And So Here We Are…

Today I finished the first edit of my novel. It has been both exhilarating and terrifying. I won’t even mention my word count. Needless to say it is ridiculously large; as in probably close to 3x larger than some of the estimations I’ve seen for my genre’s standard.

A while back I had come to terms with the fact that I was most likely going to need to split the book. It was a painful revelation as I am unsure if there is really a good place to break it in two and also I had always thought of it as one book. Seems a bit funny to be sad it’s going to have to be two and not one, but that’s how my heart feels, damned if I can explain why.

Still I had hoped that maybe, juuust maybe, with some slash and burn of useless words/paragraphs along with a little luck I might be able to squeak a reduced version past a publisher.

Ha.

Hahaha. In my wildest dreams…

Now I realize that not only will it need to be two books but I’ll still need to hack out major chunks to make even those two a reasonable word length. The poor exposition is going to be butchered, but it’s dying for a good cause. I think.

This of course means I get the joy of setting aside my anxiety of going about researching publishers for a while longer though. So here I find myself now staring at the empty folder “Edit 2”. Brace yourself. It is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.

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Looking Back

So I ended up almost entirely rewriting the scenes that I had written years ago. It was time consuming, but worth it. I kept the frame of the scene intact, most of the events still happen, but I redid the phrasing completely.

Sometimes I get really down on myself because I feel my writing is still very amateur. Honestly it is compared to the authors I look up to, but whenever it weighs too heavily on me I go back and read my old work from even as early as two years ago and I laugh. Between now and then it feels like worlds apart. Every line I tore out of that rewritten scene and replaced felt amazing.

I can only imagine in another two years when I go back and reread my novel I’ll groan and ask myself what I was thinking when I was doing the initial rewrite.

Most of my early writing experiences were fanfiction. I still write some from time to time, mostly for my own enjoyment. When I was younger however, I shared it on websites. Periodically I’ll find the old files on my computer and open them up to read them. I always wonder what in the heck I was thinking. Not only are the plots usually ridiculous or the characters not actually in character, but the quality of the writing is horrific.

Sometimes I still get emails indicating that someone liked or followed those old stories or my old profile and I laugh. Some of those stories are over eleven years old and I wonder how in the heck anyone can enjoy those things. Still, I let the stories remain instead of deleting them like I’ve contemplated dozens of time. Oddly, they still bring people joy for reasons I cannot figure out and I have to admit my guilty pleasure of going back to find stories I read when I was 14 that are poorly written, but that I still somehow love. I would be sad if those authors removed their old works, so I won’t do that to those who bizarrely still like mine.

Love it at the Core

Every year I participate in WriMoNaNo (and WriMoNaNo Camp) and probably the biggest thing I see is the forums filling up with discouragement. Post after post of people commenting how they’ve only gotten a thousand or five hundred words and now they’re stuck. There are those who are nearly a third of the way through when suddenly they’ve lost interest and find themselves forcing their way through it.

For some of them it is simply a matter of writer’s block. Don’t be afraid of it. Everyone gets it. Simply work where you can and surround yourself with things that inspire you or get you in the creative mood. Whittle away at it a little at a time and soon enough the urge to write will return. Don’t spend your time cramming words onto a page when you hate what you are doing. Writer’s block is different for everyone just like writing is, but personally I find I tend to resent writing and what I do more when I try to force it.

For others though the matter is less simple. While it is not the case for all, many stop caring what they are writing about. Whatever had seemed like an amazing plot idea to them a week earlier is now, in their mind, a boring pile of junk. When you feel that way it is no wonder that you find yourself unable to write or care about the characters. The absolute most important thing when writing is to enjoy what you are writing about.

Are you going to love every scene? No, of course not. You may even have characters you dislike, but you should never have trouble writing because you so loath getting into their character or into the plot line that you can’t get yourself to sit down and spend thirty minutes typing. If it is such an utter struggle, step back and take time to figure out why. What is it that you hate so much? And once you figure that out start to think on how you can change that. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing which character’s perspective you are writing from and other times you will find yourself throwing out a whole plot.

It can be discouraging, but you will feel infinitely better working on something you love a month later than finding yourself two weeks down the line throwing in the towel completely because you simply cannot stand your story any longer.

For me this is why the planning and organizing stage is one of the most important. I spend time developing the plot, world, and characters and developing layers to each. I try to set up a foundation that I enjoy so even when the plot or a character takes a sudden veer into territory I never planned on I still have, at the core, something I love. This makes even the scenes I am less fond of much easier to write because I care.

You need to give a damn what you are writing about. No, that does not mean you have to care about world revolution or teen romance, but it means at the end of the day you need to care about those characters. If one is in a situation where they may not survive, and your muse has the reins and could pull a crazy character killing stunt at any moment, you better damn well be nervous that you’ll find yourself writing a death scene before you’re aware of what’s going on. (Yes… Sometimes that happens.)

Take time to mule over your idea. Toy with it, day dream with it, and jot down notes. Build up a base that gets you excited or warms you. If you can love the core of it then you will find the writing that branches out to be far more pleasurable to deal with. Because remember, you’re going to have to read that story over and over again when it comes time to start editing.

So love what you write. Form a bond with your characters. It will be a far more rewarding experience in the end. Then, one day, when you find yourself yelling at your characters for not following the outline or apologizing to them for hacking off a limb, don’t worry. You’re not crazy. You are just a writer.

All Emergency Crews We Have a Motivation Derailment. I Repeat, We Have a Motivation Derailment

Lately I’ve been finding myself distracted. For a time I was doing great. I was tearing away at a fan story I was writing all while editing my original novel. Slowly, the writing tapered off, but the editing picked up, so I was pleased. Theeeeen derail. I went from doing 4 to 6 chapters a day down to zip. I blame it on procrastination.

There is a pesky scene that is probably the oldest in my novel. It is out dated and no longer really fits, but it has some important information and revelations in it. That and it sets up scenes that come later so it’s not a matter of simply tossing it out. That sucker has to get edited… But I reeaaaaallly don’t want to deal with it. Feel like it is this gigantic boulder sitting in the road and the only thing I have to get rid of it is this tiny little chisel and hammer.

I suppose that’s just part of being a writer, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it gosh darn it all. Naturally this meant that instead of just facing it and getting it over with I suddenly ran headlong for another original story I wanted to write. Meanwhile that scene from my novel is sitting in the back of my mind yowling like my cat does at 2am when she has to announce to the apartment that she still remembers how to use the litter box and that we all damn well better be proud of her.

Part of the problem I think is the fact that I struggle to write while at home. At work it is easy. It’s a mini escape to jot down two or three sentences while I wait for the system to save or a chapter while at lunch. At home there are a multitude of distractions. It is hard to write sometimes when I have a game I am longing to play staring at me from my task bar or when I have a cat trying to wedge himself between my arm and my side.

One of these days I need to hide my Ethernet cord so I can’t get on steam or an MMO after I lock all three of my cats out of my room.

Ha. Good luck with that…