A Tale of Revision

Greetings, pals!

When I wrote “The End” a few weeks back, I felt so absolutely motivated and was sure that I would have a completely revised manuscript to share SOON. I love the revision process. I love the giant stack of printer paper sitting on my desk. I love using my pink pen to cross out scenes and add dialogue and detail. I love translating my revisions from paper to my Word doc. It’s all so fun and productive. Some days I loved it more than drafting. Most days I loved it more than drafting, actually. (Turns out, drafting is hard as hell.)

I thought for sure I’d had multiple drafts in no time. At the speed I was revising, how could I not? Once I got all of my revisions into my document and wrote a few missing scenes, I was a little exhausted. And bored. And disheartened. This chapter sucks, doesn’t it? This character is boring, right? This plot line is dead, huh? This is awful. What am I doing? What a waste of time. Forget it. No point.

I needed a break. Badly. And I needed a few different people to suggest it before I decided to distance myself. But my first draft binder is sitting next to my bed and my Word doc is chilling on my desktop, both unopened. I took a break. I watched TV. I read. I visited friends and family. I drank good beer. I slept. It was nice.

I guess I’m writing this blog post because I’m trying to decided if I’m ready to start again. Does it feel right? Are the words coming easily? Am I too judgmental, too critical still? I don’t think so. This feels natural, feels soothing. I’m ready.

The next steps? I’m not entirely sure. Making physical edits and then transcribing them to the screen really worked for me the first time around, so I’m going to stick with that for now. I’m going to start working on more sentence-level edits. I didn’t really edit as I wrote the first draft, so there are some (many) improvements to be made. And I need to work on tense. And a million other things. But I’ll get there.

A close friend of mine just finished her final draft and is working on her submission materials. It’s hard to see myself ever getting to that point. It felt so close a month ago, but now it couldn’t be further away. It’s intimidating, but exciting. So so exciting.

 

Sun in February: Plotter vs Pantser

Guys. The sun is out and it’s 65 degrees and I’m lounging with the deck door open and drinking iced tea and working on my novel. And it’s February 28th. What the what?!

I don’t know if it’s the weather, but the words are straight up FLOWING today! How awesome is that? It’s way awesome, but also terrifying. Because today marks the day I’ve written past my outline. In October when this whole ordeal started, I drafted up a really rough outline. There wasn’t much to it, just basic plot points that I jotted down in less than fifteen minutes in the middle of the night. But that outline has really helped me along the way. It’s given me some structure. And it didn’t have an ending. Because I assumed I would have figured it out by the time I got there. Lol. Nope.

There’s an age-old question that every writer must ask themselves at one point or another: am I a plotter or a pantser? A plotter is a planner, an outliner. A panster writes by the seat of their pants. (This is an actual thing. Google it if you don’t believe me.) I think I’m a bit of both. I’m not sure if I would have written so much so quickly if it wasn’t for my outline. However, there were things that I definitely wouldn’t have written if I had strictly stuck to my outline.

But here I am now, no outline left, and lots of choices to make. I’m at the Almost End. Crazy, yeah? It’s crazy. I need to make major choices that will affect every single one of my characters. And I have nothing lined up. Today I sat down at my computer and just hoped the words would come and the choices would be made for me. That didn’t happen. Instead, I wrote around the problem. I wrote a lot of words, but I didn’t really get anywhere.

So now I have to ask myself this: do I keep trying to write like a pantser, or do I buckle down and make an outline?

IT’S A TOUGH CHOICE, OKAY?! Which is why I’m writing this blog post. I’m procrastinating. Obviously.

Just for fun…

Plotters: J.K. Rowling, John Grisham

Pantsers: Margaret Atwood, Stephen King

So really, whichever path I choose, I am among good company. I think I’m going to go make an outline now. Or maybe three. I’M NERVOUS.

Okay. Bye.

 

The Thing About Birthdays

I turn 24 on Friday. TWENTY. FOUR. The oldest I’ve ever been, clearly. But this is the first birthday where I’ve actually felt older. This is mid-twenties, people!

Every year around my birthday, I evaluate everything I’ve done and everything I want to do and make myself feel bad about stuff. I should have traveled more by now! I should have saved more money by now! I should own a car by now! I should have finished my manuscript and have an agent by now! I mean, I’ve been out of college for two years. I should have something to show for it by now!

Lots of should-haves. It’s so easy to forget the things that I’ve already accomplished, though. Because to be honest, I’M MAKING IT! I am living on my own in a new city with an awesome job paying my bills on time trying new things writing a novel doing what I want when I want and all with a loving family and an amazing dude to boot. Things are really, really good. And I have a lot to look forward to. I really feel like if I stay on this track and take risks when I can, things will work out the way I want. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

I’m not sure if the image below is entirely true, but it offers me a lot of perspective (and relief!) when I’m feeling behind. There’s a lot of life to live, and a lot of shit to create. I’m up to my eyeballs in ideas and words and thoughts and dreams and I feel so lucky that I can embrace them and share them and make them a reality.

At 23, JK Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the Y.M.C.A. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. - Google Search:

I have a lot of cool things cooking, and I am so excited. For everything! 24 is going to be a good year.

The Dawn of a New(ish) Blog & The Perils of Starting Over

As all of my loyal readers (my Mom) know, I really like to start things over. I would much rather trash it all and start fresh. That goes for anything! Botched recipes, half-finished books, boring wardrobes, and especially blogs. It’s a bad habit that I have never been able to kick.

HOWEVER I am now in a situation where I cannot UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES start over. I am more than halfway finished with my manuscript, with tens of thousands of words under my belt. It’s an amazing feeling! It’s also slightly terrifying. I’ll run into a plot hole, an undeveloped character, or even briefly fantasize about changing the direction of the story, and I panic. I look at the stack of pages on my kitchen table and want to throw them all away. What is wrong with me?!

But I am committed to this WIP (work in progress from here on out) and I will not give up on it. Sure, I’ll revise, edit, and rewrite my heart out. But I will not start over.

I re-started this blog as a companion to my WIP. I’m already pretty deep, but I thought it would be fun to post about my process and progress. Like a writing diary! Except less gushing about cute boys and more discussion on grammar. Haha, yeah right. Liam Hemsworth posted a selfie on Instagram last Friday that I’m still not quite over. And I sent an email with the incorrect use of “their” today.

I have no idea how this blog is going to go. I’m not sure how often I’ll write or how long the posts will be or what I’ll really talk about. If you have suggestions, please tell me because I am floundering here and wondering if this post is too long or if I should go into detail about this mole I have on my back or whatever.