Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Novel Needs Work

                In the past week, I realized I’m awful with criticism. Not exactly a great trait for an aspiring author, is it? (That was rhetorical, by the way.)  I finished the spell-check for my WIP and sent it out to my beta/alpha readers, not expecting that I would get feedback for several weeks, at the earliest. Several days later, I got an email from an alpha reader listing all of the problems that I had with my manuscript. Apparently, everything’s unrealistic and there’s buildup but nothing happens. So, over Christmas break I get to fix those problems. Oh, and there’s no real resolution, so I’ve got to do something about that.

                When I first got that email, I was rather irritated. I looked at my computer for a moment, and internally got angry for a moment (even though the criticisms weren’t that harsh). Then I forced myself to step back. I went back to it about ten minutes later (because that had been all I’d been thinking about since I opened it) and after greatly disliking the random alpha, realized she was right. My manuscript obviously needed help, and she was trying to help me by pointing out all of its problems. She was making it so that I would get rejected less in the future. That doesn’t mean I liked her advice at first, though, but if I only surround myself with glowing reviews that build me up to be the most wonderful writer ever (i.e.: what my family would say, which is disproportionate and wildly biased) then my writing isn’t going to get past the awful first-draft.

                After I had that epiphany, I remembered that I had to start editing, and so I’ve been making a plan for myself. The plan goes like this, ideally:

1.       Read through my whole draft, making notes on a piece of paper with the page numbers

2.       Sigh and continue

3.       Go back once I have uninterrupted time and try to fix the glaring errors

4.       Repeat

5.       Consume great amounts of chocolate while happy, family-related chaos erupts around me (This isn’t ideal, but it will happen. The chocolate part is ideal, anyway. I love my family, and they’re one of the best parts of my life—it’s just that they will be distracting me from the loathed task of editing that I want to finish within that week or so.)

6.       Continue fixing errors, and email alpha for help, assuming that she won’t answer

7.       Drink hot chocolate, finish, and read Divergent to celebrate (I’ve been wanting to read it for months [plus, I obviously like dystopias, considering I’ve written one], and my book club is reading it)

8.       Take a break for a few days, and then try to edit it for the third draft either the remaining days or the next weekend, depending on how quickly I finish


That’s what I’ll be doing, on the novel-front. I will also be trying to write at least 1,000 words per day, although the holidays may get in the way of my writing (as I say that, I’m sure they will). I’m going to work on some more short stories and perhaps try to submit them to some teen-authored magazines. I’m also going to try to think of more writing prompts and store them in a safe place, so that when my tank of inspiration is dry (yep, tank, because wells are so last season—either that or I’m very tired), I will have something to recharge it. (What am I talking about? I obviously know nothing about tanks. However, I normally know that they can’t be charged. I see my NaNo-brain is clearly still on the premises. About that . . .)

Happy holidays!


the writer girl

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