on (re)writing: she isn’t dead

I started the re-write process with a simple grammar edit. Easy.

I moved to a setting edit. Not-so-easy. But doable.

And 120 pages into that second edit, I realized two things:

  • my setting edit was focused way too much on timing and not enough on actual place description. Whether or not this is important, I let settle into my brain for a bit. But after two random conversations, I realized it’s important to me. No big deal, I thought. That will be edit three.
  • one of the characters who died isn’t dead. Yup. And the funny thing is I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t kill her. I realized that she isn’t dead. I stopped writing to think this through. After all, the outline was finished with the character dying. It made sense in that timeline. And then all of a sudden, it didn’t.

Flash to me with my head on the table. Seriously. My summer is a few weeks from being over and the hours of editing I’ve put in is not only going to turn out to be a mere fraction of the writing that needs to be done, it’s probably going to keep me from starting the re-write of another story.

Sigh.

I suppose, though, that walking around running every errand possible for the past three days and repeating over and over in my head She isn’t dead. She isn’t dead. She isn’t dead. has really done nothing to help it get re-written.

The good news is, though, that a lot of what I think is the issue with the story will be solved by this revelation when it occurs. And I have to think that it will also be a better story.

It just leaves me with a lot of recalibrating to do in terms of my writing time. And my blogging time. I don’t want to abandon the chapter-by-chapter posts again, but I fear that when I go into this re-write nothing will make sense. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. For those who read, I guess my goal is that they get a taste of the way I write.

So, we’ll see. But in the meantime, she isn’t dead.

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editing, editing, editing

I think I failed to mention that a couple of weeks ago, I finished the draft of my book Lucha. 

I realized this as I someone asked me the other day, “by the way how’s your book coming?”

Oh yea, I said. It’s done.

Yes. Done. Done. Done! And through stage one of the editing process. This was a very basic edit. I went through for all the grammatical issues and typos I could find. I did a very cursory overview of anything that may not be entirely clear. A complete hand edit is done, and now I’m working to rewrite the changes on my computer.

I have to admit that I’m loving the process. Within hours of being done with my school year, I sat down and finished the pencil edits. The computer revisions are at about page 92.

This is my major writing goal for the summer. Well, one of them.

The other is to do a major overhaul of the first novel. The funny thing is I love that story so much, but I’m not thrilled with the structure anymore. I learned so much writing this second novel draft, and I think that it will definitely help me create a solid second draft of the other novel.

The other goal for this summer is to start publishing Lucha on a blog again. I started a while back and stopped for a variety of reasons (mostly what I now consider to be bad advice).

So, if you want to start at the beginning, check it out. At this time, I think I’m going to update it three times a week until the story is done. And simultaneously, I think this will help me revise again.

Always, always a work in progress…

writing on writing: entry four

The re-writing process has begun.

I had to force myself not to look at my draft for an entire week. I suppose the first lesson I have learned is not to print the draft the day it’s done if I don’t intend upon letting myself read it just yet. But I kind of liked proving to myself that I have self-control every time I walked by the dining room table where the package from Office Depot was sitting.

I took a walk and sat in the lobby of a building with all eighty million Los Lobos songs I have. I worked for two hours straight on it and made it through about 30 pages.

The things that I have discovered thus far:

  • I like my writing voice. I had a professor freshman year in college who told me that I was a fundamentally sound writer, but that once I found my writer’s voice, I would go places. I don’t know if I’m quite there, but I definitely was pleased with that aspect of the draft. That was actually one of my big fears. I thought there was a slight possibility that I would hate the way it “sounded.” And I don’t. Not at all.
  • The huge discrepancy that I feared was going to exist in the beginning of Chapter Three is only a minor mistake in two paragraphs that should not be very difficult to fix at all.
  • Details, details, details. This one goes two ways. One: I was a little sloppy with things like hometowns and people’s siblings. I don’t know how big of a headache that is going to be to fix, but I’m going over it with a fine-toothed comb to try to catch everything and hoping my second draft readers will find the rest. Two: I am happy with the way I created the little details in my characters. There is definite continuity in their behavior, speech, and habits. That was another huge fear of mine. I thought that I would have left details like that out, but they are definitely there in the beginning of the story.

The strategy I took, as suggested by a few writers, was to never go back and read what was written the day or the week or the month before. I feared that it was going to create a very disjointed manuscript. I didn’t think there was any way that it was going to flow, especially since I wrote the first 150 pages three pages at a time over the course of two months. I guess that’s where the voice comes in. It definitely all sounds the same. So that was a relief.

The process I’m taking is involving the draft, multi-colored post-its, and a composition notebook. I’m correct grammar and typos right on the draft and writing questions to myself there as well. The post-its are marking two things right now: issues of continuity in details and additional descriptions are scenes that I would like to add. The composition notebook is a re-write of the timeline of the story. My original was in an Excel spreadsheet, and the notebook is just to give me a third way of making sure it’s all seamless.

So, day one of the editing process is done. My goal is to make it through all of the comments and suggestions by Friday. We’ll see how that goes, but that’s the current plan. I’m giving myself some flexibility at this point because my original goal was to have the first draft done by July 13 (three months after my birthday). Since I finished well before that, I figured I can be a little more flexible with draft two.