Now, it’s a challenge to me. To make my writing better. To find the awkward wordings and sentences. To tighten up my story. To eliminate repetition. To make my story the best it can possibly be in hopes of landing an agent and getting published.
I’ve set an unofficial deadline for myself of June 1st to finish this novel and begin querying. It’s finished. But I’m not sure if I’ll be done editing it by then.
I’ve spent the last few days concentrating on editing my novel. Today was especially good because I finished reviewing the whole text again for the sixth or seventh time.
But, now I’m finding my excitement waning as I know the hard part is still ahead.
I got a critique back on my previous novel, basically ripping me for numerous things including character characterization contradictions, passive tense, telling not showing, and much more.
So, now I have to review my novel with these things in mind, looking for each specific problem–one at a time. Which is fine but I’d rather be writing instead of editing. This is where the real tediousness begins…
But I’m determined not to rush this one and make it as good as I can.
So, I’m going to have to take my list of edits from the top and work my way down (cringing the whole way). But until I am Stephenie Meyers and can pay someone to do this for me this is what will get me an agent and a publishing deal.
So as much as I hate it, I’m gonna suck it up and get to work. What are my other options? This is my passion, my purpose. No one said it would be easy.
I’m feeling immensely unsatisfied right now; down on everything–BSF, my family, my Bunko group, unanswered questions and uncertainties in terms of moving, my husband’s job, and schooling.
So, I started writing again.
I began re-reading for the umpteenth time the draft of my latest YA novel and am working on that. I think it’s my best work yet but I always think that. I’m sure others will think it utter crap.
Bored at editing (many of you know I HATE editing), I began to surf the internet. Curious as to what genre my novel falls into, I began researching science fiction, fantasy, and the like. I decided to see what Twilight is classified as since it’s just about everything and has a lot of my same elements. It’s considered all over the board: YA, romance, fantasy, etc.
Then I visited Stephenie Meyer’s website and found this nugget: “With writing, the way you feel changes everything.”
She is speaking in regards to Midnight Sun being leaked on the internet.
But I couldn’t agree more. I write when I feel like it. I don’t write when I don’t feel like it. It definitely takes a certain mindset you have to be in. It’s not like a job with your hands or repetitive. It involves emotion–and for me, a lot of it since I throw myself into it tooth and nail. When I’m down, my characters are down. When I’m up, so are they.
I’m resolved to get this project wrapped up in the next couple of weeks. I’m dying to begin the query process and see if this thing is any good or not or if it will be relegated to just another file on my computer as I move on to my next project. But, I’m taking my time this time, making this as good as I can and then see where it takes me. I’m itching to get started on my next project but I know this one is not finished. I don’t like to multi-task; I have to bring my characters to fruition and then move on to something else.
I spent a lot of yesterday editing my book and am quite enjoying it for once. I am finding my mistakes are a lot more prevalent to my eye and I feel with each stroke of my keyboard it is only getting better.
This is what gives me hope. I believe my destiny does have more for me in this world and this is the means God has given me to achieve it. Admittedly, I feel happier–better–when my writing is progressing. Otherwise, life quickly drags me under with the monotony of kid-life: breakfast, school, errands, bills, diapers, doctor appointments, permission slips, parent/teacher conferences, homework, shuttle to soccer practices, dinner, bed time, and on and on and on…
So, here I am, typing again, molding my work before my eye, wondering all the while if this will be it, if the fourth time is the charm (this is my fourth book), if I am finally speaking what the world needs to hear.
I’ve been editing my YA novel, based on a few agents’ suggestions. I have incorporated some of their suggestions but I have constantly been asking myself, “How true do I stay to my own unique writing style? How much do I alter?”
Sure, I want to get published so some will say, “Do whatever you have to do in order to please people.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to please. Yet, I don’t want to gut my novel so much that readers miss the subtleties in the characters. I still want it to be my work.
There’s a limit to how much I’ll do. Now, once I get signed and a professional editor reviews my work, they can change whatever they want to (grammatically speaking). But, for me, it pains me when I make a change I don’t believe is pertinent to the story so I avoid those at all costs. I’m just too close to my work.
So, I’ll do what I can and then be satisfied, hoping a professional can add the sizzle after wards.
Nothing in my life has come easy. I only earned straight A’s in high school because I studied hard every day. I only survived college projects because I worked hard.
So why I thought writing would be ANY different is beyond me. For whatever reason, I thought it would be easy–you sit down, write a book, find an agent, and wha-lah, published author. But, I was wrong, very wrong.
Writing the book is not easy. The first draft is easy. It’s the twentieth draft and beyond that is not.
So, as I start my umpteenth ‘final’ revision, I have realized this is how it’s supposed to be: hard. So, I’m gonna suck it up and get to work!
I am still resisting with every ounce of my being my re-write of my YA novel. Yet, I’m pushing through it. I fixed the first chapter (the major issues I found) and have yet to re-read the entire thing and fix the little things. This is the part I am not looking forward to. It’s the getting pulled back into my story when I had already put the characters to bed for the night that is the hard part.
I had intended to do that this morning but my son is awake and sitting on my lap and I really have to desire to cry over my story with him here. Plus, I have to plan homeschool for next week, clean my house, and we have early soccer games so I will postpone this until early tomorrow morning. I like to work early in the mornings when all is quiet and (supposedly) all is sleeping. It’s easier for me to work in big chunks of time than lots of tiny ones.
I hope to finish this up soon because it is weighing me down.
Writing is a lonely craft and I’d agree with that. I’ve been advised to join a writing group and have my work critiqued, which I know is the smart thing to do. Yet, with all my other responsibilities, I just don’t have the time. Trust-worthy baby sitters are hard to come by and those are usually reserved for doctors appointments and such. Plus, I’m HORRIBLE with criticism. I’d rather stab myself than hear my work critiqued. I know it’s necessary but when your characters are such a part of yourself, it’s like someone is stabbing me anyways.
Yet part of this is about me. It’s about seeing how perfect I can create something and then having an editor pare it down. If I had the spare cash, I’d hire someone to edit it for me. So, for right now, I’m going solo and trusting in God to guide my hands and write what He believes is important.
I was discussing my novel last night with my husband who tried to convince me that people don’t want to read about dark topics like my YA novel. I threw out counter-examples like “The Road” in my defense.
So, I went to sleep last night debating whether or not I should completely scrap my entire novel and just start over. But God will just not let me let this one go.
So, I awoke with many numerous ideas flitting through my mind and I’m willing to give it one more good edit before it’s laid to rest like the rest of my works, destined to be just a word file on my computer I suppose.
What has happened is that I’ve cut out all the beginning/introduction in order to make the new beginning pop. Well, now I realize I may have cut TOO much and need to re-work it. My task has become: make the first five pages sizzle so I can get someone to actually read my novel completely because I know the rest is good: the plot twists, the ending, the ups and downs of the characters, the arc, etc.
Now I need to add some stuff back in but yet in an interesting way, not necessarily chronological. I may have to increase a character’s flaws (which is numerous as it stands but not prevalent in the beginning) and edit my superfluous writing style once again.
I wish I could say I’m looking forward to this–but I’m not. It’s another necessary evil on the road to publication. I am praying fervently for God’s guidance in this one. I will need it once more.
I so think my story is done (my YA novel that is). I don’t want to go back to it. Yet, I just got more suggestions from an agent who said I was 90% there and said it was too “heavy-handed” with the characters and I needed to eliminate some things.
To be perfectly honest, I really don’t want to. I have re-written this story so much by now that it’s amazingly pathetic.
My only consideration is, “Is this the story God wants me to do?” If so, then I need to obviously take her advice and work on it…again. But, part of me is ready to move on to my next story. Part of me feels this is just such a waste of my time when there are so many other things I could be doing. How long does one follow a pipe dream? How badly do I want to be published? How badly do I want this?
Yet, if I didn’t feel this story wasn’t worth telling, I’d have moved on long ago. Yet something about this one–the potential power it holds–keeps me working on it. At what point do I say, “Enough already?” I am so torn up over this project that I’m having trouble describing how I feel right now. I’m very sad and beaten down by it all–the process, the story, the memories, and the hope (fruitless?).
I know there is something here, but do I have the fortitude to keep digging until it is crystal clear to readers? Part of me wishes someone would just tell me my writing sucks and stop dangling out hope that maybe one day I’ll get it right. It is so much easier to just give up rather than fight through the pain I feel every time I work on the novel one more time.
All I know is it’s time to pray…some more. I don’t have the answers. My characters can’t tell me what to do. It’s all in my mind and I have to determine how best to reconcile it all.
What do I truly want with this story? Is it finished? Is there something more…something missing?
I don’t know anymore–what I want or how badly. I really don’t know anything right now. I’m so emotionally drained from this whole process and adverse to re-visiting the world I created that I’m unsure if I can make it any better or if I can emerge from it all. I don’t know where my heart lies or anything…