I’m stuck in revisions. My book is pretty much a giant pile of silver poo right now. All part of the process, I know.
So I thought I’d share a great post on how to support your favorite writers from a blog buddy of mine!
It was a few weeks back, when I was in NY for the MWA-NY panel, that I sat down to lunch and read something that would help me through my editorial revisions over the past week and a half.
It’s weird how these things tumble into your lap and you’d swear the universe sent you exactly what you needed to face the next big hurdle.
I was reading the January edition of Writer’s Digest. Specifically, the Editor’s Letter. Jessica Strawser had an amazing quote from Jo Jo Moyes that framed the entire edition.
“Every time I start a book, I think, I have no idea how I did this last time.”
After I finished reading my editor’s notes on Six Train’s sequel, that was exactly how I felt. It paralyzed me. I had no clue how to fix the story. Because my editor doesn’t tell me what to do, she tells me what she sees on the page and what isn’t working. But she gives me the freedom to come up with a solution.
I absolutely love her for it. But when I begin, I freak out and fear I will muck it up even more. Part of the process requires me doubting everything I did, so I can see it from her perspective. (90-95% of the time she is right.)
A bad head cold meant I wasn’t in the best place to start. I gave myself a couple days. But I could feel my panic growing. If I didn’t dive in soon, I wouldn’t be able to.
So I coaxed myself into working on the first chapter. A toe in the pool of revision.
Since then, I’ve been tackling 20 pages of the book a day and doing massive rewrites. Entire scenes added. Chapters moved around. Character arcs changed. And I’m at page 150 of what is currently a 463 page novel. Because yes, I added 30 pages last week.
But I’m entering the part where I know I am going to be cutting entire chapters. They aren’t needed because so much was moved forward. This is the week I hope/pray to cut 10K words.
Even if I don’t know how I did it last time, I dive in and somehow as I go, I figure it out for this story.
How do you approach revisions? Do you have a set method that works for all your books? Or do you have to find your way through each one?
So somehow I’ve managed to get myself sick again. Too much travel, not enough sleep, overexposure to public transportation, and bam I’m back to sick.
Not so sick that I’m confined to bed. More of a half work day / half resting in bed day watching Netflix and CW app.
It started with a severe headache last weekend, laryngitis set in on Monday and by Wednesday I was, snoughing, sneeze-coughing.
In all my 38 years, I’ve never done this before. It’s where you sneeze, but you don’t just expel mucus from your nose, but unintentionally from your throat too. Somehow the sneeze does double duty and is as productive as a cough without the work.
It’s got to be one of the most unexpectedly gross things I’ve done. So I sneeze, cover my nose and then realize a giant mucus ball came out of my mouth and is now on my papers.
There’s that moment where I’m just puzzled. Like where the heck did it come from. And I realize I’m snoughing. That’s quickly replaced by ew, I am so not cleaning that up. Then I’m like well someone has to and it is my mucus ball. I’ve never had such an easy time expectorating. But yuck.
Have you ever snoughed?
In work related news, my editor sent me the notes on Six Train’s sequel. This is the hardest part. Changing my perception to see it as she sees it. And I’m doing it with a blucky respiratory situation.
Still, I’m seeing her points and I’m also at the point where I think I should have never written this sequel. It’s a cluster****. I’m not sure I can fix it.
This is normal. It’s part of my writing process. But this time I really think I may not be able to do it. (BTW, I think this every time, but it still doesn’t take the horror of the uncertainty away.) I did work on Chapter 1 Sunday and I think I got what needed to be done there. Just 81 more chapters to go!
Stay tuned for more updates.
In other news, my publisher is running a 99cent sale on TGWIG’s kindle until 1/29/16. If you want to pick up the kindle, now’s the time to do it!
As I’ve been working on revisions, I’ve noticed that 30 pages a day works well for me. It’s usually 4 hours of actual time at the computer making changes.
Which may not sound like a lot, but that’s just the initial work time.
When I’m revising, I like to do a chapter and then walk away from the laptop. Work out for an hour or do chores or work on something else.
Because that time away is when my brain can turn things over in the background. And usually that’s when it can figure out what is bothering me in a scene. I might notice at my laptop that something is feeling slow in the pacing, but I’m not exactly sure on the fix.
That time away is when my brain formulates a solution. I can’t always do it on demand in the exact moment.
The time away lets my mind focus on something else, while in the background it gently and repeatedly comes at the work.
There have been times it’s taken me an entire day to get a scene right. I actually spend 8 hours on 4 pages mulling them over and rewriting them until they work.
I’ve also noticed that feedback is hard to handle (as usual). But if I just leave comments that don’t make sense on the initial read and deal with them later, then they do eventually make sense on my second pass through the book.
These sound like simple things, but for some reason I forgot them in my rush to be on deadline. I forgot to trust myself and the process. I lost sight of the fact that I can get it there.
So I’m writing this post. Not just for you my lovely readers, but for me, as a reminder.
Have you noticed you need a balance of down time as you revise so that things have time to percolate or do you like to get in there and just go?
I’m giving away two signed copies of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts over on Goodreads–it’s an international giveaway of the paperback.
It’s been almost 5 weeks since my last post or my last visit to blogs. *Big wave*
I can’t tell you how much it helped to remove the blogging writing and reading and downsize the social media. It’s the first time I’ve relaxed in months.
I took Margie Lawson’s Empowering Character Emotions workshop via a self-study lecture packet and got back to my love of writing. I’m gearing up to take her Master’s Class in person this summer!
I used what I learned to work on a third manuscript I’ve shopped around in the past. I went through my crit partner’s comments on that manuscript too. Thanks Kat for the brilliant insights! I’ve added six thousand words and I think the book is much better for it. I’m 2/3 of the way done revising it.
I sent off Six Train’s sequel to my editor and am awaiting her editorial comments. The timeline for that is ARCs in July and actual publication in November 2016.
For social media, I’ll be here every week going forward and I’ll be on Facebook regularly. My Twitter presence has always been intermittent and will remain so.
In December, I wrapped up my after-school writing workshops with Girls Inc. and the girls made me these amazing thank you cards!
Had an awesome school visit at Grasso Tech, where I taught a writing workshop on getting inspired and turning your ideas into a concept for a story. This is the coolest sign I’ve ever seen at one of my events! Big thank you to Mr. D’Agostino, the head of the library, for spearheading the event.
I’ve got two events scheduled this month:
|January 13th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.||In New York, NY, at the Salmagundi Club (47 Fifth Avenue); guest speaker on the self-publishing panel at the monthly MWA-NY meeting.|
|January 16th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.||In Boston, MA, at the Arisia Convention; Panelist on the “My Friend Wrote a Book, Do I Have to Buy It?” Panel|
February and March are going to be pure writing months because I need to focus on Six Train’s sequel.
After a long bout of illness in November, I’ve learned that I’ve got to take better care of me.
I’ve got to nurture my creative well and sometimes that means just holing up with a great book and not speaking to anyone for a few days. Sometimes it’s a two hour hike with a good friend. Sometimes it’s doing laundry, playing with my dog, and taking a hot bath.
Bottom line, I’ve got to give myself this down time or the writing suffers.
I’ve done a ton of thinking and career focusing and I am ready to try querying agents again.
It may not sound like much but after what happened, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to put my foot in that pool again. But it’s like dating, you take a sabbatical and then you come back when you’re ready.
And I’m ready.
How are you starting the new year?
I hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. Mine was filled with silly moments including how many Eugenes are in my family (we’re Italian on Mom’s side) and Grandma H announcing my father only had 10 years left to live.
The food was amazing! But all those carbs swelled my stomach up majorly. I am just starting to feel my ribs again.
My buddy Brett came in from NYC and we got to watch Killer Mermaid and Devil. We love a bad horror movie.
The best takeaway from Devil–if the devil is nearby, when you drop a piece of toast with jam on it, it will always land jam side down. Also children will hit their heads on tables. So there’s your litmus test. Have toast and jam or a small child on hand at all times.
I’m finally going to clean my room. Woohoo. It’s been about two months since the last time I did it. Last week, I started with the drawers and the shelves for clothes. This week dust and vacuum.
I’ve sent Six Train’s sequel off to my editor for developmental editing.
I’m doing a self study writing workshop in December with Margie Lawson. I’ve done two of them and I can’t wait to do this one. It’s part of my preparation for a 4 day writing boot camp with her in July 2016.
The book tour for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is almost wrapped up, so it’s the perfect time to take a break from blogging.
My blog hiatus starts December 5. I’ll be back here on the blog January 5, 2016. Until then I’ll be popping in on Facebook and Twitter a few times a week.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. I look forward to catching up in the new year!