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Sunday, February 28, 2010

New and um... reserving opinion on the better

I'm not sure who to blame for this one.

I'll start with Rachelle Gardner. Very nice woman, great agent (or so my friends say), and one of the brightest minds in the business. She tweeted about this whole revision/plotting thing, so I thought, hmmm... I should check it out.

Enter Keli Gwyn's blog.

I realized that I know a lot of people who use this method of putting stuff on sticky notes and moving it around. They all swear by it. I have a behemoth of a book that needs editing so I can send it to my agent so he can send it to all sorts of lovely places.

Let's be honest here. After my last rejection, which I got pretty darn close to the day I finished this book, I've had a lot of doubts about my ability as a writer. This is not the place to argue with me on it or try to tell me I'm wonderful. That's not my point. My point is that I've been doubting. So this book has sat. Instead of getting it submitted, I've written two partials (and synopses), written and submitted some articles, and done just about everything I can to pretend I don't have this book waiting to be edited.

Keli's post inspired me. I thought that maybe if I tried something new, I'd get out of my rut, find confidence that I don't suck, edit this book, and SUBMIT!!!

As if God heard my plea for a sign, Office Max sent me a paper bag in the mail. Fifteen percent off anything that fits in the bag. So I went forth to the supplier of tools to get me to the Promised Land and bought a variety of colored post-it notes.

Today, I sat down with poster board, post-its, and the book that needs editing.

My dog took one look at the setup and went into hiding. How am I supposed to work without my muse? To be honest, I'm not sure I blame him. I wanted to hide, too.

Where on earth do you start? In the beginning. Right. I started to read the beginning of the book. Not a good idea after going to a conference and learning about great openings. Mine is... subpar. However, I fought the urge to edit and pressed on.

I'll be honest. I just started chapter four and I'm not liking this. Maybe it'll make more sense once I've gotten more done, but right now, it looks pretty ugly. And I'm not sure I have any better handle on this story and what I need to do to clean it up than I did before I started.

I thought about giving up, but I also realized that I haven't yet given it a fair shot. Of course, as soon as I put my post-its away, my dog came back. Maybe my dog is smarter than I am. I don't know. However, I will finish this bloody, gruesome task, and I will either have a better book or have just wasted a whole lotta time as a result.

Wish me luck!

(And if you happen to plot with post-its and like it, do share your success stories!)


Keli Gwyn said...

Danica, I wish you all the best as you work on your revisions. The process of analyzing our stories, identifying weakness, and charting a plan of attack can be daunting. Like you, I've found it can also trigger self-doubt. What I'm keeping in mind is Rachelle's comment that a major turning point for a writer is how s/he handles revisions. I'm determined to duke it out with doubt and take my story to a new level, and I plan to have as much fun as I can in the process. I hope you experience joy as you see your story go from great to stellar.

Denise Miller Holmes said...

It looks hard. I've seen this method before, but I haven't figured out exactly how to do it, even after reading explanations. I think I would need someone to SHOW me. But, every writer needs a system that clarifies the goal. Why is this scene important? What goals did it achieve for the story? Etc. You're a trooper for trying it. I hope it works for you!

Danica/Dream said...

Thanks Keli. I'm not sure I like this method yet, so I'm still playing to find what I like best.

Denise, I'm overwhelmed by it too right now.

Stephanie Newton said...

Hey girl,
I've done this before, once with great results and once with less than stellar results (i.e. the finished product still stunk). Now I still sticky note occasionally, but I do the quick and dirty version on the dining room table and use the method to see where there are holes in my manuscript.

Good luck!