Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hi, My Name is Michelle and I'm a Rewriter

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Back to our regularly scheduled post:



(comic by Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com - awesome site, click the comic to check it out!!!)

Quote of the Day:
I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.
~James Michener

I love this quote. It is sooo how I'm feeling about myself lately. And it's good to know I'm not the only one who feels this way. For some reason, when I sat down to write my current novel, I thought I'd nail, right up front. I spent so much time on my first novel, learning the ropes, all the tricks of the trade, that I figured I knew everything. I'd sit down, let the words flow, edit once or twice for the few minor tweaks the book would need, and that would be that. Perfection!

Okay, I wasn't that cocky about it. But really, I did think this book would be much easier, with fewer mistakes. Well, guess what? :D Yeah....boy was I wrong.

Now, I wasn't making the same mistakes, so that is good. Nope, this time I was making all new mistakes. A lot of them :) Of course, I am writing in a new genre (I changed from historical romance to YA paranormal - a huge shift). I'm also writing in first person for the first time.

The learning curve is just a bit more curvy than I expected :)

However, I am doing much better on the rewrites this time. Instead of rushing through them, I am actually taking my time, going slow, taking into account all of my critiques, changing and revising things, then going back over it again and again to make sure I'm getting all the elements in there I need in there. And I'm learning from my mistakes already. Woohoo!!!

As my crit buddies are going through my manuscript, a chapter or so at a time, I am learning from the mistakes they are pointing out, and actually fixing some of the mistakes I make regularly before I post my chapters for review.

Most especially, my poor little MC is as flat as a pancake most of the time...when she's not all over the map with her emotions. So, I am working on making her consistent, giving her back the personality I edited out on my first run through.

And you know what? I think it might be working. Yes, it has taken me a couple months of revisions and it will probably take me at least another month before I finish. But I spent two YEARS revising my first book, off and on. So three months for writing and 3 for edits on this new book really isn't so bad in comparison.

I have finally started to learn that writing a novel TAKES TIME. Whether I want it to or not. Rushing it is not doing anyone or anything (especially my poor book) any good. Once I got that through my ridiculously thick skull, it wasn't so painful to sit down and go through my book, sentence by sentence, to make sure it was right.

If I can keep this up, I may just save myself a year or two of revisions :) I just needed to learn that it's okay that I don't get the manuscript perfect with the first, or even the second, or third, or fifth, or tenth draft. It doesn't matter how long it takes me to get it right. As long as I keep at it. :)

21 comments:

Don said...

Two years worth of rewrites? Yeah, that sounds familiar. Hopefully I've also done that learning curve thing well enough to shorten things up on the next book.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

'The learning curve is a bit more curvy.' Ha! You are hilarious and sure got it right. Time is the thing that gets me--I'm impatient and fear running out of it but that doesn't help a person to focus.

Scott said...

My name is Scott . . . and I'm a rewriter.

I think part of the writing process is . . . well, rewriting. Often, what I originally thought was shining brilliance, turns out to be a bit tarnished during the read through. So, I get out my handy-dandy microfiber cloth and begin to scrub away at the tarnish. Sigh!

At least you know you're not alone out there!

S

Michelle Gregory said...

my name is Michelle and i'm a rewriter, too. i hear you on that wishing the first draft didn't need so much work and slowing down to write the subsequent drafts. i love first drafting but i really don't like editing.

beth said...

I do find myself going quicker than before.

Although, actually, I'm spending more and more time in edits than in writing than before.

Last novel took me about 8 mons to write, but only 1 month to edit. (As you can guess, editing wasn't done well)

This novel took me 6 mons to write (improvement!) but nearly 4 to edit. So the overall time isn't different, but how I'm spending that time is.

L. T. Host said...

I'm on my fifth or sixth round of full-length edits. That's not counting individual section edits I do on the fly.

I'm a serial editor, I'm afraid.

Bane of Anubis said...

We all so crazy.

Michelle McLean said...

:D Always nice to discover I'm not alone in my nutty tendencies ;-D

Suzanne said...

I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I vomit out perfection. As do all of us. ;) ;) ;)

Michelle McLean said...

Ha!!! ROFL OMG you are too hilarious :D

ElanaJ said...

So true! Keep going, Michelle. :)

Lost Wanderer said...

Ah the delusions of experience! Yes, I have thought too that after first book, second would be a piece of cake. With every new draft, I try something new, so I am still trying to figure out my best method.

Eric said...

Great post. I do like your "the learning curve is a bit more curvy" line. You should patent that. I'm a re-writer. My only problem is getting to the end before going back to DO the rewrites. I usually can't wait that long lol.

Dawn VanderMeer said...

I totally relate. Maybe it's good we don't know the time involved when we start on our novel writing quests! ;) Another great post.

storyqueen said...

I have to agree about the time things....but I do wish I was faster at the rewrite thing. But when I rush, it's just not that good.

Shelley

Michelle McLean said...

Yep, I'm learning to get a handle on my rushing tendencies. Usually, I finish the book and want to query it after one rewrite. In my grand vision, this book would already be making the publisher rounds LOL Instead, I'm only a quarter of the way through edits. But it is soooo much better than when I started :)

christine said...

The hardest part of writing really isn't the initial draft, in my opinion - it's the rewriting...and rewriting...and rewriting. But is such a necessary part!

Laura Martone said...

I so needed to hear this today, Michelle. Thanks!

I am unagented, and my first novel is currently with beta readers. The critiques have slowly been coming in all summer - and they each confirm my worst fears - that the book is too long, too wordy, too detailed, and far from being finished. So, as I continue to delay the revision process (ironically, out of fear that it will never be done), I appreciate posts like these - which remind me that other writers (even agented ones) are going through the same darn thing. Cheers! :-)

Lady Glamis said...

We certainly cannot rush the writing process. Some are faster than others. I'm a rewriter, too, don't worry. Maybe it has to do with the name Michelle.

;)

Rebecca Knight said...

Oh NOES! You mean my new novel won't be perfect after the first draft, EITHER??

At least now I can mentally prepare ;)!

Michelle McLean said...

Yep, I know, shocker huh. *sigh* Well, it's best to prepare for the inevitable ;-D