The Extermination Phase

So… Now that I’ve finished the first draft of one novel and my critique group is finishing up the critiquing of my other novel, I have a lot of revising to do.

I spent most of yesterday on my other hobby which is programming my own variant of an computer game. It’s fun because I always liked customising games and making my own rules. My novels are higher priority in my head, but sometimes it’s tempting to spend more time on the game. Anyway, I bring it up because, as I read my story and find a problem I need to fix, I’ve come to think of it as a bug in the story. In programming, sometimes a bug is easy to see what’s wrong and takes only a minute to fix and sometimes and I can’t figure out how to fix it for weeks or months. It’s the same kind of thing with revising my story.

After I finish going through the critiques, I’ll be playtesting, that is reading through it looking for things that could use improvement. I try to figure out solutions to the tougher problems as I’m playtesting. A tougher problem might be: this conversation interrupts the action where it currently is, but I don’t know where else to put it and I think it’s kind of important not to just cut it out. Or, a bit earlier on, I had a problem like this: Okay, the monster has gotten to my main character, but I haven’t figured out how she’s going to get out of it alive.
For some reason, the hardest & least fun part of the problems usually seems to be just facing it and thinking about a solution. I don’t know why it’s hard to get myself to do that. I tend to want to do something easier instead. Fixing bugs often isn’t as easy as taking a shoe to an ant.


About David A Justiss

a fantasy novelist.
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