So today I start the type-in of the Ohio 2 Revision

I was up at six, (when you’re fasting, it’s weirdly easy to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and be through the shower, done with the first cup of coffee, before seven AM… and at my desk and finished with necessary work emails and the one help desk ticket only I could do not long after that. 

So now I’m on to Ohio Two… The TYPE IN.

I open the manuscript, I drag the big-ass pile of paper over to my right, look at my three big URGENT!!! sticky notes tacked to the right side of my computer screen (the one about Derovi, the one about the absolutely necessary weapons change, and the one about the Hosho) and I get ready to write.

By writing the five novels back-to-back-to-back without going back to re-read the previous books, I’ve done some interesting things.

  • I changed both world and story physics as I got a better feel for how to set hard limitations on the magic
  • I had better ideas that I leapt into the middle of that now must have some antecedents built up front
  • I created some characters at the end who now need to be worked into the beginning (or at least into books two and three)
  • And, working my way through from the beginning now, I did one thing at the end of Book Five that I’m probably going to have to smash with a hammer. Or at least give a MUCH better reason for its existence.

All of this is standard shit for any revision. It’s just that I’ve never revised five novels back to back before with none yet in print (meaning I have the FREEDOM to change stuff at the beginning, and am not stuck with worldbuilding that I regret locking me into story physics that was too unlimited and too open).

The best thing any novelist can do to get good, tight stories is to build good, tight limitations into the worldbuilding. 

If anything can happen, nothing matters.

If just about everything is impossible, you can get your character embedded deeply in the swamp with the quicksand, the alligators, the poisonous snakes, and the half-starved, injured panther with a taste for human flesh, and have helluva lot of fun making your character work for his escape.

THAT’s what I’m doing today. (None of the stuff includes South Florida swamps or wildlife, though. This is all Pure Ohio™.)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.


3 comments… add one
  • dragon Aug 11, 2022 @ 14:25

    “Watching” you work through this has been fun. And continues to be fun. Thank you for being so willing to share.

  • Jamie DeBree Jul 26, 2022 @ 13:20

    I have been/am somewhat impatient about publishing. Write it, revise it, edit it, get it out there so it can start earning me money.

    But watching you go through this process, working on five novels one right after the other and getting them all just the way you want before you publish them…man, oh man. This seems like the perfect strategy for writing and then jump-starting a series, especially for the revision process. And then you’ll have the added benefit of five releases all able to be scheduled and rolled out while you’re working on whatever comes next.

    I am just at the starting point to write a new series myself, in hopes of restarting/jump-starting/whatever my writing “career”. And while the urge to write and release is strong, I’m going to follow your lead and get the first several books written and polished up before anything gets released.

    It’s obvious the more I watch you work through this process that the whole series is just going to be so much better for it, and the promotion is going to be so much easier too (because it can all be set up at the same time, and then rolled out for each book as needed).

    Thank you again for sharing your process so openly. I’ll definitely be buying this series when it comes out, partially just because I want to experience the culmination of all your efforts!

    • Holly Jul 27, 2022 @ 11:31

      I’m glad you’re finding watching the process useful. That’s my hope — that along with readers watching what I’m putting together and seeing stuff they might like, it will be helpful for writers who want to get their work out there, and who have been hesitant.

      This is not world’s easiest job, but it’s a fun one, and always interesting… and a decent way to make money if you’re not obsessed with the idea of getting rich.

      Rich? That would be nice. But if you can stand getting out of bed every morning to go to work, and if you love your job and have fun doing it, and at the end of the day you can still pay your bills, that’s better than the work almost everyone gets, job-wise.

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