In Writing, When Do You Get to that “It’s Ready!” Pinnacle Point?

Gift wrapped book

With so many revisions to my novel over the past three years, I began to wonder when I’ll know when my story will be at that perfect point to call it completely finished. When will it be in the best polished condition to send to my editor and then work on publishing it?

Because I don’t know about you, but at times, I’ve felt just like this frantic writer in this cartoon.

COD editing support group for blog post

The comfort in this cartoon is knowing some writers suffer the endless revising of their novels that I fear my continuous revising may be headed for.

Therefore, I googled this question, and many links popped up. I read through at least four of them, from top ten ways to go about getting your book in the best shape to submit it to publishers to what entails revising your novel.

“Half my life is an act of revision.”  John Irving

So, after picking through these websites, I discovered the basic answer. Unfortunately, it’s not a silver bullet, a “Eureka! I’m done!” kind of answer.

But if you trust in your own discernment and ability of when the pinnacle point that renders a polished product is, you’ll be on the right path.

“I have rewritten–often several times–every word I have ever written.        My pencils outlast their erasers.” Vladimir Nabokov  

So, it looks like while you’re going through your many revisions (I’ve lost count), you’ll be refining the wording, sculpting the scenes, sharpening the dialogue to reach that apex.

Your story will eventually culminate into a satisfying whole piece in which you will know in your heart this is the moment to tie it up with a pretty bow and send it out to the editing and publishing world.

In conclusion, trust in your own ability to discern when your story is at its best, most  whole. 

How has your revising process been going? How did you feel when you reached the polished stage of your writing endeavor?

 

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Say It Loudly and Proudly…You ARE a Writer

fountain pen on white paper

I read a couple of blog posts from fellow writers this past week talking about their hesitancies in calling themselves writers or authors, even though both of them have had works published.

The main thoughts that ran through my head were, “Well, of course, you’re a writer. You’ve written books, published them, and continue to write. Why wouldn’t you call yourself a writer?”

As I understood their explanations, when they were asked what they do, they weren’t confident enough in themselves due to the social stigma of saying “I’m a writer.”

If they were to say they were writers, they’d often get questions like, “Have you been published?” or worse, “Yes, but what’s your real job.”  So some fellow authors would respond with falling back on their other day job, such as working in an office or a stay-at-home mom.

But they came to the realization that they ARE worthy of the title of writer. They ARE WRITERS/AUTHORS. It’s part of who they are. It’s a part of who all of us writers are.

It’s an extension of ourselves. Our hearts, souls, experiences, and unique social and cultural backgrounds. We share this indirectly and sometimes directly in our writings, and it’s a good thing.

writing on the grass

I have to tell you, saying I am a writer has been easy. It is one area in my life where I have complete confidence.

I knew I could write in my teens and early twenties, even though I lacked a lot of  knowledge on how to write in-depth characters, totally believable plots, and point of view (POV).

Even after I quit writing from around 1997 to 2014, I never thought I couldn’t write. I’d just put it on the back burner due to putting business college, a job, my marriage, and then my children along with my husband as my top priority (as I felt I should be).

I didn’t really think too much about picking up a pen and scrawling across a blank sheet of paper then because few ideas sprung up.

Life works that way, I think. Things happen when they’re supposed to.

sunset orange

Ideas began to sprout in the summer and early fall of 2014 before I registered for online college to get a degree in Creative Writing and English.

The ideas did start popping up when I knew I could make my schooling experience all about writing stories, all about a future in what has always been in me since I was a child.

That flame has never been totally doused.

Playing certain sports and writing stories were the only two things I had total confidence in myself throughout my childhood, adulthood, up to the present day.

My confidence grew through four years in college. All the negative thoughts I had of myself that I’d heard from people throughout my life lessened, became small, insignificant. I began to see myself much more positively.

proud woman

Yes, I am smart. Yes, I can write very well. Yes, I am a writer. It’s part of who I am. I’m thankful I’ve not felt insecure, scared, or apprehensive in telling people who ask me what I do.

Even if I’d never had anything published, I’m still an author. It’s my job. It’s my main focus every day in the midst of my family and life of faith.

Have you had the confidence to tell others you are a writer? If you’re writing on a regular basis. If it’s your passion. If it’s part of who you are, YOU ARE A WRITER. Wear that badge with honor and pride.

 

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I Spy The “No-No” Words in Fiction Books, and They’re Fine!

steaming mug and book

Lately, I’ve not had much to blog about. That is, until this post. Something popped into my brain, and I started writing, and, violà.

Actually, I’ve been busy reading fiction and writing fiction.

I’m still revising my novel, Passage of Promise. I just finished going through the whole story, adding scenes and revising and editing others. And it’s been great. Every time I do, my story strengthens and my main character ARC is more coherent.

Last week, I finished one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s called The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I’ve read another book of hers called The Nightingale, but The Great Alone is superior to The Nightingale, in my opinion. The characters were chiseled out with such superb precision, and the plot was excellent. The evoking of emotions was fantastic, so much so, I cried in four different sections of the story. I was so moved by what was going on with the characters! Bravo, Kristin Hannah!

If you haven’t read The Great Alone, GET IT AND READ IT!!

Here’s the synopsis via Amazon:

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

Now, to discuss the subject matter mentioned in the title of this blog post.

As you know from my previous blog posts where I discussed reading a book on showing instead of telling, I shared some examples of what words to avoid and how to use certain words. Well, let me tell you. How many of us writers have been told don’t use the words “began,” “started,” “because,” “realized,” “wondered,” “knew,” and the like because they aren’t really active verbs.

Guess what?

I’ve read two different novels in the past few weeks, and both of them contained a few of these words. Did it ruin the flow of the sentences, the storyline, the action of the scenes? Nope. There’s a point when those words can be gingerly sprinkled throughout the many pages of novels, and it won’t drag down or mar the stories.

This is what happened for me.

I mean, I couldn’t help but notice all those taboo words and acknowledged where excellent descriptions and images were written. I think we writers tend to do that. But when you can get past that and be drawn in, or in my case, literally sucked into the lives of the characters in Hannah’s, The Great Alone, the few mentions of those less active words read just fine, fit in just fine because the rest of the words surrounding them make up for it.

Therefore, what I’ve learned is we don’t have to be totally anal about show, don’t tell, or banning these simple words from our sentences. In reality, it’s natural to have a conservative smattering of these words in our works. There, now. We can draw in a nice, cleansing breath and exhale with relief.

My novel, Passage of Promise, goes back through my critiquing group in a couple of weeks into the new year, and we’ll see how it goes from there. My next step is to re-read over my whole story and see if there are any parts that aren’t relevant or interesting enough to the storyline…read the flow and see if it all fits together the way it should. Upwards and onwards!

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