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