I’ve had to rethink my Sven goals just a little. I didn’t realize that revising the first book would take as much time as it has, so I’m not actively working on the next WIP.
There seems to be mass confusion with the GH requirements. Some folks say to worry about the 55 page entry only, because if you make it to the finals and your book is requested, they’ll give you a chance to provide an updated copy.
Others say the book should be revised all the way through and as polished as you can make it. I guess I’m erring on the side of caution, but it’s making me quite unhappy to work on this thing non stop. The more I revise, the more I see what I could change to be even better.
And I know that’s a trap.
True story: when I was about 6, I had a playmate who was four years older. She had the patience of Job, because I remember one day wanting to play Barbies. I got Barbie and she got Ken. And I made her reenact the “meet” so many times it wasn’t funny. I came up with all sorts of scenarios, including casting Barbie as Jeannie and Ken as Tony Nelson (I Dream of Jeannie for you whippersnappers). I was never satisfied, and we replayed the meet over and over. Finally, I think she gave up.
But as I revise, I remember my 6yr old perfectionist. And I tell her we don’t have time to rewrite this story in every possible incarnation she can imagine.
How do you revise? Do you have a limit, say two times through, or do you revise until you’re satisfied? How do you resist the perfectionist inside (if you have one)?
Can you imagine writing before copy-paste-delete? Not me! I know some people still write longhand, and then transcribe it into the computer. I can’t do it. I tried it, but my brain moves much faster than my hand, and I got frustrated.
Today is a Sven check-in. My writing has slowed down because I finished the book, and instead of launching into the next one, I started the revisions. I know you’re supposed to let the book sit, but I’ve been writing this one long enough that I’ve pretty much forgotten the first half by now. Really.
Anyway, I wrote 1685 words yesterday, which is kind of scary because the book is over 70K now. Hopefully, today, I’ll do some cutting. But what I’m (re)discovering in this process is that I love rewriting. Once the story is finally on the page, it’s so much fun to go back and expand the stuff I glossed over in my rush to reach the end. It’s amazing to see a scene with new eyes and to be able to pull out the nuances I wanted the first time but couldn’t find because the story wasn’t complete and I didn’t know the characters.
And that’s another thing: knowing the characters. By the end of the book, I know them so well that I have to go back and fix them in the beginning. They weren’t fully formed in my head, and I made them do things that weren’t right. Easy enough to fix once I know them.
I love hearing about process, which is why I like to talk about mine. Everyone is different, but it’s always helped me to know how writers work. I used to think there was a correct way to write a book. Now I know there isn’t.
Process is also a journey in self-discovery. When I first started, I worked on one book for a year, rewriting it as I went, polishing and polishing, until I had a finished product at the end. Truthfully, the book could have stood some revision. I didn’t realize that beautiful sentences and a good story weren’t necessarily the same thing. I had a beautifully written cliche.
The next book I entered in the GH and had to write like mad to get to the end. It was horrible, it didn’t final, and I didn’t bother revising it (pretty much because I didn’t know how). The next book I gave up on. I wrote another book very quickly, then abandoned it during revisions because I got bored.
That brings me to the current book. I rewrote the first 150 pages twice. Threw it all out and rewrote it. Ouch. Finally reached the end by writing to a deadline (thanks, Sven) and now I’m revising. I’m not bored, and I’m not worried I won’t get to the end. In fact, I think I’ve finally found my process. Write the first third or half, rewrite it once or twice, write to the end, and revise.
I don’t plot (tried it and failed). I don’t plan. I have two characters and a problem and I launch into nothingness. Not pretty, but that’s the way it works. Why am I sharing this? Because I remember floundering and wondering why I couldn’t do it “right.” I didn’t realize there was no right. If talking about my process helps even one writer who is struggling, I’m glad to do it.
How does your process work? Do you plot? Or do you launch into nothingness and hope you make it to the other side? I love hearing about it, so tell me!
How does Monday creep up on me every week? I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the faster the weeks go by. In August, I was looking at Caribbean cruises to book. Now, it’s less than two months before I get on the ship. Where does the time go?
It also means that, once again, I’m facing the end of a year in which I haven’t necessarily accomplished the things I wanted to accomplish.
Every January, I feel like a new woman. I have goals and plans and by golly I’m going to do everything I can to reach my goals. I guess I can’t complain about this past year too much since it entailed a complete change in my life — a transition from military life to civilian life, a new home in a new state, a new RWA chapter, new friends, etc. I really LIKE where I am in my life. And I have been working on my goals, so I can’t complain too much.
But the new year is approaching, and that means new plans. It also means a reevaluation of old plans. I have to decide what’s working, what’s not, and what more I can do to get where I want to go. It’s only November, and I’m thinking about it, probably because I have a busy two months ahead of me. Company for Thanksgiving, company after Thanksgiving (hubby just informed me of this one over the weekend), parties, events, a cruise over Christmas, and who knows what else will pop up between now and January.
It’s never too early to consider goals and plans, IMO. One of my goals is to write the first draft of a new book during the 70 Days of Sweat. How am I doing with that? Since finishing my other WIP on Wednesday, I’ve written only about 300 words. Been a busy few days. Guess I better get cracking if I’m going to reach my goal.
Are you on track for your goals this year? Need to reevaluate? Thinking about next year already?
Woohoo! I typed 2763 words today to reach THE END, finally, of this frickin book!!!!
I’ll think about revisions tomorrow. Just call me Scarlett O’Hara. 🙂
I forgot where I left off on Thursday (pre-retreat), though I only had a few hundred words, but today I’m sitting at 3214 words completed since then. Almost 1900 of them were today. My brain is tired. My book is nearly done. I’d have never gotten here without Sven, or at least not so soon. I clearly need deadlines and pressure. How depressing.
I’m off for a fabulous weekend of talking, eating, and drinking with my fellow Heart of Dixie chapter members. We’ve rented an inn in the Tennessee mountains and today we descend en masse to take over the place.
Tonight is fun and games, tomorrow I get a table massage, and tomorrow night is our 1920s themed Murder Mystery Dinner party. I’m playing a gambler, which isn’t nearly as exciting as being a flapper, but that’s okay. I’m a terrible actress no matter which way you cut it. 🙂
Lessee, Wednesday, I wrote 1377 words. Yesterday, not so good. Too much washing and packing to do. 🙁 I only got 497 words done. I’m not sure how today, or this weekend, will pan out. I’m taking the laptop, but just look at that picture. Do you really think I’m going to get anything done? 🙂
See y’all on Monday!
Edited: picture deleted