WIP Joys

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Friends, I finish up running Passage of Promise, my novel through the critique group next week. The feedback I’ve gotten through my critique group has been incredibly invaluable. Then I’ll set it aside a week or two before doing a last read through and submitting it to my editor.

A week ago, I finished up all the new scenes in my novella, Mourning Dove. This, too, is ready to go through the critique queue, but it will have to wait for its turn.

As for my WIP, What She Didn’t Know? I LOVE the sisters (three main characters in the story). I love writing their POVs, their personalities. I really feel these characters are the strongest characters I’ve fleshed out as of yet. Here’s a very rough draft (not polished, obviously)…something I just wrote really quickly in order to put it through the critique queue in a couple of weeks, so you get the idea of what this story I’m working on is about:

Three sisters, Michaela, Glory, and Seraphima, grew up with an alcoholic, abusive father. Glory, who was most abused, runs away from home and isn’t seen by her mother or sisters for ten years. Their mother, Etta, wants her daughters, Michaela and Seraphima, to find Glory. Etta has a secret she’s kept from Glory and her sisters and feels it is time to tell Glory before something happens to her (Etta’s rather a hypochondriac). For each of the sisters, their childhood trauma/events affects how they are now living as adults. But when a terrible car crash happens and lives are hanging in the balance, will Glory ever learn the secret? Will she and her sisters ever heal from their estrangement and mistakes with those close to them? Only one can save them from themselves.

I’m guessing I’ve got about five to ten chapters to go to cross the finish line of a first draft. I’ve revised and edited the existing chapters at least three or four times now. The feedback I’ll get from my critique group will really help to improve and hone this awesome story. 🙂

 

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Revising Once, Revising Twice…Going, Going…Keep Going! It’s Worth it

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How many times have you revised your novel before you think it’s in pristine shape for the publishing process?  A dozen times?  Fifty times? A hundred times? There’s no end, right? It feels that way often.

Author, Roald Dahl, says of this subject, “By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”

So, how many times have I revised my stories?  I’m not really sure.  Perhaps a dozen times total? Teetering on the barely-broken-in writing scale. But it’s all good.  Some writers may not need to revise their work dozens or hundreds of times.

With that said, I’m back to revising my novel, Passage of Promise.  Yes, my first novel I wrote back in 2015.  I’m back at it after the last editing, proofing, and editorial suggestions from my editor (second round?).

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Since reading through half of the Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It) book so far…and I will finish it soon…I truly do understand it for the most part and can see the difference in my sentences and wording through my latest revisions.  I’m strengthening my scenes, character traits, and dialogue.

But I must admit.  A part of me has this urge to turn the story on its head, change it up drastically. Yet, another part of me says don’t jump in the deep, murky water.  You’ll get pulled into the endless, bottomless sea.

I’ve got to resist the waves of temptation and focus on making the story sharper, deeper, and stronger with the plot, characters, and scenes posing in proud, unique form on the stage of my make-believe world.

I may have to run it through the critiquing group again, which means my thirty-nine chapters will travel through the queue for the next few months, but it’s worth it.

My editor said it wouldn’t hurt. People’s feedback may give me a different direction or new ideas, and of course, in the critique realm, I take some of the suggestions that work and discard others that don’t.

I heard some authors have spent five to ten years on one book.  That’s a huge chunk of time, but when you want your work to be its best, three, five, or even ten years may be in order.  J.R.R. Tolkien labored twelve years on his book, Lord of the Rings, before it was published.

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I don’t think it’ll take ten or twelve years to finish my novel, especially since my novel has considerably less words than Tolkien’s sequel to The Hobbit. Also, in my case, a stressful deadline doesn’t exist, whereas it does for some others.

This fresh return to my novel fell on the heels of my novella’s (Mourning Dove) feedback journey through my critique group the past several weeks, counting this one and next week.  I’ll then collect all the comments, remarks, suggestions and work on revising it.

What made me delve back into the revision process of my stories? I am presently reading a book by my muse, Jodi Picoult. THANK YOU, JODI!  Keep writing! 🙂

What are you working on, how long have you been working on it, and what’s your average number of revisions?

 

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Bogged Down in the Mechanics and Rules of Writing?

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Do you feel like all the writing rules are killing your creativity and ability to write?  If so, this blog post by Lauren Sapala is a must read:

 

STUCK WITH YOUR STORY? WHY YOU KEEP HITTING WALLS AND DEAD ENDS IN YOUR WRITING

For the longest time I had major problems doing revisions on my writing. It seemed so easy for everyone else. Why was it so hard for me? Of course, I also had trouble writing. I hardly ever experienced that state of “effortless flow” everyone talked about, in which the words just magically spewed out of me down onto the page. For years—a lot  of years—I felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like I was a failure as a writer.

Then, I discovered something.

It wasn’t that there was something wrong with me, it was that the way I approached my writing was all wrong. Traditional writing wisdom set out a bunch of rules that didn’t help me, that I knew. But what I didn’t realize was that traditional writing wisdom had also implanted a mindset within me that was completely distorted, a skewed perspective that didn’t fit at all into my personal growth as an artist.

For the rest, go here.

 

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