Yesterday I finished my novel revision, and even though I had intended to finish it by the end of March, it is a major accomplishment that I finished it at all. It’s been a rough year personally and therefore creatively, so the fact that I was able to fight through and finish this… it’s really meaningful to me. I’m excited because I only stepped back into this book the week before Thanksgiving. And here we are, and it’s done, and it’s so much better than it was before.

Also I fixed the ending. It involved cutting about half of the first draft rambling nonsense and drafting new scenes and chapters that actually made sense, but I think it’s good now. Not perfect. But good. The bones are there. And that’s another win for me.

It’s taken a big chunk of my life to get to this point of realizing we’ve got to take our wins where we can. That I’m sitting here writing this is a win. That I finished my revision in the year of 2017 is a win. That I’m facing 2018 full of dreams and hopes is a win. It would be easy for me to cast myself as an utter failure, particularly given the year I’ve had. Given the benchmarks I meant to hit and didn’t. Given the accomplishments I didn’t come anywhere close to. But I’m not a failure.

I don’t know whether this book will ever make it out into the universe. I hope it does. I love it that much. I want to share it. But even if it never does, this weird little magic book of mine will always be dear to me.

This is just me rambling my end-of-the-year thoughts, I suppose. And maybe by this time next year I’ll be exactly where I want to be professionally. And maybe not. But I’ll keep writing, keep creating. It’s starting to feel like enough.



Gin and Tonic Revision Ramblings

I am deep into the part of my book that requires a lot of rewriting. I was dreading it a bit, for various reasons, including anxiety, laziness, Not Having a Clue What to Do, and just wanting to get this revision over with. I was also looking forward to it because yay I get to fix it oh how easy this will be! 

But that’s not writing, friends.

To be completely honest, I have felt a bit of impatience with this revision because I really want to get it finished so I can query. Yes, this is That Book. I love it more than words can say, and I want to send it out into the universe. And I had planned on doing this revision way back in January, getting it in shape, and querying throughout this year. Obviously that didn’t happen, which is fine, but now I just want to get it out there!

It’s just not ready yet.

And. That. Is. OK.

Right now, it is my job to make this book the absolute best book that it can be. I think I’m achieving that goal. It’s already 1000% times better than the nonsense first draft where it was all just WOOOOO HERE COMES SOME MAGIC STUFF. I am tightening the prose, finding the plot holes, slaughtering many darlings, and honing my characters to razor sharp points. I’m also loving it, despite the impatience.

One of the elements that goes into this impatience (beyond, you know, that this is my childhood dream and I desperately want to be a published, professional author) is that I get really addicted to drafting. I am a fast drafter (don’t hate me) and there’s a sort of high that comes with that. I love watching a story take shape, even if that shape is a messy, crooked blob that must get taken apart and reworked a thousand times.

I also love revising (again, don’t hate me) because there is something magical about taking those puzzle pieces you’ve created, tossing out the ones that don’t fit, and putting all those pieces together the right way. Watching those jumbled pieces come together into something that resembles that perfect, amazing book that was in your head when you started… wow. That’s what it’s all for, right? That moment. The “FINALLY THERE IT IS” moment where the nonsense becomes prose.

I love both drafting and revising, but my affection doesn’t make either phase easy. Sometimes I don’t have the answers. Sometimes I don’t want to write. And revising takes So. Much. Time. But more and more, with this book particularly, I am realizing that I need the time. The time yields the answers (eventually). Just yesterday I found an internal inconsistency that I managed to fix. It’s been there literally since the first draft and I’ve never noticed it until now. Neither have any CPs or readers.

I’m rambling. I’ve just had a very large gin and tonic because I did not want to work on my book today. Some anxiety took over. The “what if nothing ever comes of this and I am only ever a massive failure oh dear oh dear oh dear I can’t do this” variety. So at my husband’s suggestion I bribed myself with aforementioned G&T and I’ve written a few thousand words.

Maybe this is a “trust the process” post. Maybe this is a “give yourself time” post. Maybe this is a “drink more gin” post. (I kid. Kinda.) Maybe it’s all of those.

Trust the process. Give yourself time. Drink gin if you like it and you’re legally permitted and you’re doing so safely.

And never, ever stop writing.


Shoveling Sand + Revisions + Anakin Hates Sand

Where did this last week even go, and why must that be the constant refrain of adulthood? Oh well. I worked, did some Christmas shopping, worked some more, wrote, and had endless snuggles with my pug. Pretty good week–but again, where did it go. 

Anyway, I have reached the somewhat dreaded last forty pages of my book. I’m pretty pleased with the revision so far, and my pace. I’ve revised about 67,000 words in two weeks, stealing revision time in between holidays and church services and work. I’m well on pace to reach my goal of finishing this revision by the end of the year! Yay! Right?

“Yay” except now we come to, as I say, the somewhat dreaded last quarter of the book. I knew when I finished this draft last year that the end was a mess. “It’s fine!” I told myself. “First drafts are supposed to be messy and awful! You’re good!” And all of that is true.

The reason this trips me up more than it usually would is because this is the only part of the book that’s still in that messy first draft mode, and not only because of my recent revision. If you’ve tracked with me the last few years, you’ll know that this book started out as a novella project. I’ve since learned I cannot write novellas unless they’re companions, because they’re not long enough and the stories are always bigger.

Because of that, the first quarter (or so) of this book is pretty darn polished. It’s down to style and line edits, really. And the next half has been through a round of revision already. It’s only the end that I’ve let dangle off by itself.

I have to shift gears now, as up until this point my revision has been largely focused on character work and worldbuilding, with some smoothing out of line-level styling. I now need to pop back into a high level focus on plot and figure out what the heck is going on. I have a fairly good idea of how I will address the problems, though it’s mostly a game of just rewriting the whole thing. During my initial draft, I had absolutely no idea how I was getting characters from point A to point B, and what events would lead up to the climax. I literally have characters running around for no reason with absolutely nothing happening.

It’s times like these that I bring to mind this quote by Shannon Hale: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

I’ve got plenty of sand. Probably too much, really. But I’m ready to make some castles! And I’m hoping that the rewrite this ending needs will satisfy that drafting bug. I’ve got some shiny new projects I really want to work on–but this revision comes first. I’m off to address a subplot, cut out some needless wandering, and draft a whole new chapter taking place in a creepy marsh filled with monsters.


P.S. Am I the only one who cannot think of sand without this coming to mind?

You literally grew up in the desert, Anakin. How else are you supposed to build your castles???

But alas, rage against the Star Wars prequels is a post for another day…