It’s been nearly a week since I returned from holiday, and it seems to be taking a while for me to return to regular life. I still wake most nights wondering where I am, the familiar lines of my wardrobe and dresser taking several moments to register, as though I’ve been travelling far in my dreams and not yet quite returned.
This is somewhat unusual. I wonder whether it has anything to do with the busy nature of my time away, spending two nights here, one night there, waking each morning to realise where I was and where I had to get to that day. Perhaps in my subconscious I’m still travelling, my mind not having caught up to the reality of my body.
I’m not really back into writing yet, either. Sure, there are lots of ideas running around in my mind, as per usual, but I can’t seem to assemble them into any kind of order just yet. Flashes of story here and there, bits and pieces I know I need to add into the third Ambeth book, blog posts yet to write. I am doing a lot more reading than I was, though – I had gone from being someone who read several books per week to someone who hardly read at all, my time being consumed by writing. So I have made a conscious effort to include reading in my day again, having a backlog of books and work to catch up on. So far, so good.
Coming back to the third instalment of Ambeth, I have a question for those of you out there who write series: Do you find you need to go back and read your published instalments again before writing the next one?
I know Ambeth intimately, a world inside my mind. I know the characters and all their motivations, why they do what they do, why they will do other things and, for the most part, where they are going to end up at the end of the series. However. There are small details that I have to continue with, intricacies of the world I’ve created that must be adhered to, especially with the multiple storylines. So, even though I’ve already written book three and am at the structural edit stage, I’m considering reading my books again, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. Plus it’s a nice way to get back into Ambeth and see the story moving forward.
Perhaps you’re all just shouting ‘Well, of course you need to!’ Or perhaps you’re just shaking your head. Perhaps I’m just stating the obvious. I’ve heard of writers keeping books of notes on all their characters so they don’t forget anything, but that seems far too organised for a Pantser like me. Plus, as I say, the characters live in my head, notes complete. It’s more the storyline details I need to check on, rather than the character motivations.
So I’m just putting it out there. Feedback appreciated 🙂
I like to re-read periodically, just because, although I know the story inside out, there are always things you write that pass unnoticed at the time but which open new avenues.
I can sympathise with not being in the swing of things. An avid reader all my life, writing has taken up such a lot of time and ‘flu left me curled up with a book… now I don’t want to put them down 🙂
Oh, I hope you’ve recovered from the flu, Sue – never a fun thing to have, even if it did give you time to read. And I am enjoying getting back into reading, too many half finished books by my bed and on my Kindle. I will re-read Ambeth too, just to make sure I don’t miss anything, and trying to ignore those phrases and words I will want to change 🙂
I’m fine, just a bit tired still thanks, Helen. 🙂
I am in the luxurious position of preparing some re-releases with new covers… now I’ve learned a few more things about publishing 🙂 Which means I can, if I choose, release revised editions… and change stuff 😀
Wow, that is luxurious – how exciting! I do think there will be a point where I might amend my books slightly, but it would only be a word here and a phrase there, nothing to do with the story.However we are very lucky to be able to do so when we wish, one of the luxuries of self-publishing 🙂
Well, I have to admit there were so many minor things I’d missed before… the chance for another thorough edit and proof will ease my Virgoan soul 😉 x
I think, although I’m a Pisces, I must have some Virgo in there too, because I feel the same way – it’s minor things, no one else would probably notice them, but they bug me. So I think there will come a day when I will make the changes too – lucky you getting to do so now and with new covers! 🙂
One extra space or a missing full stop and it bugs me… regardless of how many gross errors I find in mainstream publishers’ books. So it is a real boon to be able to go back and tidy up 🙂
Oh I bet, I’m just the same. 70,000 words+ and yet it’s the one small typo that bugs me, or the extra word where it’s not needed. Well, enjoy the task – it will be very satisfying once done, I’m sure 🙂
with all the books needing sorting….I may be gone some time 😉
Oh, and I’m glad you’re feeling better now xx
If I could just stay awake it would help 🙂 xx
You obviously need the rest 🙂 xx
Not this much! 😀 x
Are you certain that you want to return to the real world yet, Helen? I’m not sure it’s all that attractive just now.
Too true, Mick. Maybe I’ll just go to Ambeth instead and stay there for a while 🙂
Yes, another reason to revisit it!
I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit sick at the thought of re-reading my published novel – I’m terrified I’ll notice mistakes and bits I should have changed, or words that could have been better.
But in the chase of a series I think it’s important to transport yourself back into that world as you reach the final editing stages. I’m sure there will be little snippets you’ve forgotten that can further enhance the rest of the series.
Thanks Suzanne – I think that’s why I need to re-read as well, to make sure I’ve covered all those little bits and pieces. I know there will be bits I’ll want to change in terms of words and phrases, so I’m going to try very hard to ignore those!
I write solo projects, but find myself referring back when Lisa the robot girl appears on my blog, or when I need new artwork for her. Your referring back makes perfect sense to me.
Thank you 🙂 The thought of keeping notes and going through them just makes my head spin, but I like the idea of referring back and do keep a copy of each book next to my desk, just in case I need to. So it looks as though a full re-read is on the cards, which is what I thought – I will just try to overlook the sentences I know I’ll want to change and just focus on the plot 🙂
I dip in and out as needed, referring back as if they were text books. Its spellings of names and that kind of thing that get me confused and need double checking.
Yes, I do that too – I have a couple of prophecies in the first book that I have to stick to, and I have to keep reminding myself what they say! I’m also thinking of drawing a physical map of Ambeth for my own reference, as I want to make sure the scenes make sense as the characters move through the gardens and into the landscape beyond.
Thats a good idea. Why not includevit in your books? Most fantasy books have maps in them. I love maps, real and fantasy. I framed a huge map of Lord of the Rings for my husband one Christmas which sits in pride of place at the top of the stairs.
Oh, that’s a lovely gift! I might include it, if I can draw something to my satisfaction. There’s a scene I wrote and I’ve since realised I need to orient it in the landscape, work out where it is in relation to everything else. So I definitely need to do something! God, I’ll just add it to the list… 😀
Sorry! Did I just make your list longer? 😢😣😄
LOL! Nope, not possible ;-D I’m sure you have one quite similar…
Indeed! Think we all do!
I haven’t written series since I wonder how I’m getting past 40k words period lol. But yes I forget character’s names and if they’re in on certain secrets. I’m like, did I already reveal this to so and so? Sometimes they even change professions without telling me 😉 I’m thinking of keeping a character list to keep up with them!
Yes, they do have a habit of doing unexpected things, don’t they? I’ve heard of people doing character lists for reference, though that’s a bit too organised for me, especially with how they keep changing and revealing new things about themselves 🙂
Yeah I’m too lazy and then I would confuse the list as well haha
Ha, I’m quite sure you’re not lazy LOL. But why write them down if they keep changing? Let them do their thing 🙂
hahaha! yes, let them!
I love how characters live in your head 🙂
Yep, it gets a bit crowded in there sometimes! 😀
I know what you mean. Its difficult to go back to the routine after a time away… I don’t (yet?) write series but I feel I would benefit from reading the previous volumes again. If only to refresh my memory on those tiny details I might want to link back to or expand on. Hope that makes sense… 🙂
Thanks Elissaveta, it does make sense. I am planning on doing a re-read, as much to get my mind back into Ambeth as anything else. Plus I don’t want to miss any tiny details, especially as the story gets more complex.
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