Sunday, December 30, 2012
“The best laid plans o’ mice and men ...” That quote was written by Robert Burns, and it was the inspiration for Steinbeck's title for Of Mice and Men. I really did want to edit my novel in the past week. Unfortunately, I discovered I was a procrastinator. For the first few days, I sat around reading, which was very pleasant. Of course, the interesting books with pretty covers made me feel even shabbier about mine. That tactic didn’t work very well. I worked on the read-through and figured out all of my major problems. After that, I felt like I had accomplished something. The problem was that I didn’t know how to fix my problems. So now I still have a bad beginning and no resolution, and a spotty plot in between, not to mention the adverbs I slathered onto each page because it meant more words.
The good news is that I’ve started editing. I’m on about page 47 of 110, and right now I’m editing it down, to minimize all of the random fluff. I now feel bad for my alpha reader, because even I was getting very tired of my character’s stupid rants and tangents. I really should’ve edited before sending it to someone. What a concept.
Right now, it’s 6,000 words less than it was a few days ago, so at least I’m making progress. Kind of. I’ve fallen short of my 2 hours a day for the rest of break goal, though. For my editing plan, I’ve found Veronica Roth’s revision process very helpful. In case you’re interested, the link is here. I read Divergent (the book that was supposed to be my editing reward) and I loved it. I also enjoyed every other book I read while I was happy procrastinating, but I liked Divergent the best. It made me wish that my book was a dystopia like that. You can do a lot when procrastinating.
I plan to continue editing until I’ve pared it down (and asked fellow writers for help enough to iron out my plot) which will be my second draft. I’ve also decided that writing is much better than editing. Editing is boring and irritating and makes me wish I was writing a murder mystery just so I could kill everyone in my book (fun fact: I wrote a play once that turned out to be a murder mystery only because I hated the main character), but . . . it’s not that bad. It’s only the kind of bad that is equated to hearing that the world is ending, someone breaking up with you, going crazy reading legislative articles, and accidentally burning your house down. Just kidding. I rather enjoy destroying the awful parts of my book in fact, perhaps more than I should. Now the question is ‘how do I fix the others?’ Ugh. That’s a rant for another day.
Extra: Since I know we all like bloopers, myself included, here are some of my awful metaphors. Again.
“She looked like a frog that hopped in the irrigation ditches.”
“Her face was as bitter as tree bark.”
And my personal favorite, “I walked over to him, caterpillars of fear staring to grow in my stomach.” Really, why did I ever type those words? Caterpillars, of all things? That passage now makes me think of tapeworms. Lovely, isn't it?
Hoping your first drafts are better than mine,
Katia, the writer girl