Today was hard for me. Not for any particular reason. Nothing bad happened, and I didn’t have to do anything terrible. I just felt anxious over nothing in particular, and that made everything 10x harder than it had to be.
Despite that, I pushed through. I went to work, I exercised, I did laundry, I applied for a job, and I finished Chapter Seven. I won’t lie, there were a few moments where I felt like turning around and crawling back into bed. A year ago I would have gone back to bed. But instead, I kept pushing.
That is the most important thing the last year has taught me. Every little bit counts. When you want to give up, write a sentence, or go for a walk. Action is better than inaction. Anything is better than nothing, and eventually it might all add up to something. That’s how I’ve lost 30 lbs, and that’s how I wrote my novel.
And that’s how I’m going to edit it. One chapter at a time, pushing through whatever crap my emotions/life throws at me!
Revising is both a lot of fun and very painful. It’s hard to cut things, and it’s even harder to see how much I have to change and rewrite. But at the same time, I love going back and filling in details that I missed the first time around. I know my characters now, much better than I did when writing these chapters over a year ago.
For the most part I’ve been finding that it takes me about an hour and a half to edit a chapter. Most of that time goes to rewriting sections that aren’t very good, or don’t make sense any more. My first draft is full of long rambling paragraphs where my characters describe the world around them and give big chunks of exposition. I don’t want to be one of those writers! I’m doing my best to follow the motto “show don’t tell” and changing all of that to feel like a more organic part of the story.
I just finished editing chapter five, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m already much happier with these first few chapters! I’m so excited to get them out to my first round of readers–it’s going to be hard for me to wait until I’ve finished editing everything! I can’t wait to see what other people think of my book. At the pace I’m going, it will be ready in a few weeks!
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been really enjoying getting a new short story in my inbox every morning from Daily Science Fiction. The stories are always different, and I enjoy them about 90% of the time. The Taking Tree by Emily C. Skaftun was one of the really good ones. Retold stories are usually kind of hit or miss for me. I think a lot of writers try them and think that they’re very clever, but they aren’t. Skaftun succeeds in taking the popular children’s book The Giving Tree and turning it into something new and kind of scary.
You can read The Taking Tree here: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fantasy/emily-c-skaftun/the-taking-tree
Today I started the very intimidating process of writing Draft Two! I rewrote all of chapter one, and I’m already much happier with it. Previously my chapter one had just been a big info-dump. My new chapter one still has a lot of information, but it feels more natural now (I hope).
Here’s my game plan.
I should probably read through the entire book before I rewrite every chapter, but I’ve found that I just get too excited about the changes I want to make! So I’m going to edit the book in chunks of three chapters. I’m going to read all three chapters, then work on edits for them. My goal is to do one chunk (three chapters) a week. On that schedule, I should be done with Draft Two in a little over two months! I’m going to be moving at the end of July, and I’m really hoping that I can have this done and out to my first readers before that happens.
Wish me luck!
Lately I’ve been having trouble sleeping. During the day I’m exhausted, but as soon as bedtime rolls around I find that I stay up past midnight. Last night I finished reading The Paris Wife. And last night I figured out why I can’t sleep.
A few months ago I bought an iPad Mini. I ADORE my iPad. I love playing games on it, reading comics on it, browsing the internet, checking my email… Nowadays I only turn on my computer to write and it is wonderful. Up until last week, however, I hadn’t read a book on it. I’ve been continuing to use my Nook while Steve reads The Song of Ice and Fire series on the iPad. This week I decided I should give it a go, so I downloaded The Paris Wife from the library and got to reading.
I’m positive that my sleeping problem is related to this. The backlight on the iPad prevents me from my usual drifting off to sleep routine. I have all of the internet at my fingers, so in between chapters I can check up on things. And perhaps the biggest reason… I’m terrified of dropping it. I’m the kind of person who falls asleep on top of books. I drop them on the floor. I roll over on them. My Nook has survived this treatment just fine. I hate to admit this, but I’ve even stepped on my Nook. It is a beautiful brick of an e-reader and I love it. I don’t think the iPad would take that kind of abuse. Not to mention that it was a lot more expensive than my Nook…
I’m not regretting my iPad purchase. I still love it, and I think it’s the best way to digitally read comics. But I don’t think I’ll be reading any more books on it.
I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately. I subscribed to Daily Science Fiction a few months ago and I’ve found that a short story is one of the best ways to start my day. I’ve also been reading plenty of other short stories elsewhere on the internet. I think once a week or so I’m going to share one of my favorites.
I read The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere a few months ago and it really stuck with me. Those are the stories I really like–the ones that you keep going back to. It’s a beautiful story about a Chinese man struggling to commit to a relationship and come out to his family. The story is centered around the premise that in this reality, when a person lies water falls on them from nowhere. It artfully allows the writer to play with the idea of lies, half truths, and sarcasm. You can see this best in Matt’s interactions with his sister. It’s a great way to see the characters, and I love it. John Chu has written a hauntingly beautiful piece about relationships and families.
Go check it out! Tor even includes some nice artwork with the story.