Friday, June 1, 2012

On Finishing

Just a little more than one month ago, I typed two very small but very big words.

THE END.

The typing of these two words signified the finishing of a really really bad draft. They also turned me--the "token picture book writer" (yes, that's what the other FNCers have called me!)--into a bona fide member. It was an exciting moment, typing those two words, and yes, there were tears. I finally had a full novel, not just a few chapters of different stories here and there, or an almost-novel that I bailed on three chapters from the end. But, after the elation subsided, I remembered, it wasn't just a novel, but a really really bad one.

So, for the last month, I've been working on taking one "really" out of the draft. Before I started the revisions, Frankie gave me some good advice--to revise one aspect of the novel at a time. I've been working on plot-based revisions. Tiny bits of backstory and setting are being tweaked too, but as the days go by, I'm trying to do less and less of anything but plot-related stuff.

I'm finding that novel revision is a whole different kind of hard than picture book revision. In picture book revision, I spend hours upon hours mulling over the ring of one word, the flow of one sentence, and the drape of one paragraph. It's like writing poetry, and I love it.

In novel revision, at least at this point in my process, I must discipline myself to skip that micro-revision and just focus on the big stuff. It's hard for me. I spent much of last week's work time wondering if I really am a picture book writer at heart. But I want to be a novel writer, too. Strike that. I already am a novel writer--I typed THE END, after all. I want to be a good novel writer. And so I will press on.

I began this post with the idea of finishing, and I thought it would be a sort-of post hoc celebration of that weekend when I finished the draft. Instead it turned out to be a mini-meditation on my process. Considering the direction this post has taken, it seems fitting to share my current revision goal. I'm going out-of-town in three weeks and will be gone for two. My goal is to finish this round--the plot-related revisions--before I go away. I can't decide if that's a tight or a generous timeline. My novel needs a lot of work, and I work slowly, so maybe it's tight. Either way, it's forward motion, and I will reach the goal.

Now, I must stop blogging so I can fit a little revising in before going to work. Happy Friday and Happy June! And good luck to you with your current writing goals.

Cheers!

7 comments:

  1. Aw, good luck with your revisions! The advice Frankie gave you is golden. Much easier when I focus on one thing at a time. (I move at a snail's pace when it comes to revising)

    Whatever you accomplish within your time frame, will be a step in the positive direction.

    Happy Revising!!

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  2. Congrats on typing those gratifying words! Revisions are tough. I typed those words in November, and I'm still working on revisions--and I haven't even sent it out for betas/critique yet! It's hard to say how long they should take, because we all write so differently and have different aspects to fix. Good luck to you!

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  3. WAHOO! Congratulations, and keep at it. :)

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  4. Yay Janine! I'm so proud of you!

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  5. Wow! Thanks, guys. You're all so encouraging!

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  6. Congratulations on finishing your first novel!

    I'm working on writing a rough draft of mine through NaNoWriMo, the camp version right now, and that editing advice is golden. I always have so much trouble revising and keeping that in mind will help when I get there. :]

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