Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Revisions Continue to Elude Me

When I began seriously writing (aka not scribbling out a novel and immediately trashing it), I knew what was next; revisions. I think there's a quote out there that says, "writing is rewriting" and I agree with that 1000%. 

I wanted to be a Good Writer. I wanted to print out the hard copy of my MS, crack open a box of highlighters, assemble stacks of index cards and tab stickies, and get to work. But I couldn't. I was not wired to be that systematic, meticulous reviser with a perfectly organized system. 

Oh, how I wished to be one. How I wished to read through my manuscripts with a perfect eye for mistakes. How I wished for those structured, rigid rubrics like the ones they gave out in English class. I didn't want to be the one who stared at my writing and numbed my fears with ice cream. 

I love books about the writing craft. I take those in and savor every gold nugget of wisdom. They make it seem so straightforward. Compelling characters, with secret desires and fears. Pacing that's tight like a fishing line. A plot with a proper structure. And fearless, breathless prose. 

It's never that easy for me. 

I can scribble notes and fill up worksheets and write out all analysis. I can pretend to be a therapist, a master planner--and be someone who actually *knows* what she's doing. It's not enough for me to take in concepts, to follow a system. 

For me, I have to feel. I'm really, really not trying to sound abstract here. But it's true--I have to reach a point of wordless understanding before I can revise a single work on the page. I might have a half-paged outline for a book, but before I draft, I have to play things out in my head. My way of revising is feeling things intuitively--which is a blessing and a curse. 

I think I've written a post about this before. I've come to terms with accepting my own process of writing--but on days like these, it's hard. It's hard to stare at a blank document and not be able to think of a *single* way to write the plot down on paper. Plotter's block, we'll call it. 

In the end, I want to tell the best story I can. But some days, it's pretty hard to think of getting there. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quiet Cocooning

In Chicago, there comes a time, in the precious two weeks from the middle of May to the beginning of June--that tiny window of true spring, where it isn't bitterly cold or humid, sweaty, and hot.

I love this time of year.

Where am I?


Cartoon Network just gets me.

I'll be on and off this blog for a while. Final exams are coming. I'm getting reading to map out one of the most challenging revisions I will have done. I've already announced a Twitter hiatus because, well, it was destroying any shred of productivity I had, and with all the RT convention and BEA buzz going on...well, I decided to just step back a little.

I just read this beautiful, heartbreaking book yesterday, called Code Name Verity. I know it's been out for a long time, and I *just* got around to reading it, but it was every bit as gutting as everyone said it would be. And I fell in love. It was a story of a girl held captive by the Gestapo, as she scrawls out her written confession that is about her and her best friend--the one she left the night the plane with both of them crashed in enemy territory. It is a story of torture and war and friendship and love--not just the family or romantic love, but the love you feel for your best friend.

And I reread Princess Academy, one of my favorite childhood books. It was every bit as lovely as I remembered it. The books were both beautiful. And inspirational.

Now...How about a song for the week? I've been listening to this nonstop--got it from the 2013 Romeo and Juliet trailer (which, by the way, we're reading in class :) )

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hello, May.

My current mentality:

I would love a slice of cake right now.