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The Most Important Thing About Revision?
Absolute honesty with yourself.
Know when you are settling for a good enough because you can’t come up with something better.
Good enough is great as a place holder when drafting, but when revising everything should be your best.
No settling, no ho-hum scenes, no walking the dog, no boring moments. None.
I’m taking a final pass through the manuscript I just spent 3.5 weeks editing. I did the editing at a 20 pages/day rate. I’m looking at this revision in 100 page increments.
What a difference.
I see my repetitiveness. I see when things aren’t advancing. I see where I lose interest.
None of this is acceptable. All of it needs to be addressed.
But it’s only by admitting to myself what I don’t like and when something doesn’t settle right that I can begin to push my book toward it’s very best incarnation.
I hate when people say what they think you want to hear rather than what they honestly think.
Case in point, I asked a friend to go see We Bought a Zoo. She said, “Yeah sounds fun.”
So I followed up with an email offering a date and time. She said, “I’ll have to get back to you.”
And never did. The date passed. Not a word.
She completely blew me off. That’s just rude.
To me, it’s totally okay to say, “Nah, I don’t want to see that movie,” or “I’m slammed at work and can’t do it,” or “I need some me time.”
Instead, she acted like she wanted to go and I believed her. Am I stupid? Should I just expect everyone to talk in double speak? Is every yes really a no?!
I get that people think it’s socially rude to say no, but this is way way way ruder.
A no would have told me she wasn’t into seeing the movie. A no would have been the polite thing to say. It would have signaled that I should pursue another option with someone else.
She made me feel like a needy, unwanted idiot. Three things I really don’t appreciate.
I am scratching my head on this one. I guess I’ll just leave her alone for a while.
Resolution #1: Lose 35 lbs in 2011 and keep it off.
Status: Lost 22 lbs total and then gained half back by the end of the year. Overall, I lost and kept off 10 lbs.
Resolution #2: Finish drafting my second novel by May 2011.
Dunzo!!!! Finished drafting March 31! Finished editing July 1. Started querying agents in mid-September. Got a couple requests. Did another round of revisions.
Resolution #3: Send out queries until someone falls in love with my YA novel.
Sent out 117 queries for my first book. Waiting to hear back on a full request. Decided to revise in January/February and attend SCWBI conferences in January and April.
Resolution #4: Meditate and play with Emerson more.
Taking walks once or twice a week with Emerson. Meditate a couple times a week.
Resolution #5: Speak my mind when asked.
Find I enjoy saying no. It’s nice not to bow to social pressure and do things I hate. People tend to appreciate tactful honesty a few weeks after the fact.
4/5 done pretty well. That’s a B. I can live with a B. But next year, I’m going to tackle the weight loss with absolute gusto.
A ginormous thank you to Marc Schuster for presenting me with the Versatile Blogger Award!
I love filling my blog with tidbits from my life. It’s even more wonderful to know someone is enjoying reading it.
In the tradition of this award, I would like to present the award to some very versatile blogs that I enjoy reading:
- Abominations–From the Bad Uncle Award to the release of his latest book, Marc keeps you updated on the humorous happenings in his life and all things blog worthy.
- August McLaughlin’s Blog –From her Christmas song available on Itunes to her up-coming novel, August’s blog is infectiously interesting.
- Novel Girl–Chock full of advice for writers, she’s got posts about hair braiding as a metaphor for story structure and writing three dimensional characters.
- Indulge – Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences–Leslie’s blog covers exotic places she’s traveled to, where to find the best Christmas lights ever, and even how she learned to fly a helicopter.
- Gin & Lemonade–Lorna’s blog ranges from what Christmas is really about to her favorite books on writing. Every post is written with a dash of humor and a cup of honesty.
- Exiled Stardust–I love hearing about an expat’s experiences in Eastern Europe. Can’t get more versatile than that.
- Limebird Writers–Blog posts on everything a writer experiences and/or needs to know about.
Congrats to all of you! Your blogs keep me coming back because I never know what I will read about next.If I missed anyone, I apologize. I enjoy reading all the blogs I follow.
As part of the award here are 7 random facts about me:
- I can’t handle spicy food.
- I despise the smell of garlic.
- I’ve worn glasses since I was seven.
- My longest crush lasted 8 years.
- I can write in Chinese.
- I love beaches but hate the sun.
- I have an artificial disc in my spine.
I wish I’d been here today.
Instead, I went to the podiatrist and found out part of the ingrown toenail from 6 weeks ago remained in my toe. Despite the other doctor removing part of my toe nail and lancing the side of my toe.
Luckily, there was no pus pocket so no lancing was prescribed this time around.
Instead he told me he’d stick 3 needles of novacaine in my toe and then remove part of the toe nail and get whatever was left inside my cuticle.
He left the room to get the novacaine.
I turn to mom. “Those needles are going to hurt. I might swear.”
Mom says, “Squeeze my hand. Please don’t swear.” She uses a pleading tone like I said I was going to run away and get married at 18.
I sigh. “I’ll try not to but this really hurts bad.”
Again mom begs, “Don’t swear. Squeeze as hard as you need.”
But she knows me so when the doctor returns she confesses, “She might scream.”
He replies, “That’s fine.”
She hesitates. “She might swear.”
He says, “Doesn’t bother me.”
For her sake, I don’t say a F888ing swear the entire time.
He does use a topical numbing spray that helps. The needles still hurt, but it’s nothing like last time’s pain level.
I do squeeze the heck out of her hand.
I look down after he finishes the three injections. My big toe is all swollen up.
The numbing takes effect quickly and he removes the part of my toenail that is causing all the problems. I don’t feel it.
He holds it up and shows me the jagged piece that was embedded in my skin.
It’s all over in about 20 minutes.
My foot is numb, tingly and half asleep for a while.
The novacaine leads my entire foot to swell up. Guess that’s a side effect. Upside, I think the ingrown toe nail may be vanquished. Downside, my nail bed is achy tender and my foot feels half asleep and tingly.
What a lovely birthday present that extended into the Christmas holiday. Hopefully this will be better by Christmas Day.
In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory.
You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You feel every horrific and blessed thing that Jessie experiences.
I have never fallen so completely in love with a book before. Her writing is beyond beautiful. It’s startling and humbling. I found myself nodding and rereading lines, thinking YES that is exactly how it feels but how did she capture it so perfectly?
The book is brimming with brilliance. Some of my favorite lines are:
“The mind is so good at revising reality to suit its needs.”
“There’s release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is.”
“Sometimes the heart wanted what the soul demanded.”
The story felt like a mid-life crisis crossed with a finding oneself journey.
Sue Monk Kidd’s website describes the story as “the transendent tale explores the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Here is an unforgettable love story, between a woman and a monk, a woman and her family, and ultimately a woman and her own soul.”
I think of it as a spiritual journey that leaves Jessie and the reader forever changed by calling into question the bonds of love and commitment. By reminding us that everything is a choice. Whether to leave a husband, to reunite with a parent, to be fully alive.
Sue Monk Kidd is a master of the writing craft. Her ability to set the scene is breathtaking and realistic. Her dialogue is poignant. Her character’s internal thoughts vivid and engaging. There was not one point in the book where I wanted to put it down. Every aspect of the writing was engaging. I will be rereading this book for years to come, hoping to gain insight into how she does it.
This is the best book I’ve ever read in my life.
I’d love to say that inspiration struck me here. That getting back to nature was my muse.
But it didn’t and it wasn’t.
The place where inspiration consistently strikes me?
It’s the bathroom.
I got the concept for my adult commercial fiction novel while scrubbing the tiles in my tub. The conflict and POV came while I cleaned the toilet.
Every time I take a shower, I have an a-ha moment with whatever story I’m working on.
When I’m doing handwashing in the sink, bam the perfect word/turn of phrase pops into my head.
Mind you this doesn’t happen when I’m dusting or vacuuming.
There’s something bizarrely magical about the bathroom. It’s my muse place.
Not sure if it’s all the water or the sense of privacy, but that is my room of realizations and breakthroughs.
What’s the weirdest place you’ve been when inspiration hit?
Last night I spent hours googling ingrown toenail rememdies. Yup. I have another ingrown toenail. It gets better–it’s the same toe that the doctor lanced on a month ago. Same cuticle.
Turns out once you get one, you are prone to more.
I wasn’t going to get a pus pocket again. Nope. So I googled all the remedies. Soaking, prying the nail up and away from the nail bed, etc.
Last night, I managed to pry the center of the nail away from the cuticle. It was growing into the skin under my toenail. But the right cuticle was puffy and red.
So I put antibiotic cream on it, wrapped it up and went to bed.
This morning the corner of the toe is super sensitive. Extremely painful. So I shower and decide to try to pry the corner of the nail away from the cuticle with a sterilized flat metal rounded tool.
This is wicked painful. However, I manage to pull the skin back enough and gently probe under the nail. A spear shaped piece of nail pops out of my skin.
I don’t know if I should clip it or let it grow out. So I made sure it’s clear of the cuticle and then spread lots of antibiotic cream around it. Then I bandage it. Gotta say the pain relief was near instant.
I could barely stand on it. Now I can walk okay again. Going to watch it a couple days and call a Podiatrist to see if I can get in before the holiday.
So be warned, ingrown toenails come back. The key is to gently pry the nail away from the skin without harming the skin. Hope it prevents an infection. Otherwise, it’s 2 more blessed weeks on antibiotics.