Revision Wars–Battling Miranda

The second hardest part of revising?

Battling my inner critic, Miranda.

It’s been 10 weeks since I started on this re-vision of my manuscript. Drafting new scenes, reworking old scenes into an alternate POV.

10 weeks of hearing Miranda say I can’t do this. Or it won’t be good enough.

She swore I’d ruin the book.

Every time she said I couldn’t, every time she made me fear I’d never write another decent word, I sat down at my laptop and faced the fear.

Just work on this chapter, this scene, this sentence.

Eventually, I got so immersed in the words, my characters drowned out Miranda.

I forgot to worry about failing. I forgot about finding the right way and let the story guide me. I fell in love with my novel all over again.

And I promised my characters that I would write the absolute best book I could for them.

As I proofread the manuscript for the last time, fear seizes me. What if it’s not good enough? What if it isn’t what the agent envisioned? I swear Miranda is cackling somewhere.

It’s the best thing I’ve written. And that counts. That matters. No matter what Miranda says. No matter what happens next, I’m proud of the book I have in front of me.

Kourtney 1 Miranda 0

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40 Responses to Revision Wars–Battling Miranda

  1. limebirdbeth says:

    Bad Miranda! Go Kourtney!

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Miranda needs to mind her own business. Sounds like you know exactly what needs to be done. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Seriously. But she’s not one to go quietly into the background. Especially when I’m facing a new task. That’s when she’s at her loudest. She used to mess up my dancing too. Make me overthink it and get stiff. The only thing that works is powering through the activity. Otherwise, she wins. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Glad your characters got your attention….Miranda is just that noise that keeps you running on, making you stronger, and until you’re the champion! Yea, you! (sleep now, Miranda, she’s got it)

    • She’s a nasty one. She has messed up many dancing moments for me with her critiques. But I know what giving in to her does. So I didn’t really have any option but to press onward–if I wanted to get the revision done and resubmitted. ๐Ÿ™‚ She doesn’t rest much. If she’s not on me about my writing, it’s something else. She’s quiet on the book front at least though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ha! I can totally picture you and Miranda battling it out. So glad to hear that you came out on top, and that she serves an important, if sometimes frustrating, purpose.

    Does she dress differently than you? Just curious! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Samir says:

    LOL I love that you’ve named our inner critic,
    I’m totally going to steal the idea… now only to find the right name for mine ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Good luck with the revision. I feel for you.

    • It all started back in 2003 when I couldn’t master some new bellydancing moves. My teacher asked what was wrong and I explained, I keep hearing this voice in my head saying I’m doing it wrong or I can’t do it. She insisted that I name her and confront her. ๐Ÿ™‚ It worked. Nebulous fear is really hard to tackle but a named and quantified fear is easier to work around. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 4amWriter says:

    Coax Miranda with a nice bottle of wine, then lure her into a trunk, lock it up tight, and you’re free to write sans harassment.

    At least, that is what I do to my inner critic, Maleficent.

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    You go, girl! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your Miranda, Carrie’s Mr. Nasty Pants, and all the rest of our inner critics serve their purpose. But they sometimes forget that purpose isn’t supposed to be crushing our desire to create. It’s to drive us to do the best we can in the endeavor.

    I haven’t named mine. That might give him/her too much power over me. And there’s already too much of that!

    I think I’ve said before that you’ve got a great attitude going with these revisions. And no matter what happens with this particular agent, you’re taking your novel to the next level. There’s a successful end to that kind of journey (and then beginning of the next one!).

    • Very true. I’ve always been my harshest critic. Miranda’s been around all my life. I just didn’t name her until 2003. But once I did. It became a little easier to deal with her. Like when you say your worst fear out loud. It looses some of its power over you. Or at least it did for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Aw thanks. It’s been a very emotional journey. But I am soooo grateful that the agent took the time to tell me what wasn’t working and allow me to resubmit. It’s a terrific opportunity. And no matter what the outcome, the book is way way way better for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      So not a moment wasted. No matter what comes next. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. K. Lyn Wurth says:

    Applause, applause, Kourtney. Opposing forces offer leverage and you can use Miranda’s strength to energize yourself. I see you’re doing it already. Thanks…great post.

    • Thanks Kelly. She’s a real handful. I do tend to react to anyone telling me I can’t by proving I can. So in some ways Miranda is good. Sometimes, it’s hard to fight her and the rest of the naysayers in my life simultaneously. But in the end, failure is made permanent if I stop trying. For now, it’s just temporary setbacks on my road to publication. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Elliot says:

    Thats a bit nasty. Did you read how long George R R Martin takes to write. He always starts the day revising, going over the work from the previous day, then starts writing new ones. He considers 5-6 pages a day, good days. And his novels are 900-1000 pages long! I guess his editing technique works for him though.

    • Every writer has to find their way I guess. I can’t revise that slowly though. I tend to do it more repetitiously. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Elliot says:

        I could not do it his way. It would take me forever to get anything finished.

        • It would frustrate me too much. Plus, I can’t fix everything in 6 pages in a day. I’m a muller. Sometimes, I can identify a problem, but the solution takes days or weeks to appear. I’d loose too much time waiting. But different strokes for different folks as they say. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Pete Denton says:

    Great idea. Naming your inner demon sounds like a winner. I’m glad you’re winning the battle and I’m sure Miranda will calm down when others read it and give you their opinion.

    I already feel like Multiple Personality Disorder is around the corner so I might skip naming my inner voice. Just in case ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • It helps me to face my fear and my uncertainty. LOL. She might calm down on that book but she’ll be loud and obnoxious as I revise the next book. Or draft a new book. She’s always there. But I think she also motivates me to do my best work. So I’m not sure I want her to go away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Running from Hell with El says:

    Yeah!!!! Wahoo Kourtney!!! I know Miranda very, very well and am also learning to usher my “inner-editor-hater” to the backdoor (clasping milk and cookies of course) when it is time to rewrite. And what I really loved reading was that you’re proud of the work you’ve done and gave it your best. After all, isn’t that what we would expect of our children or our closest friends? Good on you! And I’m looking forward to reading your MS!

    • Thanks El! You totally made me smile. So true. I lived up to my potential and that’s all I can really ask of myself or anyone else.;) You have the most profoundly honest and beautiful writing and I’m so glad I found your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. T.F.Walsh says:

    The inner critic always gets in my way too… love your approach though… might have to try it out:)

    • She’s tough to deal with. Especially when it’s a monumental task and I’m uncertain. LOL. I thank goodness for my belly dance teacher who instructed me to name the critic and then talk back to her. Helped me then, helped me now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. zelmare says:

    Wonderful Kourtney! SO fantastic that you can face your fears and do what you have to do. You have all the reason to be proud of yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Goodbye and good riddance to Miranda. I love the idea of naming that inner critic. For me, she tends to be a version of myself, which of course is extremely challenging to battle and banish! I am going to think about separating from her, naming her, and confronting her!

    • I don’t try to banish Miranda. I’m pretty sure that would have negative consequences. I might become a procrastinator. ;P She motivates me to be better and try harder. She just does it in a very painful and crippling way.

      I think she’s more like a frienemy. We have to co-exist but we are almost always rubbing each other the wrong way.

      Good luck dealing with your inner critic! And remember, she’s there for a reason, but a lot of times she oversteps the bounds. So push her back into her place.

  15. yay for Kourtney. well done. it’s the hardest thing to face that inner demon. every time you win, you’re stronger for the next fight.

  16. Emmie Mears says:

    Ack! *Shoves a pillow over Miranda’s face*

    I wish you all the best success with your polished draft — not gonna say luck, because when you put so much work into something, all you can hope for is that it does what you intended it to. HUGS!

    • LOL. Thanks. So true. One of the best lessons I learned is that what is in my head doesn’t always get onto that page. The agent really helped me with that. She’s really awesome and her assistant let me know I should hear back in 4-6 weeks. Now to keep busy and not think about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Hugs back!

  17. berry says:

    Who’s Miranda. Ur double? Prove her wrong.

  18. “I forgot to worry about failing. I forgot about finding the right way and let the story guide me. I fell in love with my novel all over again.
    And I promised my characters that I would write the absolute best book I could for them.”

    MARVELOUS.

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