Jul. 16th, 2012 12:12 am
tamela_j: (Want to be a Writer)
I am so lucky that I don’t depend on my ability to blog to sustain my livelihood or anything. I’d be screwed.

Well, maybe not, as seeing as how most of the reasons I don’t get to it more often is because I’m doing other things that take care of the pesky bills and the whole roof over the head and food in the belly thing. Could you imagine if blogging or, better yet, writing did all those things. *drifts off*

I’m sorry, where was I? Oh yeah.

Novel Updates )

Oh wait, one last thing not having anything to do with the novel. I just want to apologize once again for any of you following me on Twitter. I got hacked and it was of course the one weekend I was away from the internet and there was nothing I could do. It’s all fixed now if you’d rightfully fled during that time and would like to add me back @tamela_j I promise to be just as ridiculous and off topic as ever! :)) Also, if you’re looking for a less spammy Tamela, then by all means, Facebook like me, or whatever that’s called!
tamela_j: (Commas Save Lives)
“Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. It is one of the hardest things to accept." Michael Crichton

Got my first round of edits. \o/

I’m not going to lie. They were painful to look at. So many stupid mistakes, so many embarrassing typos and repetitions, so many major rewrites to do and so very many plot holes needing to be filled.

I sort of want to send flowers to my editor as an apology for having to trudge through it--is that allowed? Also, more importantly, for taking this book on despite all of that; for seeing what it could be through all the tremendous amount of shit and for trusting me to getting it there.

Believe me, these were not my first thoughts. My first thoughts were pretty much to burrow down in the fetal position in the deepest, darkest hole and never, ever see the light of day again. Thankfully, after three days, that melodrama passed. Instead, I came up with a plan.

I found that the blinding panic every time I looked at it was due to the LARGE picture of everything that needed work and how impossible it seemed and how was I even allowed to operate a pen and paper? So, I decided to break it up into manageable, and hopefully less terrifying pieces.

”People who go on to be writers are those who can forgive themselves the horror of the first draft.” Alain de Botton

My first run through--which I’m almost done with--was simple to tackle the typos, spelling mistakes, grammar and repetitions. It’s a mostly mindless task that involves a lot of “Accept and Move to Next” over and over. The main goal of this stage (besides the obvious of cleaning up the text) was to relax me and give me time to contemplate the larger issues. It has also given me time to tone down the self-loathing. I can happily report that it was a complete success. I have even stopped adding “Dumbass” to all of the notes. Such as, “Commas don’t work that way, dumbass” or, “Hey dumbass, people don’t ‘smile the smile’ or ‘laugh the laugh’ they smile and they laugh. STOP IT!”

My second run through will be devoted to dialogue. My editor kindly reminded me that I am neither John Steinbeck and William Faulkner and not EVERY single character needs to talk with ya’s and gonna’s. The third run through will be filling plot holes and dealing with timeline issues and then finally I will tie up loose ends and make sure it all still flows.

Then I will send it off, sigh a sigh of relief, maybe make a cocktail or three and wait for round two. *meep*

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time unlike, say, brain surgery." Robert Cormier
tamela_j: (Want to be a Writer)
Yep. Still feeling editing anxieties. Now though, they have manifested themselves in a deep and horrifying panic about characters and getting back to the place I will need to get to if I'm going to be spending time with them and tinkering with them to make them better. This is not a new fear for me, especially for this particular story.

Getting nostalgic for my characters and their beginnings, I pulled out the very first draft, what Chuck Wendig would call the zero draft as it was written during NaNoWriMo way back in 2004 (holy shit!). Anyway, I found this little note that I wrote to my characters even back then:

Okay Tim, Nomi I have to tell you something and you’re not going to like it. I’m starting to come to the realization that you might have picked the wrong person to tell your story. I’m sorry, but I might not have the talent to pull it off as great as it should be. I will do my best, as always, but I must prepare you for the realization that my best might not be good enough.

So, from the beginning I worried about treating them right, doing justice to this amazing story I feel sometimes that they gave me responsibility to tell.

No pressure guys!

And true, I’m not as artsy-fartsy as I used to be and don’t give the power to the characters that I’ve created and blame/give credit to an arbitrary “muse” for my inspiration or writer’s block anymore (or as much as I had in the past). But still, these characters are special. It took me a long time to create them that way and an even longer time to work out their issues, foibles and bad behaviors, you know, the things that make them human.

In 2004 these characters lived so vibrantly and richly in my mind and for years after I called them up regularly to add to their story, to finish it and then to edit it. Now though, it’s been a very long time since they’ve been prevalent in my head space. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to bring them back to the forefront where they need to be.

Part of me wants to go and start tinkering now, while I wait for the editor to get my manuscript back to me, but another part thinks that would be a really bad idea. What if my editor’s suggestions don’t work with the changes I make independently or I wind up wanting to tell a completely different story? That would be BAD.

Or, and this could be even worse. What if while re-reading, I like them less, what if there are fundamental things wrong with them that I hadn’t seen those years when I loved them so very much that they were a part of my every thought? OH GOD! OH GOD!

*deep breaths*

Great, now I’ve talked myself into being terrified of even reading the story again. Believe me, that was not the purpose of this post. Not even close. Let’s move on.

So, what should I do?


Read it in random chunks. This will familiarize myself with the characters and their mannerisms and characteristics without stressing me about the plot and setting and all those other pesky bits that are a freak out for another post.

Rely on what I remember. I haven’t forgotten them of course, the goal is to bring them from my ever present subconscious to my immediate consciousness. So, if I take what is always there and actively think on them again, that would be a good step. Easy to do too, so that’s a plus.

Fanfic this shit. Hey, I’ve done it with other people’s characters that I love for fun and to tinker with aspects of my writing, so why not do it to my own? Take them and put them in new situations, tell bits of what happened before or after the actual story. Missing scenes? Sure, the book is full of them. Or, OR, since I’m really into crossovers right now, hmmm, maybe Naomi gets a certain letter from a certain school of Witchcraft and Wizardry? ♥

And finally:

Freak out some more. This will, of course, be happening whether I want it to or not. Maybe though, I can keep it to a minimum? Let’s hope. In the meantime, what do you do to get back into a character’s head?
tamela_j: (Commas Save Lives)
As I sit here and patiently wait for my first round of edits to come back from my editor, I thought I'd ramble on a bit here about the editor-writer relationship. Anything to help swallow the mounting panic as I try and remember that the life of a small press editor is chaotic and their time is stretched among many projects, not just tearing apart my book. Hopefully this time will be used to bolster my confidence that it's all going to be brilliant and not that the editor is spending a huge amount of time trying to sort out all the ways in which I suck.

Breathe Tamela, breathe )



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