top of page

Thinking. Writing Cardinal Machines 6.

Some people consider edits and revisions to be highly similar. Some believe they're the same thing. But for me, revising is rewriting, and... that generally destroys my novels. I'm no fan of rewriting -- another reason I'm a terrible fit for traditional publishing, the other being losing the rights to my own works -- but I do make a lot of edits. However, I've gotten to the point where, while writing mysteries at least, trying to plan or write down my intentions in a chapter summary form (something I used to do frequently) can screw with my ability to carry on with the plot properly.

Now, since I had more than 50,000 words of Cardinal Machines 6 written before I decided it was time to crack down on my fear and publish Folded Earth and Twisted Cord, that put me in a pickle. The problem is, you actually aren't the same writer in the same frame of mind when you travel across a year. I was coming into winter when I started writing CM6. I look up now? Spring, and I'm in the middle of a global quarantine. Think about that for a second. The scale of this quarantine is so historic, so massive, that it felt, at first, like we were crickets in the night, huddling and silent, as a massive, half-known interplanetary predator passed in the darkness of space. That's going to change a writer, and that was even before the scale of the hardship and suffering really hit. Since then? Some friends have railed against the news coverage, the closures, the quarantine, and some friends have lost their parents. In the middle of this, I'm trying to write.

I came out of the elevated language of the Twisted Cord and its seemingly insouciant King, Ruel, who is deliciously bright, complex, and ancient, and into the sharp and burning world Zoey inhabits, not physically, where she's had help to pull herself and her home together, but, in the spiritual sense. So that was whiplash. Lol! I remember setting one book down beside the other and reading off some of the maddeningly covert language of King Ruel, beside a scene of Zoey's speech patterns and just sort of sitting there like a disconnected television. Then I got up and went to art for a while. I couldn't situate them so closely together. I struggle with that. With shifting gears like that. I hope to improve. After I gave myself some time, I realized I'd done some things in the early going I just wasn't ready for. Zoey wasn't up for it either, I could feel that much. I let the Cardinal books unfold entirely organically, and deviating from that had proven to be poison. I realized I had to dial it back. I also had a revelation happen in the another chapter I do want to bring soon, but, the book's dance card is full. I mean very full. By now I've bumped three things to book 7. I just can't tackle them this time round. Now that I've done the dreaded revision, I feel back on track. It's intimidating, let me tell you, to get back to a book after a few months of being away. It's as if the person who handed it to you is a stranger to you, even though it is you.

So, there it is. I can write now.

After I read this book by a Navy SEAL.

Yeah. XD

P.S. To describe the kind of torn tidal surge between writing Twisted Cord and Cardinal Machines, I found something musical. This actually does make sense (honest!), since so much of my writing has a soundtrack, and because many books have a music score that I write to. But you have to commit to listening to it straight through, or you won't get the picture / differences in the voices. All up? Betcha you'll think of Zoey by the end.

42 views0 comments


bottom of page