Tag Archives: writing tips

Revision Massacre

My helpless novel is currently sprawled around me in tiny, bloody pieces.  It’s been hacked, chopped and ripped to shreds.  The remnants are scattered about in no logical sequence, leaving me staring at the mess with bloody hands.  

I’ve accepted the fact that it was bound to happen some time.  It was basically dead to begin with.  Luckily, even as my inner critic tells me it’s not worth saving, I still feel a slight heart beat.  Like a surgeon carefully and methodically saving a life,  I’m determined to piece it back together, stronger than it was before.  

There is one slight problem.  This surgeon never went to medical school.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to mash the mess together with out the proper tools and hope it miraculously comes back to life.  The harder I tried, the worse it got leaving me overwhelmed and my beloved characters begging me to save them.  

I knew I had to change my plan or risk destroying it even further.  

First, I had to take a step back and regain my focus.  Because I wrote the first draft so quickly, it’s filled with inconsistencies and serious structural problems.  

Next came the tedious task of reading it from beginning to end (no matter how painful), figuring out the problems, and plotting out a new, detailed outline.  I had to remind myself to trust my instincts and not be afraid of making big changes, which I did.  I added characters, removed characters, and changed a major part of the plot.  What I was left with, was an organized system for putting the pieces together.   

My manuscript still remains in critical condition, but I can finally look at it with out a sense of dread.  

How do you approach the revision process?  Do you find it daunting or exciting?

 

 

 

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Deadline…PAST DUE!

After a brief lack of motivation at the beginning of January, and taking care of a sick baby for the last week and a half, I am so far behind on my novel.

In most areas of my life, I have to set deadlines or else nothing would get done.  Seriously.  My mind is usually buzzing a million miles a minute so it helps me prioritize and actually cross items of off my ever-growing to-do list.

I knew I would either have to stick a deadline on my writing or watch it end up in a pile with the rest of my half-assed, unfinished project.  After sadly realizing how much work I still need to do to turn a messy rough draft into an even coherent story had me bowing my head in shame and questioning my approach.  Luckily, I didn’t let it get me down for too long.  I am so determined to turn this dream into a reality, that I had to come up with a better game plan.

I originally dove into this novel head first and naively believed that my passion for writing would carry me through.  Right now you are probably laughing at my stupidity or giving an acknowledging nod, because you too thought it would be a piece of cake.

“Sure, I can get the revisions done in a month and off for reviews and onto an agent right after that!  I wrote it in a month, why not right?”  I can’t believe I ever thought that was a “realistic deadline!”  It was insane.

I instantly whipped out my trusty planner, favorite pen and started jotting down an ACTUAL plan that won’t leave me feeling like a failure, totally overwhelmed, or submitting a horrible novel just because I want to meet a “deadline.”  … hopefully 😉

I thought I would share a couple of key points I came up with in case anyone else was in the same sinking boat:

  1. Set realistic, SMALLER goals that are attainable. –  After admitting to myself that writing isn’t always fun and it certainly isn’t always easy, I have a better idea what kind of time I need to create something that I’m proud of.  It’s important to know your own personal limits to avoid getting burned out and discouraged.  
  2. Schedule, schedule, schedule –  Plopping down at my computer or notes when ever I felt like it, clearly wasn’t getting me very far.  After work, taking care of a very energetic baby boy, cleaning the house (this is where my husband would laugh), and what ever shenanigans is going on at the moment, the only thing I want to do at the end of the day is relax… Solution?  Write in the morning when I have energy and focus.  I also have to write every day or I fall into the habit of saying, “Oh, I’ll write tomorrow…”  Try to find time that fits naturally into your schedule, whether that means writing daily or every Tuesday at 3:00 am.
  3. Measurable accountability – People always say if you want to accomplish a goal, tell others about it.  I am new to the writing and blogging world, so I don’t have many write buddies (yet!) so for now, I have given my husband a general idea of my goals so he can help motivate me to keep going.  We usually sit down every Sunday and talk about what we have coming up in the week, so I decided to add a “novel update” to review my progress.  He’s not a writer, so I expect some interesting conversations.  The more people you have in your cheering section, the better so reach out to people you know will help you to keep reaching for the finish line.
  4. Remember why you write –  There have been so many occasions when I have stared at the computer screen  and wondered what the hell made me think I could write a book!  With out fail, as soon as I pick up a brilliant novel, I’m reminded how much I love writing.  It sounds cheesy, but isn’t reading a really great book the best magic trick around?  I love being about to care so deeply for a character or story that I’m instantly lost in another world.  That is what brings me back with renewed faith in myself.  I want to spread a little of that magic!

If you have any other tips that keep you self motivated  or if you could use some writerly support- I would love to hear!

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Writing resolutions

I stumbled across an article written by Kimberly Turner on LitReactor suggesting 13 resolutions to make you a more productive writer in 2013.  She suggests tackling your resolutions one month at a time instead of trying to do a massive overhaul all at once.  I chose a couple of her suggestions to focus on in January.

  • I will finish a chapter in my novel.

I’m basically starting my novel from scratch, using my very rough draft as more of an outline.  With some extra motivation and creative time management, my goal is to complete one chapter a week. 

  • I will improve my writing space.

I get distracted easily.  My couch or bed tends to be my usual writing space, which is fine every once in a while.  I know I’d get much more down if I took a more professional approach.  It’s too easy to flip on the TV and lose my train of thought.  Everything needs a home, my creativity included!

Have you thought of any writing resolutions for 2013?  Don’t be shy.  I’d love to hear your goals for the new year!

(You can read the full article at www.litreactor. com!)

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