Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Good Old Days – Still Good

Gone are the days when an author built up calluses on the fingers from pounding on a stiff, loud typewriter, having to replace the tape and tearing apart paper with those sandpaper like erasers (you remember those, the ones that were light blue, and had a small brush on the end).

Now most of us type everything on a little screen. If we need to erase something, there’s always the delete key. The keyboard is so light, we only have to worry about carpal tunnel syndrome or some other repetitive disorder.

When we need to rewrite something, all we have to do is open up the original document and cut, paste, move, remove, add and subtract.

Though it may kill our eyesight, we’re at least saving a few trees.

However, I’m more old-school when it comes to editing, especially if it’s a major edit.

I start from scratch, and type every word of my manuscript over again. For some reason, I see it more fresh that way, and I see things I would otherwise miss if I merely skimmed through my manuscript to address the problems I’m aware of.

One downside to that is the likelihood of additional misspellings and grammar errors. I’ll need at least two people read through it (my husband, poor guy who’s now on his second read, I will ask for a third) before I submit to an agent/publisher.

To keep ahead of my mid-August deadline, I need to write 11 pages tonight. Good thing I’m a fast typer, and can stay up until 11:30 without morning difficulties tomorrow. I should get it done.

Question for you: What is your process of rewriting?

To Thine Ownself Motivate

Even if it requires stooping to bribery.

My edits are going slower than I want. So, to motivate me I decided on a small bribe.

I need a new camera. Okay, I don’t really need it. I want a new camera, one that can zoom out more than my little Fuji Finepix, has a higher MP (mega-pixel), and more automatic and manual features.

I can’t buy it until I complete my edits, and it must be done prior to my birthday in August. That gives me two months. If I don’t make the deadline, no camera.

How’s that for motivation, eh? I’ll let you know if I make it.

A few weeks ago I finished Donald Maass’ "Writing the Breakout Novel." Excellent book. He gives excellent advice along with examples of recent (since the book’s publication in 2000) breakout novels. He shows what they each have in common, and I gotta admit, it’s fairly simple.

In theory. In practice it’s something else.

When I purchased the book, I also bought the companion workbook.

Here I ran into a snag.

In each chapter such as creating a multidimensional character and establishing inner conflict, we’re supposed to go through and change certain parts of our work in progress.

The snag came when I couldn’t find good examples to modify. It’s not that because my book is in dire need of so much help, but that it already had the well-rounded characters, oodles of inner conflict, and even parts where the character does something unexpected.

I decided the workbook needs to be shelved until I tackle a less-refined novel – one in it’s first or second draft.

The realization boosted me quite a bit. My novel doesn’t need as much work as I feared. I won’t claim it’s of breakout caliber, but I will certainly continue to work toward that goal, and dream it’s possible.

A question for you. When you lack motivation to complete a writing project, how do you push yourself to finish?