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IWSG: Revision-Induced Terror

The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!




These words are currently the makings of my writerly nightmare.

Here’s the deal: I am about half through writing the third book in my series. Which means I’m about 40k words or a couple months (whichever comes first) away from having three books to revise.


What. Was. I. Thinking?

Me, being scared.
When I made the decision to forge ahead with book three, it seemed like a good idea. Get all the details in place, I thought. Continuity is magic, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I like revising. I like turning something messy and cobbled together into a cohesive, smooth, pretty story. It’s fun for me. Unless I’m looking at nothing BUT that for an extended period of time.

I’m not exactly sure how to go about it. I’ve rewritten plenty of times. Hell, I rewrote the same book for years and years. Now, I have (or will have) three solid drafts that don’t need rewrites, just revisions. And it’s scary.

Super scary. 

So. How do you revise? Do you have a method? A process? A trick up your sleeve? Are you hands-on, with printed pages in front of you, or do you prefer doing everything on your computer?

I’m all ears, lovely folks. I need all the help I can get.

Back to the Drawing Board

I've been trying my hand at another version of Chapter One in my wip lately. I've lost count on how many versions of the first chapter are floating around on my hard drive. Why is it so hard to find the right place to begin your story? Do any of you have this issue?

This particular version has my story opening in a place I've tried before. On the advice of my writing group, I decided to give it another go. It may be a better place to open than my last attempt at Chapter One.

I'm really enjoying having a writing group. I love reading all their work, even if sometimes I kind of hate them because they're so good (I'm looking at you, Jeannie). And the feedback I've gotten from them has been great. It's awesome to have people to talk to about writing. They just get it, you know?

In other news, Summer Semester came to a rough end. I'm relieved to have a few weeks off from school work. I kind of wish I'd taken a semester off. I'm feeling a wee bit burned out, you know? School, work, homework. That's all my life has consisted of for so long now I've forgotten that there's anything else to life. It's a good thing Dana's patient or else she'd have kicked my butt to the curb months ago for neglecting all things relationship and home related. I really lucked out with that one, that's for sure.

So, what about you? What have you been up to? Enjoying your summer? Getting lots of reading and writing done?

Naming Characters

I'm definitely leaning toward doing NaNoWriMo. And, so far, the biggest problem I'm running into is, I can't figure out my main character's name.

I picked up an old idea to work with, but the name I'd chosen years ago (Evie) doesn't seem to fit anymore. I've searched books and sites and I keep coming up empty. This character doesn't want to be named, it seems.

I'm trying to veer away from names that end in an -y sound. My last two characters were Mari and Tierney, so I figured it's time for something different. I'm definitely open to suggestions. This character is a feisty commitment-phobe with a penchant for unnatural hair colors and photography. If you can think of a name that seems to fit, I'm all ears!

As a side note of awesomeness, I have the most amazing beta readers ever. No offense to any other beta readers out there, but it's true. They've all got a knack for giving useful feedback without deflating the writer's sensitive ego. Instead of feeling defeated, I'm pumped to start revisions. I can't wait to have a polished, pretty draft in my hands!

So, how do you come up with your character names? Ever have one who refused to be named? Are YOUR beta readers as spectacular as mine?

Monkey Monkey Underpants

I've been so busy since my last entry -- clearly, since I posted nearly two weeks ago! I'd love to stick to a blogging schedule, but I'm not sure how well that would work for me. My brain is a kinda like this:

...oh, Gilmore Girls, how I love you.

Anyway, busy. After I finished typing in all my edits, I shipped my WiP off to three lovely ladies and printed off a copy for a friend who's an avid reader. And now I'm waiting. I'm no good at waiting. My tummy refuses to settle, I can't sit still. I'm a bundle of nerves.

Luckily, one of these ladies started sending me beta thoughts chapter-by-chapter, which helped immensely. And then, I got the full version back from another awesome reader. The results (so far)? Not too bad. There are some things that need work. Some continuity issues that need sorting out -- the little things always trip me up. A few character fixes and plot tweaks. I'm still waiting on the results for the book as a whole, though.

So, how do you deal with the stress and nerves that come from sharing your baby with people? Any tricks or tips to keep me from going completely gray by next week?

Round One: Me

I am jumping up and down on the inside right now. I just finished my first round of revisions. I'm sure there are tons of things that need tweaking and polishing and ironing out, but Round One is complete.

Now, for the hard part: putting all those handwritten revisions into the computer. Hundreds of pages worth. Aye Carumba.

But once that's done, I've got two awesome ladies willing to take a look. I'm also open to anyone else out there letting me know what they think. So, if anyone wants to read a Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit (and maybe you write them, too), let me know!

For now, to celebrate, I'm going to crash. Today will be filled with NOTHING!

How do YOU celebrate your writerly victories?

PS: Hi to all my new followers from The Campaign!

R is for Revisions

Revisions. They're a writer's best friend and mortal enemy, all rolled into one. On one hand, you get to tear apart and rebuild your book until it shines. On the other...well, it's a lot of work. And by a lot, I mean A LOT!

For example, about five (ish) years ago, I started a book. It wasn't my first book. I'd written two shorter novels up to that point. So I was feeling pretty good, all kinds of confident, when I started this one. Well, as soon as I typed "The End" I shipped it off to a wonderful critique partner. And, for a few months, we sent chapters back and forth, me soaking in all her priceless advice, her doling out bits of pointers and suggestions. We never reached the end of the book together, but I learned a lot from her.

Getting off track here.

The book I was working on then is the very same book I'm working on right now. I revised and rewrote it to death all those years ago, then sat it aside and picked up something else. Now, I'm completely rewriting it (in first person instead of third) and it's a thousand times better.

At least until I get to the revisions.

Revisions have a way of bringing glaring mistakes and god-awful writing to light.

The thing I notice fixing the most when I start to revise is timing. I always have scenes out of place all over the darn book. 2009's NaNoWriMo novel is a prime example. I cut the first 7k and started at the real meat of the story only to find that, in doing so, 90% of the rest of the book had to be rearranged.

My point here is: Revisions are a bitch. But they're a useful, necessary bitch. And, I have to admit, sometimes I love every second of them.

As for the other times...well, no one likes a bitch.

Easily Distracted.

Okay, so it's official. I am a horrible, terrible, god awful blogger. Two weeks since my last entry. That's just unacceptable. And I wish I could say I had an excuse. A real, honest to goodness reason why I have been MIA for fourteen days. But I have nothing.

To be frank, I've been the queen of all slackers. Not only haven't I written a blog entry, I haven't touched my revisions. I have half a page of scribbled notes for chapters three and four, but other than that, I haven't done a single constructive thing lately.

Why, you ask?

Because of this:

Yep. I'm addicted to The Sims. To be fair, it's the only video game I play. Unfortunately, it's one of those games that sucks you in and you lift your head three hours later and wonder what the hell just happened. When did the sun go down? How did that movie you were half-watching end? I'm sorry, were you saying something. Yeah, it's like that. I stopped playing this game last year for just this reason, but the moment I reinstalled it on my computer, I knew I was asking for trouble.

Turns out, my willpower is crap. Absolute crap. My thought process looks something like this these days:

I should work on chapter three.

Oh, but my Sim is thisclose to a promotion at work.

But Mari's at the doctor. I should really finish that scene.

But...Sim toddlers are SO cute!

Mari's baby is cute, too.

Yeah, but it's still a fetus!

And so on. I'm slightly worried I'm going insane. Or maybe I'm just desperate for mindless distractions so I don't have to sprout a few more gray hairs from working on my book.

In other news, Fall is here. I love me some fall. It's by far my favorite season. But with the cooler weather and changing leaves comes the realization that November is just around the corner. And November means NaNoWriMo.

Oh, boy.


And I haven't even developed an idea to run with this year. I was seriously hoping to have Mari's story finished and polished and perdy by the time November rolled around. I don't think that's gonna happen. Nonetheless, I'll finish her story. November will just be a vacation.

Ha. I don't think you can call writing 50,000 words in 30 days a vacation of any kind.

I need a game plan. And for someone to steal my Sims discs.

Vacation's End...and a New Idea

It has been decided -- by me and pretty much everyone else in my life -- that I need to get back to work. Alas, my little writing-free vacation is over. Half of me is a petulant five-year-old, dragging her feet and pushing her bottom lip out in a pitiful little pout. But the other half is practically jumping up and down in excitement. I haven't looked at my novel since June 30th. Well, other than thumbing through my proof copy. And I can't wait to get back to it with fresh eyes and a renewed enthusiasm.

Dana has volunteered to finance a self-publishing venture, should I choose to take that road. I haven't quite decided if this is what I want to do. On one hand, I know a ton of people in my life would buy a copy. More than half the people I work with, my family, Dana's family, our friends. But beyond that, I don't know how far the reach is for this method of publication. Or if it would even be worth the financial burden I'm sure it would be. I have to wonder if it wouldn't be a better idea to pursue traditional publishing. Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I think I should just focus on getting the daggone thing done. Once and for all. And then I'll go from there.

But here is the problem I'm encountering -- A Shiny New Idea.

This idea has been fermenting in the back of my mind for the last couple of weeks, keeping me from working on an old manuscript and pretty much rendering me useless. I've done pretty good about resisting the temptation so far. My worry is that once I get started on the final revisions of my current project, I won't be able to stop thinking about the new idea.

So, here's my Question of the Day: How do you quiet the siren song of The Shiny New Idea? Any advice would be amazing!

Phase Three -- Complete


I finished my third rewrite last night. I use the word "finished" very loosely because,I rushed through the last few chapters so I would meet my June 30th deadline. But I think I've got everything where it needs to go now. It's just a matter of tightening and cleaning up the writing. Which should take about, oh another six months.

God, I really hope not!

I was looking to procrastinate the other day and I pulled out one of my old manuscripts. And then I was overcome with the need to get back to it. To reacquaint myself with those characters and finish their stories. I miss them. Is that strange? To miss a fictional character that only lives inside your head? Maybe that's why people think writers are crazy, huh?

I've been trying to decide whether or not to continue with my current WiP, cleaning it up and making it shine, or to dig back into this other one. I'm sure distance would be helpful. After all, I never did take some time away from it. As soon as I typed The End, I dove right into the edits.

So, what do you think? Does it really help to get some distance from a piece of writing before ripping it apart? Should I start something new and let this one simmer for a little while?

In non-writerly news, I took part in the ridiculousness that is the Twilight phenomenon on Tuesday night. A bunch of us went to the opening show at midnight. The place was packed to the ceiling with squealing teenage girls and soccer moms wearing Team Edward or Team Jacob t-shirts. I'm not a rabid Twi-hard (that's what they're called, right?) by any means. In fact, I'm downright cynical and will always be the first to make fun of all of it. A friend of mine force-fed me the books last year and I have to say, I prefer the movies. At least they're not filled with a thousand different descriptions of Edward's beauty, you know?

Oh, and if anyone is wondering -- I'm totally Team Jacob.

Sunburn, Revisions and Chely Wright

I'm still plodding through my revisions. The progress has slowed some. I was averaging a chapter a day, handwritten revisions and typing in the changes. That lasted for three chapters. Now, I'm dealing with the mess that used to be Chapter 6 and is now Chapter 4. Chapter 6 is where I ripped a scene from to put in Chapter 1. Now, I'm left with a bunch of nonsensical crap to figure out. I'm about half done with it. And I don't want to keep going.

I think part of the reason why is because I look like this:

And feel like this:

Sunburns are not fun. I have been kicking myself ever since Saturday for forgetting my sun block. I have fair skin. I burn easily. I know this. WHAT was I thinking? It's impossible to concentrate when your skin is on fire, ya know?

It was a fun day, though, sunburn and all. I got to meet Chely Wright and she was an absolute doll. The sweetest celebrity I've had the pleasure to meet. She signed her book for me, told me I had a cool name and that she liked my shirt. She also signed a copy of her newest CD for Dana's mom, who ADORES Chely. It was a pretty awesome day.

(a picture from Chely's performance on Saturday)

Ever since then, I've been struggling to get my head back into my story. Chapter 4 is NOT pretty, people. In fact, it's downright homely. BUT! I'm going to finish whipping it into shape today. On to Chapter 5 tomorrow.

Only about ten more chapters to go...