My friend in my writing group was asking for blog topics the other day and I said, “how about on being brave?”
He wrote a great blog post I totally needed because he’s reading one of my pieces now. (An aside, Bryan Young is crazy talented and you should read his books. Seriously, go do it. Here. Let me help you)
I’m not so sure my main issue is bravery now that I’m thinking about it. I tend to the prickly side. I like to put on my makeup face, wear my armor, and look unapproachable. I skew hedgehog. My spikes? Look how fucking rad they are! But my little pink belly? Fat chance.
It’s vulnerability that scares the bejesus out of me. And that’s the hard part. And it’s been an underlying reason I’ve been hesitant to revise. Because when I revise, I’m one step closer to actually showing people my work. And then they’re one step closer to seeing my novels are poorly executed weird ideas. My jerkbrain tells me this enough already. I don’t need it externally as well.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched this, but it’s good to post:
Friends who love you and tell you how much they love your stuff are important. But so are friends who post 38 comments on your google doc, then message you with, “So, I finished the first chapter. Tell me what you think. Do they help?”
It’s hard and it’s scary, but, it’s a first step. That first step might be a doozy, but I think I survived it.
Recently, I told a friend to pull a title from Amazon. I read their book and was a little o_0 over it. The title was pulled and I was both relieved and felt terrible.
My critique partner and I were talking over breakfast the other morning and LuLo came up. It was my first real effort at a novel worth publishing and it did not go through a very stringent vetting process. The ladies in my moms group, who I love and adore, were much too nice about my book and well, it sucked. Like a lot. So, I pulled it. There are so many reasons why it sucked, which I can go into at length, if you’d like, but… Anyway. My critique partner was still much too kind about it and didn’t come out and say it, but I kind of wish she would have.
It’s nice to hear your story is fun. It’s nice to hear it’s well written. But if that’s not true, you are doing the writer a disservice. High five for the cold, hard truth.
The more writing I’m doing, the more work I’m putting into it, the more I want to hear honest critiques. I don’t want to hear it’s good if it’s dog shit. I think I’m coming to a new place in my writing, where I’m feeling brave. Where I can send out queries. Where I can get the feedback I need. I’ve been doing more research on the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think I’m getting better at this and I can judge my own abilities better. Or maybe I’m still as hopelessly hopeless as I was before ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We report. You decide. heh. or something.
In any case, I feel like I’m taking steps forward. I don’t feel as scared. I’ve written some really terrible stories. And that was that. Nothing bad happened. As far as I know. But, I don’t feel so frightened of sending my books out into the world. I’ve been working through my revision block. And now, this. Things are moving forward and I’m feeling like a new, stronger, braver person.
I was scribbling in my journal the other day, trying to work through why I hate revision so much. And I think I’ve made some headway.
I’ve rambled a bit about my ~process~ before. I’m a pantser and don’t take kindly to outlines. I fly by landmarks. How I get there? I have no idea. I just know I do. I’m a discovery writer. I like finding out how things work and how they fit together. Continue reading Revision
I’m back in Khazad-dûm. And it’s really not so bad. I outlined the Defiant Canary in my notebook and it’s really quite pleasing. It’s nice to have a path and know where I’m going and what I’m going to do.
The strangest thing about this book, I’ve made each POV switch its own chapter. I have a tendency to head-hop, but with three POV characters, it’s hard to keep it all straight. So, each is labeled with its respective owner.
Having the outline has made a world of difference. I cut out all the weird little half page POV snippets before I ran across them with a blue papermate. I can’t even tell you how demoralizing it is to be on a good clip with the revision and then finding there was all this weird work to do to get it into shape.
I think I have to have a set system for revision. I can’t just hack at it pell-mell as I usually do. I think the first step is to write down the outline and weed out all these weird half-page POV barfs. Do all the major structural stuff. Then use Suzanne Johnson’s excellent monster revision workshop. Like oh my god, take her workshop. It’s incredible. Her plotting workshop is rad af too. I think if I outlined, I wouldn’t have to take this first step of doing this structural step. But outlining is so meh in my brain. I’ve used her plotting ideas and melded them with my pantser ways to keep things organized better. Everything I’ve written since taking that workshopping class is in such better order and will be easier to revise. Anyway.
I’m feeling real good about this. I’ve been sending chapters as I revise them to my beta readers. It’s a fun story and there’s cultists and Cthulhu-esque whales and all manner of nonsense.
I think I have a real good chance of releasing this by June. That’s my plan. And then I think I’ll release Mort the month after. And then… I’m not sure. Probably The Washed Up Astronaut. Anyway. I have a ton of work all lined up. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m getting excited to see where this will take me. The more I write, the better I feel about what I’ve been writing. Anyway. I’m feeling super hopeful and excited and rad.
My goodness. I was working through this revision of a Defiant Canary chapter and I just realized I’d flipped PoV midway through. I don’t even know how it happened, but I think it’s the sign that it’s time to take a break.
So, with that, it’s time to put the revision away for right now. Well, after I finish fixing this. 😂 Cuz let’s face it, if you realize it’s time to take a break, and you don’t, terrible decisions like Maria Reynolds show up and then it’s all a terrible pamphlet publishing war and your career is ruined.
The best part of this year’s NaNoWriMo is the friends I’ve made. I stumbled into a great group of people and we’re still supporting each other like it’s November. It’s nice to have a like-minded group of people to bounce ideas off of.
With that in mind, I think I’m going to have an easier time of hitting goals this year. We’ve set up a critique group and what kind of support we’ll need over the coming year.
My goals for 2017:
- 500k words. I haven’t hit 500k in two years. I’m close this year, but it’s not feasible. I got sick on Christmas and I’m having a hell of a time shaking it off and as such, writing nearly 30k words by the new year sounds completely unreachable.
- Write 6 manuscripts. I wrote 4 this year, but only if you count the two half-novels as one.
- Release 6 novels. I’m planning to release them three-four weeks apart. In August. I’ve got a ton of shit to do for that.
God, that looks like a lot. The books I’ll be releasing are Le Morte de Grendel, LuLo2, LuLo3, LuLo4, The Defiant Canary and … well, I haven’t decided on the sixth title. I know I have lots of stuff listed in my writing projects page (while I’m at it, I should update that, too) but my goodness, it’s hard to decide.
I’m pretty pleased that things are getting better and better with my writing. I feel like my latest projects are much better, with better writing and crafted better. The characters feel better, the plots feel more interesting. The writing is just better to begin with. Easier to edit, less weird stuff to take out. I don’t know why I’d just leave typos galore in my earlier manuscripts. THe and SHe all over the place. Silly things that are so annoying to go through and fix now.
Anyway. This is going to be a big year for me. A big year, with big goals. I can’t wait for the new year to start and all the fun, amazing things it will bring. 🙂
Well. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the frame of mind to write on the blog. I went and saw Carmen at Utah Opera and it was amazingly gorgeous and wonderful, but, my God, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt terribly unsafe as a woman.
I can’t say I went in blind. I’ve listened to the opera a million times. I should have known better. But, I just didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I’ve had a rough couple weeks.
I try not to put anything triggering in my books. Like, no rape, no abuse. But it happens in real life, so it will have to happen. Well, not have to happen. But it can happen. It’s been referenced in my (unpublished) writing. But, as I start to edit and publish and produce, it’s going to come out.
Anyway. I think Carmen is going to be on the list of operas that I like, but will never see again. I can listen, but watching it is just too much. Utah Opera is putting Don Giovanni on this season too. Once was enough for me.
But, I’ve been writing. My NaNoWriMo project is pretty therapeutic. Kind of rough, but it’s therapeutic. I work through my issues by writing, so it makes sense. I’ve been working. I’ve got my revision work, I’ve got writing work, I’ve got mom/women’s work. Things are going.
Things are okay. And they’ll stay okay.