entirely.

Writing-wise, it was a good day, in that I love this story and the way all the pieces are coming together. But it was a LOT of work.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


74 pages of revision progress on Ohio 2

By Holly Lisle

The words went really well. Don’t know how many I added today — but it was a fair number. And I like what I got.

I’m very grateful I’ve got a weekend starting, though. I’m tired, and I’ll be grateful for two days of when I don’t have to do anything writing-related.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


OHIO 2 REVISION: Made it to manuscript page 134 of the Ohio 2 type-in.

By Holly Lisle

And in this particular set of chapters, I’ve managed to make myself cry a couple of times.

The fixes in this section have been mostly small (typos, spellos, extra spaces), and the couple of bigger changes let me add a bit more emotion to the terrible thing that my main character is discovering.

It was a very, very good writing day — and I LOVE this world and the bits of story I got to work on today.

But now… forums, and then off to do the Live In The Real World stuff.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved


Some days go more smoothly than others. Ohio Two Revision

By Holly Lisle

This is such a weird job. Going through the type-in revision of Book Two this morning, I both laughed my ass off and then cried typing in the same scene. That particular LONG scene, now revised, held up pretty well from when I wrote Ohio 2, though I had a couple of complex fixes due to a series-wide story physics decision I made while writing the first draft of Book 3.

When I hit the revision of the third novel, that particular story physics problem will go away. 

For now, fixing it is a big pain in the ass.

STORY PHYSICS has absolutely nothing to do with the science of physics. It’s just the rules you decide to abide by when writing your fiction — and halfway through this series, I made a big decision to change how my MC can do a particularly difficult part of her job.

These rules have to do with story tone, and with the ways that things can or cannot happen, and in this case, they’re important to maintaining the funny

There are certain elements that, when you introduce them into your fiction, require that the stories you’re writing then be read seriously, because those elements will ALWAYS be read as serious.

These are weird books. I hurt my characters a LOT… and a lot of what goes on in the books is deeply meaningful to me, and I hope will be to the eventual readers, too.

But my underlying tone in the world is humorous, and I had some things in the first draft of BOOK TWO that broke that. That took me out of the laughter in places where I didn’t want that to happen.

So… today that big change in story physics went in. I’m pretty sure by the time I was writing BOOK THREE, I’d already identified the necessary change in nature of the physics, and wrote that book and the ones following it to use the necessary new version of the rules.

But today had some twiddly bits and some finicky fixes, and I have a headache from keeping all the details straight.

So I’m going to check in on the forums, and then call it a day.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved