Friday, June 1, 2012

On Finishing

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.



  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!!

  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!

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

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

  5. 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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