Tag Archives: dear sugar

Getting closer, I think

This redrafting process is throwing up unexpected challenges that are taking me time to work my way toward a solution.

Challenge 1 – While others in the Refine Your Novel class seem able to fix portions, add scenes, ramp up tension in existing scenes and shuffle stuff around, my redrafting means starting from scratch. Writing the entire manuscript over. This didn’t take me too long to figure out, a couple of hours tops. Trying to fix an existing opening chapter is tough, writing a new one the way it should be written – hard but in a different way, slaughtered darlings and all that.

Challenge 2 – Rewriting is massive. The task befor me seems so huge, I keep finding other things to do than to get the job done. This is a biggie and something I’m still figuring out. I think I took¬†decent step today towards dealing with this one. I have been listening to the Writing Excuses podcast on my way to work (as well as The Moth and Dear Sugar Radio – get into those, ¬†they are awesome!) and a couple of phrases really rang true for me today.

Remember the fun – it’s not a chore, remember how fun it was to write the first time, it can be that fun again. Sounds obvious, but I’d been approaching the rewrite (because that is my means of redraft) as something I have to do, rather than something I want to do.

And quit looking at the end product, the task look huge from up here, but get up close and start telling the story. Start with chapter 1. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the enormity of writing this novel all over again, it’s a huge thing to write a manuscript. But I need to stop looking at the end point. Like eating an elephant – one bite at a time.

I emailed my tutor and said that the chapter and a half I’d rewritten felt like filler until the story starts, that maybe I needed to start with chapter 2. I figured that the act of asking this question also answered it, go with your instincts, start with chapter 2. So I started another rewrite, wrote 120 words and stalled (this was yesterday). Tonight I went back and reread the first rewrite, 3700 words. And you know what? It’s good. I really like it. I think the doubts were another manifestation of procrastination, of not doing the work.

So, I’m renewed, refocussed. 3,700 words down, about 70,000 to go. One bite at a time.

It’s research, no really!

Tonight I am bone tired from my late night writing session last night, so the fingers get a rest tonight, my characters are letting me have a rest. This means I get a chance to read instead.

Surely that counts as research?

A Ben10 story out of the way for the Little Man, and now to my reading.

Image from IMDB

I recently finished Exremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer. There must be myriad reviews of this all over the net. I loved it, the author made some brave choices in his manuscript and its presentation, images, text running over the top of itself, pages with three words on them. But it all works, it is powerful and a fabulous example of modern day story telling.

Of course it’s also out at the cinema at the moment. ‘ll wait for the DVD release but I’m interested in seeing how well this unique novel translates to the screen.

I just received a pre-release copy of Wildby Cheryl Strayed, the voice of the Dear Sugar column. I’m not sure whether I should start this or wait till my plane takes off for New Zealand on Monday night, I need to make sure I have a couple of good holiday reads. Chery Strayed as sugar is shockingly honest, open and humbling. I’m looking forward to her new novel/memoir.

I also want to read something from Toni Jordan as I’ll be taking part in a writing course with her shortly.

But I’m more than open to more holiday read suggestions. I usually need something a bit light and escapist while on holiday. Any ideas?