Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The House That Structure Built

Update: editing hasn't kill me. Yet. 

Neither has packing, although there was that time with the boxes of books that almost ended poorly.

Honestly, these update posts make me self conscious because I know I'm editing at the speed of a glacier. Most of my writer friends have started and finished their edits. Writers all over the blogosphere announce how happy they are to be done editing.

And still, I am revising. I'm not even done with the macro stuff yet. 

I worry there's something wrong with me. That maybe I just suck, and can't edit my way out of a paper bag, and that's just it for me. But then I kick some sense into myself, and realize it's not really me, it's the book at this point. Because sweet magnolia cupcakes, this book has a lot of things wrong with it. My rough drafts are messy to begin with, but this baby was written in ten months, starting when my son was five months old and I was carving out fifteen minutes during nap time to write a few sentences. I suppose it's no wonder there's some serious issues such as structure, tone, and voice, all the way down to the minor stuff like how I fell in love with the word "just". 

Or how I need to replot the entire thing. And kill some characters. And fix the plot holes. You know, the basics.

It's been very discouraging, because I feel like I'm taking too long. That I should be done now. It doesn't matter I only have about two hours a day, less lately since the son has decided to wake up between the hour and hour and a half mark from his nap. I've taken to staying up late a few nights to get some more time in. That lasts for a few days, and then I crash.

Lately, the moving thing, the whole let's go through our entire house worth of stuff and get rid of 50% of it so we can afford to move to Puerto Rico has cut into the writing time as well. My husband reports to work the first week of September, and now that our original plans of him staying in a friend's place for a month have changed, he has to get a place to stay a week after getting there (and staying in a hotel in the meantime). We're shipping our stuff over there a month earlier than expected.

So yeah, there's other stuff going on. But I still need to make time for writing, I still need to keep progressing even when that evil voice tells me I should just start all the way over. Again.

Because, here's the thing folks. Revision doesn't just teach you how to fix THIS book. I mean, yes, that's what you're doing when you revise. You're making the words not suck. But ideally, while you're revising, you're getting better at writing, so when the time comes to start a new rough draft, you're not making the same mistakes over and over again.

To do that, and to revise properly, you have to figure out what you did wrong the first time, and how to fix that. 

As easy as it sounds, it can be very hard. Very mentally taxing. I find drafting emotionally draining (or rejuvenating, depending on the scene in question), but revision is mentally taxing. You're picturing the book in it's entirety and thinking about what happens if you shift this scene forward. Or you're just focusing on one scene, and reading through each line for the moment where the pacing slacks off. Either way, it makes my already tired brain tired. 

So that's where I'm at, folks. I'm still editing, still toiling away. I'm making a lot of progress, don't get me wrong. I can see how each day of editing is moving me forward, and as soon as I figure out the new plot order, I can start the scene by scene stuff. But it still feels like it's taking forever and I should be done by now and I'm doomed and omg I'm just going to eat some chocolate and hide from the world. 

Then I remind myself it's taken other authors years to finish their edits, if we're going to play the compare yourself to others game, and then I don't feel so bad. 

So, sound off people. Where are you at in your writing? What do you do when it feels like it's taking too long?


  1. I feel you! At the moment writing is very slow for me (a little different, but also in some ways similar). But I'm not dismayed yet by the slow pace because my words feel more considered than before, and the writing is... okay... in my mind. So! When it is taking too long I just tell myself it will take as long as it takes and you can't rush the tide so why-ever would you be able to rush a book?

    1. Thanks Mia! I do like how more considered things are, and how things are getter better. I just need to work on my patience. ;)

  2. I could go on and on about how great your article is, but I'd rather tell you I appreciate your dedication to writing quality content. It's seldom I see writers care this much. Thank you. Pogo Games