Fangirl Friday: On (Re)writing space opera

HI, peeps!

So…yeah. Last week’s post started a flurry o’ convo here and over on my Facebook page, much to my amazement because wow, there are other authors feeling the pinch and the stress and the existential WTF*ckery and I just wanted to tell all of you thank you for speaking up because I was feeling really alone and sad, and knowing that it’s not just me made me feel a bit better.

I mean, for what it’s worth in an existential crisis and all. LOL

I also wanted to tell all of you (and a few I already have) going through some frustration about writing and publishing that if you need a shoulder, drop me a line. I totally empathize and I get it and we can share some tales and jokes and rants and whatever else. I’m easy to find. Just look for “Andi Marquette” on Facebook and Twitter or drop me a line at the “Contact” page here at Women and Words. 🙂

So I had a momentary frustrated pity party for myself last week, but it was something I wanted to put out there for other perspectives and I got those as well as some really great words of encouragement.

My co-admin and colleague in crime here at Women and Words Jove Belle and I had a discussion on the W&W podcast about that blog I did last week, and Jove had a great idea and posed it — if you dig an author’s work, let them know. Just a quick note to let them know. That was a really great pay it forward kind of thing.

And HUGE shout-out to Sheena at the Lesbian Review, who took it to Twitter and hashtagged it #thankanauthor. Lots of luv to you, Sheena!

So this week, my reality is, I’m trying to get my damn backlist back on the market. Publishing, as I said last week, is dicey, and I’m thinking about my relationship with it, but I had committed to myself to get my sci fi series back on the market and also my mystery series. But let’s focus on my sci fi, which is what I’m doing now.

I re-released the first in my space opera series, The Far Seek Chronicles, last summer, Friends in High Places. That got a major overhaul and I took some scenes out, added a bunch more, and basically it has nearly 40,000 more words.

That overhaul has repercussions throughout the rest of the series, so I’m currently working on the re-do of the second book, A Matter of Blood, bringing it into line with the re-do of FIHP. That requires making sure the characters I introduced remain consistent, the subtle changes I made to extant characters carry through, and that the overarching plot arcs that tie the books together still do that. And when you’re dealing with space opera, which is generally full of intrigue, often fast-paced, and bringing in all kinds of backstory as well as making everything work against the backdrop of the worlds and cultures you create, well, it becomes a bit of a project.

And this revised edition of MOB is gonna go in some new directions, too, because even in the first chapter, I’ve got a new character in the background. And because of the reboot of FIHP, I’ve had to extensively re-write the first couple of chapters, re-doing big swaths of dialogue to match the shifts in the story in the reboot of the first book.

Which is really interesting to do, because I’m basically stitching together parts of both books into a tapestry that works, that flows in logical continuity from one section/platform to the other.

I wonder if readers think about that part of the writing process.

Overall, the writing process IS about sitting down (or standing; I do both) and writing. But there are mechanical-ish things going on, too. Some authors create the infrastructure of their stories before they actually start building it. They have elaborate blueprints (outlines) and then they get to work, framing in that story in accordance with their blueprint, making allowances if necessary. Some are more flexible than others in terms of the plan, but it’s sort of like building something, and you watch it take shape over a course of time.

I’m not a planner in that sense. Things flow organically for me most of the time, but doing a revised edition is another matter entirely.

Do you ever watch that show on A&E called Zombie House? It’s a house-flipping show set in Florida, and the team buys up often foreclosed or abandoned houses, remodels them, and then sells for a profit for themselves (hopefully).

That’s kind of what a revised edition in bookspeak is all about. I have the original infrastructure, but it needs improvement. So, like a contractor, I gut parts of the story, fling the debris outside, then start re-building. I’m knocking walls down, adding space, closing some off, re-doing plumbing and electrical, making things prettier (ideally), fixing things, and then tying it all together. Basically, when I’m doing a revised edition, it’s a freaking mess.

ACTUAL PHOTO OF FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES DURING RE-WRITE (okay, not really, but close)

And if it’s a series, I have to not only think about the first book I’m re-doing, but how those remodels are going to affect the story in the next books.

So writing isn’t just about sitting down (or standing) and hammering it out onto a keyboard. It’s about thinking on a variety of levels concurrently. Micro, macro, and in a series, way macro, especially when you’re doing re-boots of a series.

I’m monitoring individual character arcs, how they intertwine with the overarching plot and subplots, and making sure it’s all consistent within the world I created. And am adding to.

And I realized something as I’ve been working on this reboot. It’s like writing fanfic of my own work. It’s like I’m playing with characters that are already there, in a setting that’s up and running. And that’s probably why I’m having fun with it. Because it does feel a little like meta-fanfic. And that makes me laugh, but hey. At least I’m getting this shit done, right?

Happy Friday, all. And may the odds be ever in our favor.

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8 thoughts on “Fangirl Friday: On (Re)writing space opera

  1. So glad you are enjoying writing or rebuilding again. Nothing like getting back to the joy of writing for sheer pleasure to trample the existential blues.

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  2. Fanfic of our own work! I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but you’re spot on. I have sets of characters that I return to for multiple short stories because I want to spend more time with them and find out what they do next, and I think from time to time of trying to link the stories into a longer whole. I may never get around to it. but you’re an inspirational role model, Andi.

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  3. Hey Andi, for what it’s worth YOU are one of this reader’s favorite authors! I think I have the ebook versions of all your work currently available (8 books) including the revised Friends in High Places. I purchased that from Dirt Road Books. I’m waiting anxiously for the revised A Matter of Blood.

    Although I’m not a writer I can certainly understand your frustration and think you need to do what’s right for you first. I only buy ebooks for reasons of space, convenience and my eyesight so probably don’t help your bottom line very much but I love your work and the growth you’ve shown as a writer. I was somewhat awed by the growth shown between From the Hat Down and From the Boots Up. Both of them are on my reread list and have been read several times.

    I’m sorry to admit that I’m one of those readers that hasn’t offered feedback to the authors. In my defense I’m not on any social media because I’m too busy reading 🙀🤓! I will try to do better in the future with emails or maybe comments on the authors websites.

    Thank you for being you and always sharing your thoughts here with us.

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  4. HI! Thanks for stopping by! Just keep reading. No need to go on social media if it’s not your comfort zone. If you feel the need to thank an author, do it in a way that’s comfie for YOU.

    And thank you so much for all your support over the years. It means a lot.

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  5. I’m so happy to see an update on “The Far Seek Chronicles!” I adored the first book (the DRB edition) and I’ve been wondering about the fate of the sequels. I’m very excited for their re-release. ❤

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  6. I may be having an existential crisis, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to finish what I started! lol

    Working on Matter of Blood now. Making it all sexy. Hopefully. 😀

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