Tangled mess

As I try to rewrite this tangled mess that I laughably call a book, I’ve come to realize that writers are a masochistic bunch. Luckily I am indeed a masochist, or at least that’s what I took away from the tangled mess of what once was my love life.

My first hurdle

Well, that didn’t take long! I hit a slight pothole while working on my book. Honestly, it feels more like I drove off the side of a cliff, tumbled down the embankment, and landed in turbulent seas. Though I have miraculously survived, the car is quickly filling with sea water, sinking, and I don’t know how to swim. This may be the end. If I don’t make…*glub glub*

I love a belabored metaphor. Sorry about that. Everything I’ve found so far have been relatively easy fixes. For example, one of my minor character’s story arc will be reduced, though not entirely eliminated. I want my main character to try to help her friend out with her problems while my M.C. is grappling with her own situation. What a friend! It’s all about putting everybody’s story arc in their proper perspective.

There are paragraphs, and a few scenes, that have been reduced or eliminated. Some didn’t fit, some took me as the reader out of the book, and some were just unnecessary. I’ve continued to refine my language, trying to say what needs to be said in as succinct a manner as possible. It’s hard work to write effortlessly.

The problem I found involves another of my characters. Something about them isn’t clicking. I like the character, and they have a part to play, but the issue is that their part grew the more I wrote and I’m having trouble unifying who I wanted them to be versus who they ultimately became. Their arc became more convoluted and the fix took me out to such an extreme that they became a cliché instead of a complicated character. Fixing it has plagued me for a long time.

I’m sure a lot of rewriting is in my future, and I’m okay with that. I’m confident that I have a strong story, minor problems notwithstanding. It’s just going to take more work than I originally planned on dedicating to this project. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, I’m going to have to figure out how the hell to fix it. I guess I could simply give up, but I feel giving up isn’t truly an option.

It’s not as bad as I thought

It bleeds! It hurts! It – it’s not that bad. Huh! I expected it to be harder to cut things out, but one I started, it was quite easy. I’ve just now started chapter three, and there’s one section that I want to move until later, but there’s a chance I’ll cut the scene completely. It’s seven pages showing the reason my protagonist left her ex many years before. I’m still not sure about that. I’ll see where the story leads me, and if it’s necessary, I’ll find the right place.

I’m glad I chose to print it out, for the umpteenth time. It’s so much easier when I have an actual document in my hands. It makes it real somehow, more real than the glow of a computer screen can manage. I get a thrill seeing my words on paper. It’s magical and euphoric. I can’t wait until it’s printed and bound in an actual book, ready to be read by the masses. I hope it finds an audience.

But I’ll try not to get ahead of myself, which I really have a bad habit of doing. I want to finish chapter three before bed. I want to do at least two chapters a day, more if time allows. A two-hour round trip to work sure makes life harder, but I’ll do what I have to in order to move on to the next phase. I wonder what the next phase will be.

 

Redirecting my focus

I just wrote and posted my last book review. They have been an experience to do, but now I feel that the time is right to move away from that and start to focus more on my own writing. I don’t plan to drop it all together, but I have no immediate plans to continue doing so as I have been, taking  requests and scheduling them out months in advance. For now, I’ll only review a book if I want to. Simple as that.

As for my WIP, I’m not as far along as I would like to be. I’ve spent the whole past week feeling rather crappy. Turns out the cold I had was really strep throat, and I’m having a heck of a time getting over it, even with the antibiotics. At least I’m seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I can breath again and hopefully I’ll have my voice back to normal in the next couple of days.

So for now, I’m keeping my goal of being done with my rewrites by the end of the month, though I’m starting to feel that’s overly-optimistic, especially considering the week I’ve spent moaning in bed, refusing to do any significant work. Forget that. I want to be done and get someone working on proofreading my book. I really want to have this out this year.

Beta-Review Blues(?)

Yesterday I came home to see a message from one of my beta-readers and a PDF of her notes. I felt at once excited and wary by what the notes would contain. Would she like it? Hate it? Tell me to jump off a cliff? It’s like opening a present when you don’t know if the contents will be something awesome or maybe something that will kill you.

“Look! A present!” Opens box and it explodes.
~The end~

I’ll admit that I had a hard time reading it. I was nervous but my doubts were quickly dispelled. She started off being complimentary, stating my book “has a real chance at a main-stream publisher and main-stream audience,”  before going in and giving me her impressions and suggestions. Some I agreed with, others I didn’t, but at no time did she come across as either cruel or condescending. My friend gave me her opinions, the reasons for stating them, and I felt that she truly wants to help me write a great book.

One of the main problems with my present draft, and it’s one that another reader addressed, is that I take too long to get my story started. My hook doesn’t come until chapter six and it needs to be moved a closer to the beginning. There are a few story-lines that need to be reduced or eliminated. Then there’s some behavioral issues that need to be fixed, ones that as a man I never would have thought of but a woman would question immediately. I guess that means I don’t know women as well as I thought! To all my female readers, please don’t roll your eyes at me. Don’t think I didn’t see that.

I also have some opportunities to fix stilted dialogue. I already knew that, by the way. It’s one of my weaknesses in that I can say everything I want to say, as expressively as I want, using language as it ought to be used, and how I have trouble using it in real life. Sometimes it comes out skewed; technically correct but not quite right. I’ll have to do a read-through or a hundred to fix it.

There are a few more suggested corrections, but I don’t want to bog this down by listing everything in the review. Besides, I don’t want to give away the ending. You’ll have to buy the book to see! Every one of her points will be considered and I’m sure I’ll make most, if not all, of the changes she thinks my book needs. I trust her judgment.

And now to the blues part of my review….

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! Sorry for yelling, it’s just that I’m sorting out her suggestions, trying to work it out in my head, needing to find a way to implement the changes without destroying the integrity of the whole. I learned that a book is a lot like a tapestry and pulling at one thread can unravel the whole story if one is not careful.

What I’ll need to do is write an outline of what I have and then create an outline of what I want the finished product to be. I’ve never plotted, never outlined, never had an overarching plan of what I want from my story. I may have a general idea in mind, but I’ve been a pantser since I started. If I do this – and by if I mean I’m going to do it – it’ll be a new skill I’ll need to learn.

All that I need now is to decide on a time-frame to finish this. Tentatively, I’ll give myself the rest of the month to get this rewrite done, since I’ve never done this comprehensive a rewrite with suggestions in mind. It’s scary, which is to say exciting, and I can’t wait to start. I also can’t wait to finish it so that I can begin to look for someone to proofread the manuscript, then I can find a cover artist!

Now if only I could find a title!