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. :)