Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Revision Shuffle

So, I'm beginning to think that progress with writing is two steps forward, one step back.  I had a wonderful talk (skype) with a crit partner yesterday, and he had fabulous things to say about my work in progress.  So fabulous, in fact that I have tons more work to do.  Because the revision sparked new directions, and switching more things around.  Sigh.  I'm very happy to take this work to the next level, and bummed out about the amount of work which still has to come.  Two steps forward, one step back.

A word about this--I only consider changes in my manuscript that ring true for me.  And I know that what my partner said is right.  And I'm glad he's saying it.  Even if it means a ton more work, when I was hoping to be almost finished.  The road is long, especially during the revision shuffle.  It's good when someone is as excited about your work as you are--and willing to say "I know that you thought that you were almost done, but this part is so strong, that it would be great to move it up, and craft the next couple of chapters around it." He says what I would say to myself if I had perspective.  I love working with him, and I hope that everyone has multiple partners like him.  Writing partners, that is :)!  I'm excited to see what other feedback I get about this past revision.

You just can't hurry writing.

And, when I'm overwhelmed, I'm glad I have writing friends to put it into perspective.  And to tell me to just revise one word at a time. In that light, I wanted to let everyone know that Tina is hosting another unplugging in The Practice Room at 12:00 PM EST tomorrow, Thursday.  The first one was very successful, and I'm excited that she's hosting another so soon.  Here's what you do:  show up a few minutes early, and tell Tina what you're planning on accomplishing in the hour.  Then when the clock strikes 12, shut down the internet, put the dog out, set the kids up with a craft, and write for an hour (or some writing type activity--revise, organize, daydream...).  At 1 PM, return to the room, and talk about how your hour went.

It's a great way to jump into writing, and get something accomplished.  And it's great to have other writers there to talk with, and bounce ideas off of when you get stuck.  I'm excited about the practice room.  If you can't make the unplugging, but would like to, just let Tina know, she would love to hear about times that would work for you.

And, if you are ready for an edit of a ms--here's a chance to win one from a former Harcourt editor.  It's a new blog called Dear Editor, where you can ask all those burning questions--pretty cool.

Okay, now I am sheepishly apologizing for doing absolutely nothing with some awards that I got a while back.  See, I love it when people tell me that they appreciate me by giving an award to me or my blog.  But, I don't always have the time or peace of mind to do that award justice by passing it along.  And the most meaningful thing to me are the people behind the award.  So, I decided to put all the awards in a page, where I can tell you how I appreciate the people behind the awards that they gave.  So, please check out The Treasure Trove page, and thank you all, for gifts that you give me on a daily basis--all your thoughtful comments, and camaraderie.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for making this such a wonderful place to be! You deserve all the awards!

    And thank you for letting people know about The Practice Room. I really appreciate your support (and participation). It is always so fun!!! Yay.

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  2. Two steps forward and one step back is great progress. I've had whole years when I think it has been the opposite ... you know, one step forward and two steps back.

    so, you're ahead of the game. moving forward! and, learning the patience required for when you do sell that great novel and have to go through the dreaded "waiting for edits and response to edits" phase. That requires amazing patience skillz.

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  3. How funny you should be writing on the subject of revision; my latest post on my blog is about the same thing. Some days it DOES seem like two steps back for every three forward but eventually I know I'll get there. You will, too :)

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  4. It took me forever to post this comment because I kept getting distracted by your links! LOL! Thanks for all the info. :-)

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  5. Sounds like you've got a great crit partner there. And so true, only change the parts that ring true to you. But I love it when a partner points something out and I think - of course!
    Keep up the good work! Wish I could join you tomorrow.

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  6. Hey Heather, I'm a new follower but I'm really enjoying your blog! I know what you mean about the two steps forward, one back! You almost don't want to hear any great ideas for fear of starting over!! Ahhh, it's such a process, right? But ultimately, it's one we love! :)

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  7. Heather, isn't that the best/worst kind of feedback to get? On the one hand, you can't wait to make the manuscript better! On the other hand, it means you still have a lot of work to do. It sounds like it will be worth it, though. Good luck!

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  8. Too cool, Heather!
    Thanks for posting the Dear Editor link.

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  9. Um, first, aw shucks about the nice things you said... You are such a great crit partner for so many reasons. Integrity is a big one. And I am sooooo excited to see how your novel grows!

    And thank you for getting me out of editing hibernation and back into the world.

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  10. Oh Heather! Awesome links and advice here. You are so right about how we can't hurry writing. So many days I wish I could; it's discouraging to find myself back at Square Five (on the bright side it's not Square One) when I thought I was done. Thank goodness for crit. partners to spur us on. Amen to that and happy writing!

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  11. Wow, this is an uber giant post of gracious awesomeness. Nice.

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  12. Tina--Thanks for enriching this place--community is only as great as its members! I am very excited about your Practice Room--it's awesome.

    Tess--I thought about going the one step forward, two steps back with this blog post--sometimes that is definitely how I feel. But I can't deny that this novel gets stronger with each revision. It just takes a while. And, Tess, you're so sweet saying when I sell this novel. I have to say that possibility feels further and further away the more time I spend in revision. Thanks!

    Marcy--I enjoyed your post. And thanks, we will get there--right?!

    Shannon--Glad I could add to your distraction factor today. :) It's so why I need to "unplug" to get any writing work done! Thanks for hanging out and clicking!

    Terry--I always get nervous before talking with crit partners--even though I always get so much out of the talk, and they always say many things that I agree with about my writing. And, yes, this crit partner is a keeper!

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  13. Kelly--Welcome! I agree, that it's a love-able process. As soon as I ended the call with my crit partner, I felt a world of ideas opening up in my mind--and as much as I dislike the thought of so much more work, I know that it will be good work. Good work. (Do I sound like I'm trying to convince myself??!!)

    Anna--Yes, best and worst. But I know that it will definitely be worth it in the end!

    Margaret--So glad to see you commenting--computer issues ironed out, I hope! I don't often pass on links, but this one seemed like something that a lot of people could benefit from!

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  14. Robert--Thanks for never letting me settle for anything less than best. I appreciate all your pushing and enthusiasm! Thanks!

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  15. Lori--hello! I'm so glad you got something out of this post. I so wish that I could hurry writing! And I've tried. It just doesn't work. I second your Amen for crit partners. And happy writing to you, too!

    Jon--I learned from the glitter master!

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  16. I totally get that feeling, too. The spark of inspiration when someone sees/points out how you can make it better and the subsequent sigh when you wrap your brain around how much work it's going to be.

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  17. I so agree that revision is a long road. I think I may be at the end of mine, but thought so after the last round of revisions, so we'll see.

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  18. So exciting when someone "gets" your writing enough to point out ways it can be even better. Very cool.

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  19. Laurel--I definitely want this book to be spectacular. I'm just tired of revising! :)

    Natalie--That's awesome--just what I needed to hear--you mean there is an end to all this??!!

    Kris--This crit partner is really awesome. I can't complain a bit!

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  20. You sound very confident about your novel's changes, so I'm sure they'll work out for the best. I'm discovering that making changes isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I hope you find the same thing with your revisions!

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  21. I loved this post. It describes exactly how I'm feeling with my MG manuscript right now. You put it all so well and I'm glad to know that other writer's feel like me.
    P.S. When are you going to let me pay you back for your wondering crit?

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  22. Anita--knowing what I need to do and figuring out how to do it are two separate things altogether! But, I don't have a problem making changes to strengthen the book. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    Elliah--how is the revision coming for you?? And, pretty soon, I hope I'll have something for you to crit!! (You're in the queue, definitely!!)

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