Thursday, April 3, 2014

That Thrilling Thing Called The Fourth Draft

Oh, boy. The fourth draft.

I'm getting ready to "fix up" my manuscript.

Everything I've done to this point has been a lot of writing--creating the first draft, then rewriting ... and rewriting again ... So it's strange now to not be rewriting everything.

It's thrilling. And baffling.

Not to mention terrifying.

"Look at the big things," people say. "Look at the big picture, and work your way down to the smaller details."

But I'd rather be debating whether or not I should use "frozen" versus "icy" than perfecting a character arc. Words are exciting. Flawed character arcs are daunting.

Fleshing out that minor character is tedious. Sharpening a description is invigorating.

But it will be okay. I'll get to the details later. I just need to tackle the big stuff. And that's fine. I know it will be just as satisfying to see the lifelike character as it will to read a flowing description. Maybe even more satisfying.

I am not rebuilding. I am repairing. 
I am not destroying. I am developing.
I am not eradicating. I am enriching.
I am not ruining. I am refining.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's Worth It

Well, after staying up until ridiculous hours of the night most nights (unintentionally, of course), I ended up finishing the third draft of my book on time. And then a few nights ago, I finished reading through it.

The first half was depressing. The writing was passive, repetitive, and boring. I walked around the house, moaning about how terrible it was, about how the book was awful. It made me wonder, "Do I really know what I'm doing? Do I really have what it takes to someday get published?"

They say you're always learning, so I'll probably never "really know what I'm doing." But since I'll be learning, I can figure out how to make my book publishable.

So the first half is going to be A LOT OF WORK. Not rewriting, at least not to the extent I've been doing, but still work. But that's just the way writing works, I guess.

Through the second half of my book, the writing improved. It wasn't so passive, wasn't so repetitive. And by the end, I knew exactly why I'd stuck with this book since last July (actually longer if you include the two other books I started to write that eventually turned into this idea ...)

It was interesting at the end, when I was reading the scene where things get tied up, where questions are answered and doubts are settled. I realized that, just like my characters felt a new sense of purpose at the end, a new sense of direction, I felt the same way, too. Somehow reading those last words, seeing that last page, reminded me that yes, there's going to be a ton more work, and yes, it's going to be painful to cut words, to delete descriptions I loved and thoughts I spent hours trying to articulate. But in the end, it's going to tie up all the loose ends in a nice little book.

And it will be worth it.

And about things being worthwhile ... Remember the writing contest I talked about entering? The first round of judging is over, and out of two hundred entries, I'm in the top twenty! Which means two other authors will be reading my writing. Then there's another round after that, although I don't know if I'll be in that one. Hopefully ... :)

So anyway, talk about thrilling. When I read my name on the list, there was a lot of squealing going on. I celebrated by going to my homeschool group and sitting through grammar and art class, in which I argued with my pirate art teacher about traditional publishing vs. self publishing. How fun. But then I came home with Kryn and watched cheesy movies and went to the park. And we ate cake--with marshmallow fluff, of course.

And in case you're wondering, you can read the writing blog here. It's by far my favorite writing blog ever.

Thank you, Brooke, for the message you sent me yesterday. Your support and friendship mean so much to me. I sat awake squealing and flapping my hands (like when we fangirl over Walter) for a while last night after I read it. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This past week, I entered a writing contest. A long time ago, back when I was ten or eleven, I entered one for the American Girl Magazine, but does that really count? I mean, it was back when I knew nothing about what an agent was or how to write.

Not that I'm anywhere close to being an expert on either of those things now. But hey, authors are judging this contest, and if you make it to the final "round", an agent reads your stuff. Which let me just say ... THAT IS AWESOME.
I wrote a death scene the other day. Do you know how hard death scenes are? I'd written one before, but this time around it happened "off stage", as some people say. In other words, you don't see it happen. And it's not really a death that affects the main character. Well, it does--by affecting someone else, and then ...


So now I only have around 15,000 (ish) more words to go. Hopefully I'll be done by next week if I write consistently. And then I can move on to editing. The fun stuff. Also the stuff that makes you doubt everything you've ever written. 

But it's fun!

ps: I received Bryan Davis's book The Seventh Door a few weeks ago. Comment and I'll fangirl with you. ;)

Oh, and go read Anomally and Angel Eyes. And then you can go sob over how perfect the boys are. AND THE ENDINGS. I need Revolutionary and Dark Halo NOW! 

Okay I'm done now.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's been a long time since I posted. And since it's (close to!) the beginning of the year, I thought I would just say, my interests have changed so much over the past year. Or I just got more interested in what I've always been interested in. And it may surprise you, but what I'm interested in is writing. I know, I never actually write a post; I just put up pictures. Sometimes--actually, I think a lot of the time--that's because I want to use that time to work on my book (or because I'm lazy ... but we'll go with the first one!).

I've been wanting to write a post about writing for a while. But writing is hard to write about. It took a long time to get a post about it written. Writing is amazing, and I can't really do it justice, but here's a little peek at my thoughts on it.

Writing is something that takes a lot of patience. You weave in the details of life, give them meaning. Describe the way the sun reflects on the water as it creeps up above the horizon. Tell about how an old couple laughs together. Illustrate the way water trickles over rocks in a stream bed, flowing toward its destination. Explain the way the autumn breeze picks up the flaming leaves and whirls them around in the air. Express joy so overwhelming it bubbles up inside you and begs to be spilled out.

In writing, you have to craft human beings, people who you dream up out of thin air. Some come naturally, already mostly formed. Others come slowly, their personalities seeping into your imagination. They beg you to dive down into the depths of their minds, reach into the recesses of their hearts, draw out what makes them dance with joy, what makes them cry. These characters can be painful. They can make you want to give up.

So you answer the call to dig deep into their being. You find out why the smell of evergreens brings back a thousand memories. What they think of the frost that glitters on the ground in the early mornings of November. Why that one place makes them feel at home.You discover their flaws, the hidden monsters that eat away at their insides. You find out about their virtues, the things that make them people to admire. You fall in love with their quirks. And you write these things.

Writing can be exhausting. It can be exhilarating. It can be liberating. It allows you to pour out your heart, write the words that dwell deep in your soul. Bring forth people you wish you knew. Go on exciting adventures that make your life so much more interesting. And to me, it can be used by God to lead a lost person home. To guide a confused soul to answers. To help someone struggling to find peace.

I think I might post some about my writing. I'm working on a book. And I think I want to talk about it. So look forward to some more posts about writing. :)

xoxo, Emily