Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
Prepare to be astounded.

Gearing Up for Edits!

Ugh. I have so much trouble with titles! I'm always wondering what should or shouldn't be capitalized, according to the Rules of Blogging. The way I did this post's title feels so... formal.

Ah, well.

Hi, everyone! Sorry it's been a while. I'm in an exciting place at the moment. As you probably know, if anything from the fill-outs at the bottom of each post, I've been drafting a YA fantasy for a while, Aqueous. Well, I finished it.

Let me pause for emphasis.

But you probably already know this, too. It was days ago. And I did announce it on Twitter. (What? You don't follow me? You can rectify this at once by clicking here.) Having another draft under my belt feels good and all, but it's forced me to face something I've been ignoring for a while.

Sure, I've written 10 novels (11 if you count a complete re-write of one of them), but I've never actually finished one. You know, torn it to shreds. Revised it. Edited it. Polished it until it shines.

And that kinda sucks.

Especially with all my future plans to be a published (and successful) author, sharing my stories and dreams with the world, one page at a time, I realized that I really need to do something about this. I won't be querying anything until I've rolled up my sleeves and plunged in. So, you ask, why haven't I?

Let's just be honest here. I've felt intimidated. Scared, even.

There's SO MUCH to do. How can I focus on it all? What if I miss something? What if I don't know how to fix something? What if I lose interest in the story, which has happened before? What if it's not "The Right One" to spend so much time on? What if it all just sucks? WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF!

I was in this place when I asked Alison Weiss a question a week or so ago, during Write On!'s Ask-The-Editor session. Here is my question, and her amazing life-changing answer:

QUESTION: So, I'm drafting a novel right now, but I know that once I'm done, I'm going to read through it once, and then set it aside. After that I'm planning to pick up a novel that I finished and attempted to edit half a year ago. I'm a little bit nervous, because in the past, every time I've tried to REALLY edit and fix, I get overwhelmed by my story, and sometimes even sick of it before I actually GET anywhere. What are your suggestions? How should I begin? What's the most effective way for me to stay on top of things, and actually get work done on it?
Any advice will be UBER appreciated! And let me know if I need to clarify or re-word.
ANSWER: Hi Maggie,
I know just what you mean. Going back to a project to revise can be incredibly daunting. Where do you start. There's SO much that has to be fixed. What if the whole thing is just awful? 
Stop. Take a deep breath. Now, you're going to approach this with a different hat. 
Pretend you are not the author of this work. You're just a reader who picked this book up in the bookstore. What are the big pictures that would be going through your head as you're reading? Is the plot making sense? Are elements that are integral to moving your story forward introduced at the right time, or are they too early and killing suspense? Or are they too late and it's hard to figure out what's going on? Do you have places where you're getting bored? Are there places where things are moving too quickly and you can't keep up? What about your characters? Do you like them? Are they developing throughout in reaction to their circumstances, or do they just remain pretty much the way they were when the story started? Now you have some direction for improving the framework of your novel. 
Now, let's get a little bit more focused. Dialogue. Does what you're character is saying sound authentic to that character? If it's a teenager, is that how a teen speaks? (Read it aloud. If it sounds strange, maybe there's something to adjust.) In characters interacting to each other, to experiences, do they know only what they could possibly know at a given moment? Or have things that you know as the puppet master crept in that shouldn't be there? Voice: Is it consistent? Is it natural? Phrasing overall: Do your sentences flow naturally? Are there are places that are clunky, or too wordy, or not descriptive enough that you need to tackle? You should now be elbows deep in your revision and well on your way to getting everything "just right."
How to keep at it? I think you have to be disciplined. I'm sure you'd love to watch TV, or go to the movies, or clean your room (okay, maybe not the last one, but I certainly did a lot of this putting off tackling college papers) but you just need to get yourself in the chair and say "I'm going to work on this for this long today." And you need to do this consistently. There's always something else you need or want to do. But if you want to make this book work--if you want to be a writer--you have to make working on your writing a priority.

Now, if you're anything like me, and are (or have been) in my situation, you'll understand why I found this answer so incredibly helpful. She gave me a GUIDE. Something to follow. A clear, logical, no-drama approach to take.


I feel empowered.

I feel able.

I feel ready.

So, as I set Aqueous aside to rest for a little, it's time to warm up my fingers and pull Blink back out of the drawer. I may not be not super confident or excited -- I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who get excited about revisions -- but I'm ready.

And that's enough.

So. It's your turn! What's new in your writing lives? Coming close to finishing your WIP? Just finished, like me? Or ankle-deep in revisions and have some advice to share? I'm all ears.

Have a lovely Friday, everyone!

Best Part of Today: The gorgeous weather. And I do mean gorgeous.
Currently Craving: Not really anything. I'm perfectly content.
Music Pick: "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri
I'm Reading: "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen

6 epic comments:

I totally know what you mean about having lots of drafts, but none polished. I've got four rough drafts I'd like to work into something presentable at some point. -_- But right now, I'm restraining myself. Which means...

I started one casual rewrite in a notebook which I can carry to school, etc.

And I began to revise my serious WIP on the computer, at home.

Things are going well for each -- better than past attempts to revise -- and I think it's mostly because I decided not to look at my rough drafts before starting. I remember what's important, and I don't get bogged down in the old stuff.

Hope your revision goes well. ^^


@Silent Pages Good for you!! And good luck with it. I hope you're able to work them both into a shape that you're happy with.

Thank you! I hope so, too. *nervous smile*


Oooh, Twin. O_O Editing. Good luck! I totally get the avoiding-bit.
I'm not stuck on Defiance; I'm plugging away at it, but I'm way behind schedule. >.< Need to have a write-a-thon day soon. Or ten.

Anyway. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! :D


I'm waving pom poms and wishing you the best of luck on your revision. GO MAGGIE! YOU CAN DO IT!

I think everyone can agree that revisions are hard and frustrating, even people who LIKE to do them (which I don't get by the way). But once you make the dedication to do it and you actually do, that end product justifies all the means it took to get there. *waves pom pom for good measure*


Ankle…deep…in revisions… =/ And I like revisions—the thing I don't like is my slow snail-crawl pace. X( And since I only have one draft, I feel guilty about not working on my new novels, and then guilty when I try to work on new novels, because I don't have my almost-there novel THERE…it's a circular problem. And taking two classes at the university has actually just given me more legitimate reasons to procrastinate everything, instead of making me use my time more wisely. ANGST ANGST ANGST. =P


And I already said this, but CONGRATULATIONS. =D Good luck! ^_^


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