Monday, May 16, 2016

Exploratory Drafts and Revising

Just got back from a lovely visit with my sister and her husband in Omaha. It was a beautiful trip, filled with lotsa caffeine and laughs and green growing things.  Back in the arid land that is home now, alas………

On the roster for me: I'm about to launch into another round of revision for my fairytale novel! Just got notes back from my fantastical CP Jen, and her insights and suggestions are brilliant, as always—I'm continually in awe at the perspective another set of eyes can give you. Ack she's just the best!! :) :)

Revising is so weird, you guys.

I outline fairly extensively before I start writing, and yet at the end of my first (or second or third) drafts, my story structure/character arcs(/and, let's face it, PLOTS) still need a lot of revising. Why is that?

Not all writers' processes are the same, of course, but for me I think it has to do with my need to write through something before I know if it's working or not. It's like I have to explore THIS version of my world/story/characters first of all, even if it's not the correct/final version—maybe specifically BECAUSE it's not the correct/final version. You really do have to start somewhere!

I feel like each progressive draft you explore a little more—delving into this storyline or that storyline, following the threads of your characters and plots, trying to untangle them. You have to keep chipping away at the marble, circling closer and closer to what your story was meant to be in the first place. It's like getting your eyes checked for the first time—you have to reject a lot of blurry lenses before you find the ones that make everything clear.

Anyway, all that to say, I was struggling a lot in Draft 2 with the middle section of my novel. I got through it, but I knew it still wasn't working and I had no clue how to make it better. That's where a good critique partner comes in!! Jen pointed out a few things to do/try, and it's like a lightbulb clicked on in my head! Obviously it's going to take more work (and I'm sure hair-tearing and ice-cream eating and Netflix-bingeing) to iron out these wrinkles and make the material hang like it should (OMG I'm gonna get fired for using so many metaphors in this post). But it's so awesome to realize that it IS possible and you understand what steps you need to take to get there!

To sum up: critique partners are awesome. Revising is weird. :-D

Onward to Draft Three!!

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