Okay, I KNEW this revision was going to be tough. I’d done a quick pass once. Sent the work to some friends (even though I know better than to do that in the throes of I finished a book! adrenaline.
My friends who read the work were sweet. They said things like “I really like Sam and Patty but…” and “It seems like you could use a little more something….” and “you know, I can’t really see anything in the story. It needs some fleshing out maybe.” and…. “Your end conflict…completely unbelievable.”
So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and I loved the story still. I mean so what that it’s just a bunch of dialogue with some paint swatches thrown in for color every once in a while. I agreed totally with the end conflict cliche I’d written, so I fixed that. But something wasn’t right.
So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and OH DEAR GOD. I’ve written some awesome dialogue. For paper dolls. This poor story couldn’t be more flat. It isn’t a real story at all!!! It’s a detailed outline. A beginning. But nowhere near done.
And so the revision work…the real revision work not editing work…starts.
That’s my self-publishing word of warning. It’s easy to hit publish on a book that’s not ready. Find people you trust to give you feedback on whether the story is ready. And read a ton. I know the books I’ve read the last three months helped me see the gaping holes in this story. I mean the whole time I was reading and making notes tonight I was thinking What Would Jill Shalvis Do? AND Where is the Karen Templeton Emotion? And write a ton. Those other two drafts I’ve written are drafts…I know that. The second one is better than this one, but it’s still a draft. The third one is waaaayyyyy better than this one and the next, but it’s still a draft.
I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Friends who so kindly let me know this book wasn’t ready without totally killing my writer soul…thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
I LOVE the Brava wanna-be I’m working on right now. It’s been so long since I looked at it, I’d forgotten these characters. Joe’s such a sexy guy. Del’s so funny. I can’t believe I wrote this book. 🙂 Boy is it steamy.
I want to flesh out a couple scenes before I send it in.
It’s pretty polished now, so I’m going to work on it and get it out before I sit down with Identity Crisis and give it MAJOR revision work. My hero’s conflict is strong but the motivation isn’t on the page. I know it, but the reader doesn’t. The suspense element is a little redundant right now. (Good thing! I need to cut about 20 pages) And my villain’s destruction is way too easy. I’m using the Discovering Story Magic sheets from Dallas National to help. Hopefully by Monday, that’s all I’ll be working on.
After nine years, you’d think I’d finally know what it takes to write commercial fiction an editor can’t pass on.
Actually the nine years is a little misleading. I got my Master’s Degree in there. Spent a couple years playing around. But I’ve studied the craft consistently in that time and I’ve written a dozen books, most of which garnered requests…and then rejections.
But here I am, nine years later, revamping the way I write.
I should be looking at this skeptically. But I’m not.
I’ve decided I’ve got a huge learning curve. It’s taken me nine years to figure out the perfect writing plan to finally make the sale. And I think this book is big enough in idea and execution to be the one that garners the call.
But I’ve got to get it written and that hasn’t been entirely easy. I love the plot, and since it’s suspense, I had the plot pretty much worked out. I knew the red herrings. I knew the major twists and turns. But I was having a horrible time getting the words on paper.
Until I read Julie Leto’s layering article.
Suddenly the book’s taken off.
It’s going to take a lot of clean up, but that’s okay. I can do clean up with the best of them. My goal is to have the first draft written by Friday. That’s pushing, especially with a double deadline, but I think it can be done.
My characters sure hope so. I just shifted into the high tension action packed build up to the black moment. I love this part of writing! Torture is so much fun.
Grades go in this week.
I hate grades. They’re a necessary evil, but I’m not sure how much they show about my students and what they know or don’t know.
My staffs know what my expectations are. If they’re not making As, I wonder what they’re doing in the program. Yearbook and newspaper are fun. They’re time consuming. They’re not required. If I have a kid on staff not making As I tell them to go take Home Ec. They’ll learn a lot about life and deadlines won’t reach out and smack them around. Usually that’s the only reason a staff kid doesn’t make the grade. They got in a fight with deadline and deadline won.
But my beginning classes are completely different. I have a mix of kids who wonder what in the world they’re doing stuck in some class called journalism. Or they’re excited and want to be on staff one day. Or they could care less about school. Regardless of which student they are, journalism is usually a new form of communication. Facts. Quotes. Transitions. Themes. They can’t believe it when I tell them they have to tell me what the story’s about and they have 30 words to do it and those 30 words have to fit in one sentence.
They’re just not used to hearing less is more when it comes to the written word.
I’m fully aware of this. So I’ve developed this crazy grading plan that works great for my students but nearly kills me. I let the kids revise their papers as often as they’d like to get them to As. I figure if they revise a paper three or four times but get it right and then get all papers right from then on, they’ve learned and that’s what matters.
The kids can’t believe it when I tell them as long as they meet deadline they have the opportunity to revise and revise until they get the A.
And at first, they think it’s the best thing ever. Until I give them revise papers three and four times. By the fifth or sixth time they’re writing a story, they pretty much hate it.
And I have about a thousand and ten of those papers they hate but keep revising to grade between now and Wednesday.
And if it goes as it usually does, those papers will finally be As. And once again my class will look like the easiest class in the building because even the kids who hate school are making As.
I can only hope. 🙂