Write. Revise. Repeat.

Some people have asked about my writing process. I’ll give you a high level overview of the creation of Project Dandelion: Life & Death, from inception (the word, not the movie.)

I started thinking about the “why” of Project Dandelion about ten years ago; it was not called Project Dandelion but I’ll use that name throughout this post, just for reference. At that time, it was more of a futurist murder mystery but nothing (and I mean zero words) was written. It was a concept of the nature of life and death and the conflict between two people with far different conceptions of the meaning of life and death.

Last year, my daughter and I were driving to Chicago. She wants to write professionally and I said “you can steal my idea. I’m never going to do anything with it.” and shared the concept of Project Dandelion. She said “you should put those two species on other planets” and I thought “holy shit! That’s it!” and started writing.

The first draft was pure shit and took five months.

first-draft

I edited the draft (grammar and getting rid of that dreadful passive voice) in another four weeks. Now I had refined shit.

Then I created a matrix of all of the timeline and character events throughout all of the chapters. This revealed several pacing problems and a real issue with chapter length. I combined several chapters and reordered about 20% of the rest.

Then another edit (two weeks)

Then I found some beta readers. They came from two of my authors groups. They read the book over a month and provided some feedback, some very helpful. Based on that feedback, I am currently doing a major rewrite. I’ve eliminated a major story thread and completely reordered the first half of the book. This reorder exposed more pacing problems and required several additional chapters.

I’m about 50% of the way through this edit. The last feedback that I received (yesterday) said “this is a very strong piece”.

After completing the rewrite, I have lined up three more (different) beta readers and I suspect there will be one more edit.

Look for Project Dandelion: Life & Death in 2016.

Write Something That Matters.
D.G.Rettig

Advertisements

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Last night, I turned down an offer from a publisher. I’ll give you a second to pick up your jaw off the floor.

Turning them down was not the “big mistake.”

The entire affair gave me a “Pretty Woman” flashback, I think there’s an important lesson in the transaction, and so I’ll walk you through the events.


I write about the big questions (life and death, individualism, what makes us human, discrimination) through a lens of soft science fiction. And then I stumbled across a call for short stories outside of my genre; they wanted ‘zombie apocalypse’ flash fiction (5,000 – 10,000 words). I’m always up for a challenge, thought it would be an interesting distraction, and so I worked up an idea.

I wrote something about the evil men do to one another in tragic times, imagine “Masque of The Red Death” meets “Dawn of The Dead” and a touch of “Eyes Wide Shut”. Trust me, I hit some social mores that made me flinch as I wrote.

So I sent a sample to this independent publishing house and got an offer. They had very nice things to say, wanted a five-year exclusive to the story, and asked me if I could do a minimum of 10,000 words.  Home run, right? The Lotus has pulled up to the curb.

lotus-esprit-pretty-woman

So we emailed back and forth, I agreed to the word count and 5-years exclusive,  but asked for some controls on the promotion channels and a slightly larger advance.

I got some of what I asked for, some not everything, and then he broke my only rule.

No. Not no kissing.
nokissing

They asked for me to ghostwrite.

ghostwrite

So you like my story, enough that you want more, and are willing to pay for it… and you want to take credit for it?

My response: “I appreciate the positive feedback and the offer but I don’t ghostwrite.”

If it’s good enough to print, it’s good enough for my name. Now you’ve forced me to turn this story into something so incredible that I can come back and say…

bigmistake

Update 11/21/2015: If you would like to read this story, I’ve released it as a serialized novel using Channillo.

Write Something That Matters.
D.G.Rettig