Friday, July 27, 2012

Ironing Squirrels*

If you've seen Pixar's UP, you're already familiar with using squirrels as a metaphor for distraction. You could say I've been chasing squirrels in my manuscript more than usual this year, trying to find the right beginning. One of my CPs and I thought we'd figured out the perfect place to start. I still love that beginning. But it ended up being too far into the story. I couldn't figure out a way to incorporate the necessary backstory without adding a major info-dump or a lot of little distractions. I moved my beginning around until I actually came back to the first thing I'd written from the point-of-view of the character whose story I chose to tell. There were three characters I could have told the story through. And even though I've started in the same place, it has little in common with my first attempt.

Through all of these drafts, the story has evolved. This month, I've added around 20,000 words, and that doesn't include the thousands that I've deleted. I'd say that I'm about 50 pages away from finishing my current draft, but I already know I'll be adding more pages tonight. I'm catching squirrels, ironing wrinkles, and trying not to mix my metaphors. ;o)

Seriously, I've been moving plot points around, redefining who my characters are, and setting up the ending. I've also been removing the word "looked" a lot. I am so grateful for brilliant readers (CPs) who are willing to share their reactions and suggestions, especially Krista (whose sharp eyes caught every "looked" and "turned to look" in my manuscript) and Q (whose rants directed at the MC have inspired character revision, laughter, and a deep seated suspicion that she prefers the boy to my main character). Mwah! :D

If you're looking for feedback on your own writing, WriteOnCon (a free online conference for writers) is open for registration. This will be their third year. I participated in both of their previous conferences, and I highly recommend it. I loved their addition of Ninja Agents last year, and they've said they'll have them commenting in the forums again this year.

I realize that not all of you are writers. Thank you for bearing with my string of posts on revision and for my lack of posts in general. Whether you're a writer or not, what have you been up to this month? I'm SO not ready for summer to be over. Are you?

*No squirrels were harmed in the writing of this blog post or during the revision of my current draft.   

12 comments:

  1. Awesome that your revisions are going well. Sounds like you're doing a major one. And WriteOnCon sounds like it'll be great this year.

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  2. You're a funny lady. Thanks for the reminder on WriteOnCon, I love going there.

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    1. Thank you! Maybe I'll see you in the forums. :D

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  3. You are so close!! It is great when you have another set of eyes to help you "see" stuff.

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    1. Yes. And their comments help me focus.

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  4. I'm still convinced that was the right place to start––I don't think you NEED all that backstory. Or if you do, it can be manifested in a different place.

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    1. Well, this won't be my last revision.

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  5. Revision is hard, and sometimes it feels downright impossible. But the story improves, and that's the goal. Best to you.

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  6. I had to read your blog! Saw the address on FB. Thanks for the WriteOnCon info. I never heard of it. Haven't needed it until now, either. I told everyone I would write when I retire! I'm on page 136 with about 40,000 words. I don't know to whom to turn for editing and opinions. My daughter in law is writing a novel also, but I told her I refused to read it. I thought through the possible outcomes: (1)if it sucks,I have to tell her and then I become the evil mother-in-law' (2) it is amazing and so she doesn't need me--she can publish it. Either way, I don't want to start reading it. I gave a few pages of mine to a teen boy to tell me if the dialogue of a teen boy sounded realistic since he loves writing and writes like an adult already. Anyway, let's keep in touch and you can maybe give me some suggestions on publishing.

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    1. There are so many great forums and resources online. I'll send you some links, and then you can share them with her.

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