Friday, August 10, 2012

Endings

Thanks, Sparky, for all the great comics. Image
borrowed from here.
Today marks the end of Summer for me. I'm one of those kind of people who builds and builds lists of unattainable goals and always kicks himself in the butt for not completing them. My biggest hope for the summer was to have the novel revised and ready to go out for submissions.

I didn't get that done.

There are a ton of other things that were on my list that I never got to but I'm not going to share them with you because some of it would be really embarrassing if it got out. (Now that I've piqued your curiosity, I'll dodge that shuriken and talk about stories.)

Since this is a blog about stories and storytelling, here's the story of the revisions on the novel.

Upon completion of the Zero Draft last winter I found I was burned out from writing. I'd spent six and a half weeks banging out the book and I was pretty tired. Additionally, I had a self-imposed deadline to finish another project so that could get out to be published. Then there was another project that needed my attention so that it could get into the publication pipeline. Add in a couple of short stories I wanted to write and the hectic day job and I kept myself pretty busy through the spring.

Then summer hit and I wanted to ensure that the novel would get out on the street to find a new home. I worked hard at revisions, moving quickly and efficiently through the manuscript and adding and subtracting words like crazy. I finished the first revision (which made the book an official First Draft) and felt pretty proud of myself. I sent the book out to some trusted readers for feedback.

I went back to my short stories and something clicked: I realized what I'd been doing wrong in my writing for a long, long time. I wrote a little bit about feeling as though I'd leveled up in my writing last week and it was in regard, mostly, to having too many passive sentences in my work. So as I was editing the shorter bits I grew more and more confident that I was actually making progress as a Real Writer.

Of course I was, that's the point. But when I went back to look at the official First Draft of the novel, I realized I hadn't caught a majority of the passive sentences when I did that revision. Worse, I added more.

Sigh.

So I ended up creating more work for myself. Bah. Back to the keyboard!

All this to say that I could wallow in the fact that I did the thing wrong when I had a chance to make it right. When one is facing the barrel of 100,000+ words to go back and edit again and this time try to catch as many more little things as one can, it's pretty overwhelming. However, if I hadn't spent the time this summer working the piece the way I did, I wouldn't have leveled up, I wouldn't have completed the first revision and we'd be talking about something else today. A lot of that is due to the urgings of my writing buddy, Rachel. She made it okay for me to do what needed to be done as many times as necessary.

So when I look back at my summer, I can see just how much I did get done. Not as much as I wanted (does one ever get everything they want? I doubt it) and not exactly what I wanted but that's beside the point. What I got done was significant and I can't just write that off.

Ugh. I didn't intend that pun!

As far as stories go, I'm a Writer as of this summer and I got a lot finished. There's more to do but then there always is.

If you're of a mind to, please click over to The Confabulator Cafe and read what the group is saying about quitting this week. Lots of great stories about the pains and foibles and hooraw of being a writer.

I promise sunflowers tomorrow, too.

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