… 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.
So, not much happening over this way, at least not much that is newsworthy. 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.
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. 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 […]
And this is the point where I entrust years of work to someone to read and pass judgement .
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 don’t know where that yo came from. I just suddenly feel like Marky Mark. Trying to stay on track/ ahead of my 1000 words/ day posting schedule. This is what keeps me on track for the year. I don’t aim for 1000 words and then stop, but I don’t stop until I hit 1000 words. Sometimes, like tonight, I go a bit over if inspiration strikes. Inspiration didn’t take me too far over 1000 tonight. I managed to get in 1,124 before it started to drone on and get boring. I’m going to break for a bit and if I feel like moving on tonight I will. Chances are that I will edit it down to below 1000, though. Always happens. I write everything and then delete half of it! Otherwise I’ve found a good spot to stop. I need to pace this chapter well. I have a lot I want to cover and I can’t stroll slowly through it. I also have some conversations that need to happen on this trip, because that pushes this story forward significantly. This trip is very important in the lives of my characters so I want to do it right. I just don’t want to spend 30 pages doing it. I’m also reading, actually a few books at a time. I get bored with one and pick up another where I left off. I wish I could be so ambidextrous with my writing!
Needs to be edited, finessed a bit, but I actually finished Same Time Next Week. I’m in shock. It’ll actually end up being 21 chapters on the archive because one chapter is over 10K words and the archive holds, at most, ~10K words at a time, so ch 19 will end up being split. I mean, I started this story Nov 1, 2009. It only took me almost a year to finish it. I hope it’s not lame and doesn’t seem like I just wanted to get it done… everything I wanted to accomplish with it, I did. Wrapped up my loose ends and made sure each character came full circle and solved all my conflicts and my ending is happy. And I am happy. Woo. I need a drank. Hopefully will be up later. I’m in a hurry to mark it complete but I at least want to read through them both to make sure I didn’t type poop instead of pool. (A real mistake I caught. Yowzers). I don’t want to correct too much because then I lose the passion. Just mechanics. That’s what I am telling myself, anyway! YAY!
I know how to fix Same Time Next Week. I need to back the story up. I’ve solved my problem too early and I’ve run out of enough conflict to keep the story running. So, I need to add more ‘story’…. I always get into trouble when I get lazy and try to skip story… and bring both conflicts in the story to a more reasonable conclusion. And I need to bring my main characters back to a certain point, which will be significant to the story. Amazing. Uhm. I have no idea when I am going to dig into it and fix it. But. Yes.
Update 2: UGH. Putting it away for a bit, again. Driving me crazy. I keep changing things Protagonize seems like a great site but upon further review, seems more for collaborative writing. And for the most part a lot of 15 yr olds with angst, at least that’s what I’m finding. Read a couple of pieces, one which thoroughly confused me. Offered some words of encouragement but overall felt like I could spend some more time on my own work and closed the page down. Now I am back at my own piece and asking myself questions, like why? Why would my main character stick with this person? Do I need to explain that? What does she see in him? Since this is just a snapshot, should I leave people wondering and asking themselves the same question? Does it just seem like she’s whiny and weak, or does she have any kind of resolve in her? Do I want my readers to like her or hate her? This process is maddening. Every time I think, okay this is the best it can be and maybe I should just save it and email it to the submission site, I read it again, and see more things I could probably change. Grrrr. I need to leave it alone for a bit again. * Update: More editing, reading through, perfecting. And I joined Protagonize, a community of writers who sometimes collaborate on works but most importantly read and offer critique. Sometimes I need to hear from people who don’t know me and aren’t obligated to be nice. Though it’s nice to get that pat on the back from my friends, too. I’m sure I’ll open myself up to a few of those. I’ve posted the current draft at Protagonize here. * I’ve been doing some editing this morning on Calm Waves and Smooth Moon which has now been retitled ‘Try to Say No’. I’m wondering if I need to add more to it… […]