Finished Vipers’ Nest… Until I didn’t.

Sometimes you finish a book and you know you don’t quite have it.

I’d done my short version print-out, read-through revision of Longview 4: The Vipers’ Nest. Finished the story last Tuesday with 40,000-plus words, which made it officially a novel.

But back of the mind said, Don’t say anything. Not yet. You don’t have it right yet.

So I just sat on it, created a copy for my husband, and gave it to him the next day.

Matt read it. Since we got together, he’s been my first reader and content editor. He’s really, really good.

And he came back with the single comment that changed everything. “You’re trying to cram three books into one story, and this one has no single main character.”

Then he did the second thing he does. He asked me a question. “So how does Bashtyk Nokyd relate to the game?”

And I saw the answers.

So I’m going back to do a complete overhaul.

I’m going to be ripping out two thirds of the existing chapters to put in the NEXT story (or two), and drilling down to the main character of this story, who was also the main character in Longview 1: Born from Fire, (the guy on the cover) and I’m building out the tie between him and the way Bashtyk Nokyed played a video game to figure out how to save Settled Space.

Or at least the people who want to be saved.


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17 responses to “Finished Vipers’ Nest… Until I didn’t.”

  1. Amanda Truscott Avatar

    I also have a partner who gives incredibly insightful feedback, but I don’t always accept it as gracefully as you’ve done here. I’ll try harder to follow your example:-)

    1. Holly Avatar

      😀 Twenty-two years of getting his crits has added considerable grace to my response.

      So has the fact that when he points something out, he is ALWAYS freakin’ right.

      He’s a highly intelligent, thoughtful reader, a really good writer, and knowledgeable about genre and story structure, pacing, character motivation, and a stack of other things.

      And I used to get my feelings hurt by his crits fairly regularly (even while seeing that he was right) because, well… feelings.

      Having his crits be far more useful than those of multiple commercial editors I worked with made things a bit easier.

      Twenty-two years did, too. I appreciate him more now than I did when we were newer.

      1. Amanda Truscott Avatar

        That makes sense:-)

  2. Judy French Avatar
    Judy French

    Nice to have a mate than gives an honest critique.

  3. dragon Avatar

    Sounds like things are going well. Looking forward to the story.

  4. Tuff Gartin Avatar

    I’ll be ready to read it when you feel you have it right. Kudos for having the courage to do a major overhaul!

    Is Matt for hire?

    1. Holly Avatar

      If you’re serious, I’ll ask him if he’s interested.

      1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

        Sorry. That was a lame attempt at humor on my part. I honestly didn’t think there was a chance he’d be for hire. Regardless, I’m not in a financial position with my writing to pay for these services right now anyway. I’ve sold a couple dozen copies of my first book. So I need to get my sales up (and more books out there) before I can consider outside resources for editing/revising. Right now I’m trying to do all of that myself.

        1. Holly Avatar

          No problem. 😀

        2. Holly Avatar

          Also, crowdsourcing crits can be a spectacular way of getting high-grade editing AND high-grade bug-hunting. Being a broke writer is no fun, but you can still put together pro-level fiction.

          1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

            I’ve considered it but without any recommendation I did not do it for my first book. My main concern is that I not be happy with the result and then my schedule would be delayed even more. I have a busy schedule because I have a 50ish hour full time job too. Maybe I’m making the wrong decisions in an effort to get more books out there sooner rather than later? Have you ever had bad experiences with crowdsourcing crits, and if so, how much time did it set you back?

            1. Holly Avatar

              I’ve had far worse experiences with NOT getting fresh eyes on a project than with getting it.

              I strongly recommend crowdsourcing, and suggest setting up a request in the General Discussion board in the community.

              You only want about five people, you want them to be regular readers of the genre you’re writing, and you need to give them named credit in the acks for helping you find the book’s bugs.

              But you REALLY, REALLY do not want to publish something that only you have seen.

              Not because of typos, but because of this one ferocious truth: You cannot know what you don’t know. There are a multitude of things you know you don’t know, so you research the shit out of those, and you get them pretty much right.

              Then there are the things you know you know. You’ve lived them, you’ve done them, and you write them out of your deep well of personal experience.

              Then, however, there’s the stuff you’ve crossed paths with, have read a little about, and you THINK you have a decent handle on it. So you write it into your book.

              And people who KNOW it flame you, because you screwed up everything.

              Ask me how I know.

              The biggest danger any writer faces is treading into the ground where you don’t know what you don’t know, because you are truly and utterly blind there, and you don’t know what either. You think you can see.

              Crowdsource, give grateful acks for the folks who help you discover your blind spots, and THEN publish.

              You could not pay me to publish something I wrote that only I had read. Seriously.

              1. Tuff Gartin Avatar

                I think I mislead you. I should have said in my original post “…before I can consider PAID outside resources…”. I have two bug finders now. They are both family but they are very direct and tell me exactly how they feel. I made a decent-sized change in my first book from their feedback.

                Anyway, I totally agree with your advice about getting other eyes. By the time I’m done revising it I’m so sick of the darn thing anyway I can’t fairly assess it any more lol.

                It is my goal to get to 5 at some point. I just haven’t found others I trust yet. And to be honest, I want to get 5 OTHER THAN my family. I like your idea of setting up a request in the General Discussion forum. You gave me the nudge I needed.


              2. Holly Avatar

                Tuff, I’ve just realized I need to have a page that guides folks through all of this on the site, but for now, here’s how to create your own revision group in the forum.

                Go to the Writers’ Groups forum.
                Follow the instructions for setting up your group

  5. Vanessa Avatar

    I would rather have the book you love whenever it gets done than to hurry through and get something that’s not the story you want to tell. Oh, please don’t mistake me, I am waiting on the edge of my seat…but waiting isn’t the end of the world.

  6. Misty DiFrancesco Avatar
    Misty DiFrancesco

    You are so lucky to have such a gifted partner/editor! Can’t wait to see the result!

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