Wednesday, June 2, 2021

June Insecure Writers Support Group

June 2 question - For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!


I am going to "sort of" answer this prompt.

I am currently revising the fourthish first draft of my first novel. If that statement is not confusing you, then you are doing better than me.

I finished the latest first draft at the beginning of March (I think). In March, I printed my scene outline and started making notes based on what I wanted to add/change. April, I made some insane life choices, like signing up for the A to Z Challenge and getting my lifeguard certification, while still working overtime every week at my day job, preparing my daughter for her first dance recital, and receiving my parents for a visit. (Oh, and homeschooling my son.)

Now May is over and I am halfway through the first set of revisions. Unfortunately, I find myself stuck. I made a lot of useful notes, I am working scene by scene to make those characters grow and reveal the right details at the right time, but I have literally lost myself as a reader. I really want to put this whole project away and start on one of a dozen other ideas I have, but I fear this makes me a quitter.

I tried reading more for inspiration, but it was not as useful as I remembered. I see the arcs clearly in other novels, I follow character growth, think about weaknesses and quirks, and watch the morals clash. But for some reason, I am not satisfied with my own versions. In addition to this, I have realized one more thing I hate about my draft. Since learning to self-edit my published short story I have been very careful with my overused words and my phrasing. But now I am realizing the draft is dry. It has no voice and feels too clean.

Technically, I should not be worried about this yet. I have a few ideas for solving that issue when the time comes, including putting back a POV I removed several months back. For now, I will focus on my main character and how readers will relate to her as the story unfolds. 

I would like to hope this process will be quicker next time, but I have a feeling several of you just laughed at the first half of this sentence.

13 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    ...so does this mean you are editing as you go? Maybe, forget about all that until you have a completed draft? Just get the story down THEN think about editing. I say this because it is a bad habit of mine too! It really stymies progress and one starts second-guessing... I have two 'novels' (for want of better description) on the back burner since two years for similar reasons to what you describe above. That's a good break. Time to look them over again? (So yes, maybe give yourself space from this one and complete something else that flows, and see if it kickstarts this one.) YAM xx

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  2. You got a lot going on.
    Maybe a couple critique partners will help you spot exactly what needs to be changed?

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  3. Putting a draft away and working on something else doesn't make you a quitter, it makes you a writer. I think your idea of focusing on the MCs story is good. That will streamline the process for you. Good luck!

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  4. I love your last sentence. Sounds like you’re worrying a lot about what could be, without getting down what is for now? Some people say that giving a bit of space helps. Maybe those other projects will free up some inspiration!

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  5. I'm with you, Steph, it's hard to know where to begin. I looked on Youtube under editing your manuscript. I found some excellent videos.

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  6. Putting it aside for awhile might be a good thing. Also, sometimes some things just don't work out. I'm not saying that's the case for you, but there have been a couple of times I've gotten tens of thousands of words into a manuscript, realized it's not working, and then put it away, never to be touched again. It happens. I just chalk it up to learning and practice.

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  7. Have you read Story Genuis by Lisa Crohn? It's one of the best books I've ever read on character arc. It sort of gives you a step by step on how to flesh that out for your characters.
    It sounds like you're getting overwhelmed. I wouldn't worry about word choice or repetition at this point. Just focus on the big picture things.

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  8. Oh wow, I can really relate to this- "hey this plot is dragging, how about I switch to one of the other nineteen things I have going on?" I am sticking with it mainly due to stubbornness, but I am not sure that is something I should recommend.

    I think it's a great idea to take some time focusing on the main character and how people relate to her. Good luck!

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  9. You're doing so much, my head spins just reading it. My suggestion would be to step away from your current writing project for a few months and work on something else. It's not quitting. You need a distance of time to see your story with fresh eyes.

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  10. Stepping away is always a good idea. Then you do see things from a new perspective. That said, I find it hard to imagine I can't improve my writing.

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  11. Wow! You have a lot going on, Steph! Maybe taking a breather for a week or so would be good. I learned a whole lot through editing my short story for the anthology last year, starting with POV. Chagrin!!! I did laugh, but in the spirit of commiseration. btw, I totally get "fourthish first draft of my first novel." LOL Good luck with your writing progress. Everyone is unique, and I'm a big believer in whatever works.

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  12. I did work on revising my first project for 10 years and then stepped away to work on a new project. I can still go back to it someday, but I'm glad I started something new. Maybe you should too.

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