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That one time when you thought you were done writing your book…

… and then you realized you had so much more work to do. This is the part when I realize I am not as done as I thought I was. Not even close.

There’s something to be said for getting away from your project, and giving yourself some space. I was in love with this story, and I still am. My focus, right now, is crafting a story that will catch the eye and sell the book.

THAT IS THE HARD PART, OH MY GAH.

I’ve received some feedback from readers and have been futzing with the manuscript. When people say the hardest part is writing it, they have clearly never edited. Several times. I think I am on edit #5 and I know, for sure, I have a few more rounds. Tightening, changing details, making things more pronounced, DROPPING WORD COUNT LIKE WHOA. Ruby’s is bloated and roaming and expository. I want it to be succinct and direct, but still beautiful prose.

That balance is difficult to achieve when you’re so close to it. I’ve told myself to leave it alone for a few weeks. Just let it sit. Get my feedback, think about it, but leave RUby’s alone. Do something else. Get away from it for awhile.

Then come back with a clear mind, unemotional about ‘my baby’, my story, and then craft these words into what I want them to be.

Did I write and save my original story, what was close to my heart? You betcha. My original MS is safe and sound. I’m proud of the story I wrote. But I saved a new version and that is now being torn down and rebuilt into a better Ruby’s.

This, my writerly ready friends……is the hard part.

Don’t even get me started on the query process.

Minimal Progress is still progress- July Writing goals

So, not much happening over this way, at least not much that is newsworthy.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ruby’s is still out with a few people reading it. The latest readers are writers so I am hoping to get some useful feedback. Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, I am about halfway thru my own edits. I printed out a hard copy and I am going through and noting my changes and then making them on the document instead of trying to read it on-screen. Finding a lot of things I’ve glossed over (because I am just so tired of looking at it) so that’s been good. Slow going but I am about halfway through. My goal for July is to finish MY edits. I would love to get it in front of a developmental/copy editor, but that takes money I don’t really have, so we’ll see.

Also by July I want to be up on Query Tracker so I can start researching agents and try to get Ruby repped and sold.

My writing friend Paige hooked me up with a fabulous author whom I enjoy via email and I laid all my questions and hemming and hawing on her shoulders. She assured me that I knew more about publishing than I think I do and I’m on the right track, but I should consider doing a few things, like trying to publish ANYTHING with a small market –online literary mag, some print somewhere, just something to show that there is some interest out there in my writing.

I was thinking I might take one of my short stories,  edit the mess out of it and submit. I have a few stories with good plots and a nice character/ story arc. They just need some reworking. I guess my July will be busy!

I’m also increasingly interested in self publishing something, even if it’s free. Just to say I’ve done that.

Lots of stuff happening over here! Exciting.

 

Four Questions on Writing Process (Reblogged)

So, I am not a part of this blog tour, but I love questions that make me think about my process and why I do what I do. I saw this posted at Tayari Jones’ website and thought they were great questions that inspire thinking and intelligent answers.

"2012-259 A Writing Six-Word Story" by Denise Krebs from Flickr.com  Used with permission

“2012-259 A Writing Six-Word Story” by Denise Krebs from Flickr.com
Used with permission

1) What are you working on?

My first novel, Brunch at Ruby’s, a contemporary women’s fiction novel set (very loosely) in Atlanta, Ga. It is the story of three women who have been friends since they were children, who, as adults get together once a month at Ruby’s Soul Food Cafe, a neighborhood eatery that is as old as they are. The novel is told from three points of view and follows the course of their lives in one year, from the breakup of a marriage to the heartbreak of Alzheimers to the stress of upholding the image you’ve designed for yourself.

I’m pretty proud of it, even though I’m tired of looking at it, at the moment. I’m letting it rest while it’s out for Beta Reads. Then a round of self edits before it goes out to a line/content edit. The other thing I am working on is a blurb and a synopsis so I can prepare for the query phase in my attempt to snag an agent.

2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?

I don’t know that I am necessarily aiming for it to be different. I think I want people to look at my novel, read the back cover blurb and think, hmmm this looks good, and want to read it. And open it and read it all the way through and finish it. It’s not a life changing tome. It’s not an Epic Iliad Fantasy. IF it is released, it’ll be a debut novel, the very best I can put out. And it’ll be MY story.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write the ideas that come to me. I want to tell the story that hasn’t been told. I know, there are no new stories, but I’m not looking to align myself to a trope and carry it out for seventeen books. I look for stories that are, somehow, different. Good, interesting stories with realistic characters that people can relate to… because that’s what I like to READ.

4) How does your writing process work?

This has changed over the years, which I’ve blogged about before. I’ve gone from a complete pantser– get an idea, bang out some details (name, age, job, something quirky, who cares about this person and why?) and start writing, to someone that likes to plan a little bit. Still very much a pantser in that I don’t start outlining really until I am a few chapters in. Now that I’ve entered the maze, I need a plan for getting out of it. What happens? Why? Who cares and how does that affect the story?

If I don’t know the end, at least in general, I can’t start writing. Once I know where I want to go, I know where I want to begin and work myself forward.

I recently started using Scrivener, which I railed against for SUCH a long time. “I don’t win-showcase-scrivener_headerwrite like that!” “I’m a linear writer!” “I don’t need something so structured!”

What Scrivener has helped me with, actually is pacing the novel by letting me describe each part/chapter/ scene in notebook view so I can see how things happen. When I was writing in word, I had an enormous file I was working with. If I needed to move or add something, cut and paste was my only option. With Scrivener, I can, literally, move an entire scene from the end to the beginning by dragging it. I can add scenes, find scenes or beats, change things quickly. While I wasn’t a huge fan of writing with Scrivener, it has been great for editing.

That’s it, my four questions! I’d love to see these reblogged and answered among my writerly friends. Give them a go!

BETA.

I have hit another memorable milestone in my novel writing journey!

I finished the major writing on Ruby’s at the end of April. I have edited and rewritten and done more editing and adding and cutting and I’m finally at a point where I (think) I am ready for other eyes to read it. Going back through it, I still see a lot that I want to work on, but I don’t want to do another pass through the manuscript until others have read it.

And this is the point where I entrust years of work to someone to read and pass judgement as to whether the story makes sense, if the dialog is realistic, if the pacing is steady and doesn’t lag and if the story in general ‘doesn’t suck’. As long as it doesn’t suck I guess I can be happy.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Everyone I know wants to read it. Because they know me and they’re excited about the book. I’m entirely more concerned about people that don’t know me– strangers on a train, I call them. Would they pick up my book and be engrossed in it, or would they get bored and put it down?

Not everyone is going to love it. It’s a debut novel, for sure…. but I have to start somewhere.  I’m pleased to be starting here.

Now I have to figure out how this Beta thing works. And then I have to ACTUALLY read the comments that come when people have read it.

I also still need to write a synopsis and start researching how to write a query. Oh MY!

Progress 7/29

I’ve not made a ton of tangible progress on the book so far. Still in the beginning steps of planning out the story, the beats, making sure I have all of the elements there.

I wrote out the Acts I, II and III and started my Synopsis. Some find this easier before writing. I’ll put together what I can now and revise it once I get to a reasonable point to see what has to/will need to change.

I’m still excited, just not in a huge rush to sit down and write out those beginning words… considering I have six chapters of beginning words. I want it to work this time.

I’ve been reading Art of War for Writers and it’s been good for me. Very encouraging in that it makes me feel like I am putting on my war paint and going into battle. A battle I can and will win.

Welcome to The Sweet Escape, home of writer Melinda Jones. I blog about my adventures as a Literary Fiction/Romance/ Women's Fiction reader and writer. My work has appeared at IndieInk.org, Short-Story.net and Storyfix.com.

I enjoy reading (lots and lots of reading) writing, candy, Sprite, and things flavored with raspberry... but not raspberries themselves. I blog Mondays and Fridays and random Wednesdays and Sundays as time and material allows. I hope you'll drop by often and share in the joy (uh huh) of writing! Enjoy your stay!

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