Day 8 of Editing // Stages of Writing & Revising Part 1

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Yesterday I finished reading the printed out copy of my manuscript and marking it up. Today starts the process of inputting those changes.

The reason I printed my MS out was so that I could look at it through a different medium, so that I could have a way to look at it with fresh eyes. Does this mean I caught all of my mistakes? Absolutely not. The words read familiar in my brain, so I was able to speed-read through most of it. Self-editing is, by no means, necessary or the best way to edit a manuscript.

I plan to do at least two rounds of self-edits before I search for Critique Partners. I guess I could have foregone the entire self-edits, but there were still too much inconsistencies from my 2nd draft rewrite that I needed to address. And to be quite honest, the thought of having others read it and tear it apart at the seams still makes me anxious and a bit sick to my stomach. I want to give my best before I bring others in to make it better.

“Make it better.” That’s what I will have to remind myself when I receive feedback from CPs.

Thus far, my writing/revising process has gone like this:

Stage One: THE OUTLINE. My novel began when I took an Introduction to Novel Writing course towards my English major electives. I was forced to write a bullet point with major plot points for the first time. After that came the outline. From that outline came the first ten pages. That was when my story began.

When I finally decided to get serious about my writing, I took that outline and wrote a more in-depth one. From there, my story became very, very real to me. I wrote as many outlines as needed to in order to get started.

Stage Two: THE FIRST DRAFT. I bumbled and fumbled and tripped and fell. I reached around blindly and wrote like a madman for a good month. 105k words. My hands suffered for it, but I finished and I fretted and I worried. Why?

Because my writing was atrocious and I felt as if I’d lost my voice. My style. My mojo. I all but fizzled out. And then I learned that I wasn’t the only one. That first drafts are meant to be terrible. They’re meant to be you telling the story to you. There’s going to be so many holes that you won’t be able to plug them all on rainy days. And it’s those rainy days when the flood comes in that you’ll really doubt yourself.

Just keep swimming.

Stage Three: THE SECOND DRAFT/REWRITE. This is where things can be different for everyone. I decided to approach the second draft by rewriting my ENTIRE manuscript. I thought it was going to be an easy way of editing. Boy was I wrong.

I ended up changing not just a few chapters, but the entire half of my story. At this point, I felt like I was writing a new one. And that’s where the rewriting blurs. It took me nearly three months to finish stage three because I had to figure my story out all over again. Plus the pain in my hands and overall lack of motivation. And it sucked at first. It really, really did.

But I took the plunge. I had to push aside my suffering of changing entire chapters and parts. I had to start from near-scratch. I even had to make a new outline towards the end — and you know what? I didn’t even use most of it. But it helped. It helped when I got stuck, because it enabled me to brainstorm new ideas. New approaches. A different ending.

Stage Four: SELF-EDITS. And this is where I am currently at. I decided to print out all 414 pages of my manuscript because I thought it would be easier to edit that way. There’s something nice about being able to scratch up paper (and taking a break from staring at the computer screen). There’s something even nicer about holding a hard copy of your story.

I finished marking up those pages yesterday, and I know there’s still so much that I’ve missed. But today I will start inputting those changes. I’m not sure how long this will take. I’m hoping to get it all done within the week, and then do a second round of self-edits. And perhaps a third.

What I’ve learned is that self-editing is all about hopes. It’s hoping I won’t have to make too many edits, knowing I will need to make a lot of edits. Hoping I can make it as good as can get it to be before I find Critique Partners. It’s hoping I’ll be more brave at that point, have a tougher shell, won’t want to pull my hair out over every piece of feedback. It’s hoping my CPs will love my story as much as I do.

I’ll share the next stages as I get to them. Right now I’m bright-eyed and optimistic about the editing process, but we’ll see how long this lasts ;).

 

 

Day 2 of Editing

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There is nothing quite like holding a physical copy of your Manuscript, even a double-spaced, 400+ paged one that you’re marking up for edits (please ignore my horrid handwriting).

This is the farthest I’ve ever come with an original story and I couldn’t be happier.

What exactly does this mean for me? Why, quite a lot. You see, 90% of characters in this story were created nearly a decade and a half ago. They started in the library of my elementary school, long since closed down. They started in my best friend’s bed room, during the summer months we had off from school.

Ayona, the world in which my WIP takes place, started during those days. At the time, all we had was a city ruled by a royal family. It’s since expanded from there, and has only expanded further.

This world. These characters. They’ve been with me throughout the years and not once have I stopped thinking of them. They’ve grown with me. Learned with me. They started off as pre-teens much like my best friend and I were. But they aged as we aged.

I lost count of how many times I tried starting an actual novel-length story for them, and failing every time.

This time is different because I finished not just the first draft, but the second draft rewrite as well. This time is different because I’m onto the editing process. This time is different because I told myself it will be different.

This time is different because I met a lot of supportive and encouraging writerly friends who are on the same epic journey to finish a novel as I am.

Thank you all and happy writing.

(This is only my 2nd day of editing. We’ll see how long this optimism lasts, haha.)

The Relief of Poetry

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Writing poetry is relief.

It offers a way to break away from long sentences. To condense my thoughts and imagination. Despite its constricting stanzas, they’re really not so caging as they appear.

Writing poetry allows me to escape the millions of ideas floating around in my head. It allows me reprieve from outlining, from thinking of the next scene and a scene several chapters ahead. It allows me to just write.

Writing poetry allows me to experiment. One of my greatest inspirations has always been E.E. Cummings. It’s not relevant in my latest poetry, but he was there during my high school days, long before I ventured into my first Modern Romance English class in college.

Naysayers will tell you: don’t try to write like E.E. Cummings or anyone just as famous. Because you’ll come off as copying. 

We’re all copying in the end, aren’t we? Even as novelists. As artists. We started creating because we fell in love with another creation. Their inspiration will touch our work whether we mean to or not.

So emulate the greats. Don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s the beautiful, wonderful thing about writing stories and poetry. There’s always room to do more.

I will end this with two things: My latest poem, A Recipe for Heartache, in which I was inspired while cooking. And my favorite poem from E.E. Cummings.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
e.e. cummings

Tuesday Tales Update

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, I set a goal to share stories I’ve read on my Tuesday blog posts. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to keep up with that. Yet.

I originally wanted to do this every other Tuesday, but for now it will be one Tuesday per month until I can settle into a schedule that works for me. I started a new job last Monday. If anyone else has ever had to jump around from job to job– then you probably know how exhausting that can be. The most tiring part is learning a new job, and integrating into a customer service/social role after a year of being out of work.

Work. That dreaded W-word. The word that sucks out the will to create art. The will to string words together into beautiful prose (or poetry!). The will to make magic from letters or colors.

For now, this is just a part time job. I make time in the morning to get some writing done for my WIP, but that’s about it. The evenings are for making dinner and spending quality time with my husband.

My goal to maintain this blog, balance it with writing and life still stands. I’ll take one day at a time until I have a solid schedule going each day.

How do you manage life and writing? Whether it’s working part-time or full-time, how do you manage your blog and your work-in-progress (if that is what you’re doing)? I’d love to know!

Happy writing, all!

What I Like to Write

January Blogging Challenge: Day 31

I like to write a lot of things, I say as I think about exactly what it is I like to write.

In the end, it’s not really a lot.

I like romance. Fantasy. Mostly romance — from poetry to multi-chaptered stories. Romance is usually a prevalent theme throughout. Action and adventure gets mixed in as well.

My latest WIP doesn’t have romance in it. But it hints at future romance. Pretty heavily, I think. At least for my MC, Rune. He doesn’t have his memories so there’s a lot about himself he doesn’t know — love life including.

What I love about romance is that it can be anywhere from fast-hitting, to slow-burning. I’m a particular fan of slow-burn romance, the kind that leaves readers aching for that first kiss, for that first skip-of-the-heart and butterflies-in-tummy moments.

But I’m also a fan of action, of adventure, and fantasy. I like to write stories where romance isn’t the drive of the story, but something that comes together organically, all while the characters are learning about themselves and growing with every adventure they take.

I like to write stories that readers can grow with. That readers can be invested in. That make readers want to know more about a new world, new characters and all of their development.

Which is why I hope readers will like what I write, just as much as I enjoy writing it.

Are you ready for a new adventure?


 

If you like what I write, maybe you’d like to buy me a coffee (link to the side)? Check out other non-blogging words beneath “Little Tales” as well!

With this post, I complete the January Blogging Challenge! Wooh! January has felt like one long, never-ending month (nothing new there). While I’m glad this challenge is over, I’m also thankful for it because I found my blogging-self while doing it. I have a clearer idea of what I want my blog to be, and how I want to go about doing it.

Thank you for this challenge, A.E. McAuley!

Before I’m 30

January Blogging Challenge: Day 29

I hope you know how much this prompt made me cringe. I’ll be turning 29 in less than a month, so 30 isn’t that far behind. Egad.

Thirty. It seems so far away when you’re younger. It seems like you’ll be a full-blown adult, an adultier-adult, an EXPERT /Master Level adult by the time you hit 3-0 The reality? You’re still the same, fumbling, newbie adult you were at twenty-one.

Which means my “Before I’m 30 List” is going to be pretty short.

  • Finish Manuscript
  • Get published
  • Share more short stories
  • Have a job I thoroughly enjoy
  • Move out of Northern Virginia and into a more affordable area
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Travel to at least one new place
  • Maintain a consistent blogging schedule

Seems like a pretty doable list. Let the countdown begin!