I’m two days ahead of schedule!
I just finished the rewrites of my last chapter and the epilogue to Twenty-Five. I wasn’t supposed to be finished with those until Monday! So I guess my lack of social life pays off every once and a while.
Now that I’ve finished the bulk of the rewriting, I’m going to start early on the minor edits of grammar and typos and suggestions from reviewers.
The big problem, though, with my rewrite is that now my book is WAY TOO LONG! I meant to shorten it on the rewrite but ended up increasing the length by about 4000 words! So now I’m probably going to need to do some major chopping, which sucks, because I already cut out a lot of stuff that I loved.
The editing process is never done!
I just wrote a brand new chapter to Twenty-Five that brought me to tears. I’ve written a lot of emotional scenes before, but I’ve never cried while actually writing before. There is just something about the pain my MC is going through in this chapter that hit my heart. I want to help her, to make the pain go away, but she has to suffer. I hate that she has to suffer, but she doesn’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice.
Do you find that? That sometimes you don’t really have a choice in the plot of your story, or the actions a character takes? Sometimes I just can’t help what happens. The characters have already decided for me and my only option is to write it down. Even if I want to change it, I can’t. They won’t let me. When I try to change it, it doesn’t work, and I’m forced to write it the way my characters originally intended.
I’d love to hear from other writers on this. Do others out there find that sometimes you just don’t have a choice in what happens to your characters?
Yes, that’s right. I’m kicking my Rewrite Schedule’s ass all over the place!!!
Not only have I not missed a single day, but I’ve actually managed to add in two chapters I didn’t realize I needed when I made the schedule. If you notice, the title went from 23 Chapters in 15 Days to 24 Chapters in 15 Days to 25 Chapters in 15 Days. Now, as long as I keep my momentum up I should be finished with my second draft on time. I have to write a completely new chapter today, but it’s almost finished.
I love hand-writing. I prefer it to typing. It’s a better rough draft because I can scratch things out and still see what my original idea was. Plus, when I go to type it I can fix all the little mistakes I made when writing it originally. So it’s like a first draft of my first draft. And I find my words flow more easily when I have a pen in my hand then when I’m at a keyboard. Go figure.
If I finish my second draft on time, then I will be starting NANO on November 1st with no hesitation. I will also be starting a new goal for Twenty-Five: to query at least ONE agent every day during the month of November. That includes Thanksgiving Day. But, I may do that one a day or two early. I heart Thanksgiving, so much.
So if anyone knows any agents looking for a heart-wrenching/warming love story, let me know! If I get this book published, I might just die of happiness.
Whenever I have work I have to do, or a goal I’ve set for myself to meet, inevitably I will procrastinate down to the last possible minute. Anyone else out there like me? What are your favorite methods of procrastination? Here are mine:
PACMAN. Oh my goodness, I love playing Pacman online. Here’s a free site: Pacman
Facebook. I know, its so sad to stalk your friends and people you haven’t talked to in years, but still its a helluva lot of fun.
The forums on TNBW.
Re-reading my writing. For some reason rather than doing any actual writing, I will spend half-hours at a time reading over chapters I’ve just finished. It’s not so I get to know the story better. It’s because I think I’m going to suck at the next thing I write. That’s really why I procrastinate! I’m afraid that the next thing I’m going to put down on the paper is going to be so horrible that I’ll ruin everything that’s come before it!
How to prevent that fear? I don’t know. Keep writing, I guess. Put it out there in the universe. Realize that something is going to suck at some point and that maybe something else is going to be phenomenal. And that when something sucks it can be fixed. Or I can at least attempt to fix it.
Oh, I forgot a new thing I’ve been doing to procrastinate.
I truly understand the term starving artist right now. I’m so completely broke and stressing every day over how I’m going to pay my bills. Financial troubles are the absolute worst kind of stress. I hate going to work because I feel like its pointless, I know I’m not really making any money by being there, because its never enough. And I hate that. I’ve always been a Give 110% type of person and I haven’t been lately because I’ve been so exhausted and stressed.
I was never extravagant with my money when I had it, because I never had much. But now that I have none, I really miss the little things I used to do or buy. For example:
Manicures and Pedicures. I’m really more of a pedicure kinda girl, but I have been known to get the occasional manicure as well. There is just something so luxurious about having someone else scrub and polish you til you are smooth and pretty. Plus, I really hate cutting my own toenails. Weird, I know, but I simply don’t like doing it.
Sunkist. I freaking LOVE Sunkist soda. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I love this drink. And I haven’t had one in MONTHS. They only cost like $1.49 for a 20 oz, less if you buy a 2 liter or a 6 pack, but that’s how broke I am. I can’t afford Sunkist! Ah, I miss you orange goodness.
Christmas Gifts. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is buying gifts for my family and friends. I love going shopping and finding something that I KNOW the person is going to love. And I love seeing their reaction when they open the gift. Sadly, this year, I will be either making gifts or giving hugs for Christmas. Still in the spirit of the holiday I guess, but doesn’t give me an excuse to go shopping!
Books. Buying new books was once a small thrill in my life. I can’t even remember the last book I bought. On the plus side, I read all the books I want online for free at The Next Big Writer And these are books that haven’t been published yet! So, I’m ahead of the game there
Little things, really, I know. But when I finally pull myself out of debt, the first thing I’m going to do is head to Barnes and Noble, buy a deliciously long book, then go to a gas station or grocery store and buy an ice cold Sunkist, then head over to my favorite Mani-Pedi place to get pampered, and then I’m going on a shopping spree to make Christmas up to my lovely family and friends. And it will be wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
I’ll try and write something profound tomorrow, but it’s 1:46 am right now and I JUST finished my chapters for today.
I finished yesterday’s chapters on schedule, too! So far so good. Now I just have to keep up the momentum.
Editing/ rewriting is both one of the hardest and one of the easiest parts of writing. Easiest because I already know my characters. I already know the outcome of the story. I already know how to get them from Point A to Point B. Hardest because now I have to make it believable. Making it believable, tweaking those parts which just didn’t work the first time around, incorporating advice from readers- is a BITCH. A big, fat, ugly bitch who’s in your face, talking about your mama and spitting her disgusting garlic breath all over your face. (Is it okay to say “bitch” in a blog? If not, forgive me!)
And I want to do thirteen straight more days of this?? Have I lost my mind?
Probably. But if I did, it was long before I took this project on!
Happy reading, happy writing, and sweet dreams…
Okay. So NANO (National Novel Writing Month) begins on November 1. That means there are 15 days (counting today) to prepare for the Novel-in-a-Month challenge.
No sweat, right?
Um, not exactly. You see, I want to have the second draft of my novel, Twenty-Five, finished before I begin working on any other projects. And NANO is definitely a project. In order to finish my second draft I have to edit, rewrite, or write from scratch 25 chapters and polish up the 23 chapters I’ve already edited/rewritten.
25 chapters in 15 days is probably the most ambitious goal I’ve had for myself since I started writing back in March. And it means that I may neglect some of my friends whose work I try and review on a regular basis. But what other option do I have? It’s only two weeks and then I’ll be back to reviewing like normal, plus writing a 50,000 word novel!
I’m going to make a schedule and it is up to YOU to hold me accountable!
Today, Saturday October 17: Chapters 24-25
Sunday, October 18 (I have the day off!!): Chapters 26-30
Monday, October 19: Chapter 31-32
Tuesday, October 20: Chapter 33
Wednesday, October 21 (Another day off!): Chapter 34-39
Thursday, October 22: Chapter 40
Friday, October 23 (Day off, yippee!): Chapter 41-45
Saturday, October 24: Chapter 46
Sunday, October 25: Chapter 47
Monday, October 26: Chapter 48, Epilogue
Tuesday, October 27: Grammar, spelling, suggestions from reviewers edit of chapters 1-10
Wednesday, October 28: Grammar, spelling, suggestions from reviewers edit of chapters 11-20
Thursday, October 29: Grammar, spelling, suggestions from reviewers edit of chapters 21-30
Friday, October 30: Grammar, spelling, suggestions from reviewers edit of chapters 31-40
Saturday, October 31: Grammar, spelling, suggestions from reviewers edit of chapters 41-Epilogue
My 15 days of major rewriting starts right NOW!
If there is such a thing, the women in my family do not have it.
My grandmother, mother, sisters, and I are TERRIBLE at telling stories and relating anecdotes. I don’t really know why, but any story started by one of us will inevitably end with someone listening saying in a sarcastic tone, “Good story.”
Here’s what we do. We begin telling the story in the middle, then realize we’ve left out important information so we have to start over at the beginning. But before telling the entire beginning, we go back to the middle. We don’t realize we haven’t told the entire beginning until we’re almost at the end.
It’s like Marlon in Finding Nemo. He is trying to tell a joke about a clown fish and he just can’t get started. If you’ve seen the movie and you know the scene, that’s what its like trying to listen to my mother, sisters, or I when telling a story.
My brother, on the other hand, is absolutely hilarious. He is the best story-teller I know. I think all the Storytelling DNA my parents had built up and waited until he was created (he’s the youngest).
I think my lack of oral storytelling skills prevented my writing earlier in life. I assumed that since I couldn’t SPEAK a story out loud, there was no way I could WRITE a story down.
But here’s the great thing about writing. EDITING! I can write the story, get all the beginnings and middles and endings sorted out in my head before I share it with anyone else. And I’m not too shabby at that. At least, I hope I’m not.
So I think from now on, I’ll be writing my anecdotes down and editing them before trying to share with others! That’s what my pen is for, after all.
It’s amazing how seemingly insignificant moments in life can become catalysts for major change. At least that’s what I’ve been told. And it must be true because I’ve witnessed the phenomenon time and time again.
I tend to be the type of person who thinks I always know what path I’m walking when, in reality, I could stumble upon a fork in the road, trip over a tree root, or walk right into a dead end at any moment.
I think I can trace my first fork in the road back to my senior year of high school. I desperately wanted to go to NYU and pursue a theater/drama degree. (Does the “desperately” show my penchant for theatrics?) One look at the cost of tuition, though, and I found myself at UNCW the next August instead.
It wasn’t a bad place to be, but for some reason at the end of my freshman year I decided that as much as I loved acting, I didn’t have what it took to actually be an actress. I can’t pinpoint the particular tree root in the road which caused this loss of faith, but I’m sure there was one.
I switched majors. To Criminal Justice. I thought I’d go to law school and maybe be a criminal attorney, a prosecutor or public defender (I always went back and forth on which side of the court I wanted to be on). I worked hard, got good grades, and took the LSAT. I applied to four different schools, confident that my 3.97 overall GPA and 4.0 major GPA would earn acceptance. Only, they didn’t.
Facing a dead end for what felt like the first time in my life, I decided to take some time off. I moved home with my parents and waited tables to save money. I was reading Pride and Prejudice for the twentieth-or-so time and realized I should get an English degree.
Of course! I’d always loved to read. Why hadn’t I thought about it before? The fact that I didn’t take a single English course in undergrad didn’t discourage me from this new path on the road.
So I packed up and moved to Raleigh, enrolling in two graduate level courses in English Literature as a Lifelong Education student. I loved every second of it. But I hit another dead end. The semester came to a close and I couldn’t afford all the costs associated with applying to and continuing a graduate program.
Instead, I moved back home again and tried to kickstart another new career. I landed an internship with a wedding consultant. I know, I sound like I have multiple personalities, right?
After six months, the consultant I was assisting announced that she and her family were moving, but she knew of someone I could work with. I switched companies and began taking on my own clients. Yes! Great! I thought I finally found my career.
And maybe I did. I don’t know. I’m still working weddings, but I don’t have enough clients to do it full time.
Being a single girl who is constantly surrounded by wedding bliss isn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. In fact, I love watching the happy couples I work with pledge to spend their lives together. It’s amazing to be a part of that kind of love. At least, it was until…
My younger sister got engaged.
I knew it was coming. Our whole family knew it was coming. But it still felt like my feet got tangled up in a huge tree root, sending me face first into the dirt and gravel. Younger sisters aren’t supposed to get married first.
But I handled it. What else could I do? And I really was happy for her. She choose a great guy who really loves her, how could I deny her that? When she asked questions about planning or etiquette, I was excited and pleased to lend my expertise.
It was the constant reminders from my mother that drove me to tears on more than one occasion, though. Poor Mom! She didn’t know, how could she, how much it hurt to be reminded every day that I WAS NOT getting married. And not only that I wasn’t getting married, but that I probably wouldn’t be for a very long time.
So, one evening, after listening to her complain for the millioneth time about not being able to give my sister more money for the wedding, I decided I needed to do something to take control of the feelings of desperation surging through me.
It was another fork in the road.
On that day, I picked up a pen. And began to write.