Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taking a Step Back Can Actually be Helpful

So I admit it, I am one of those writers who loves to push as close as possible to the deadline and then crank out an awesome piece under pressure. And to be honest, most of the time the articles are better written, clearer and more concise when I write in this manner. When I think too hard about it or start writing weeks or days in advance it will take me twice as long and usually ends up longer than need be.

But I'm learning that when it comes to novel writing the exact opposite may be true. I started my first official attempt at a young adult novel in August 2008. At the time I had grand plans of having it in the hands of agents by December. I completed the first draft in September and sent it to a number of close friends to read through. They sent back their thoughts, I added parts, changed character names, deleted a few scenes and went through a long editing process. By January I was at a point I thought appropriate to send off. Then I sent it to my mom...

She liked the story but went into teacher mode and highlighted every point she was confused about, every grammatical error, every incomplete sentence. At that point I started reading what exactly is required to get an agent - and discouragement set in.

I set the book aside and didn't look at it for almost two months. Then my early readers started hounding me about getting it completed and sent out. Just the thought - The fear. The anxiety, The likely rejection.

But I picked the book up again last week, printed all 280 pages out and pulled out the red pen to begin edits. This being the third time I've done edits I figured it would be a quick process. Um, Nope. I thought I'd have nothing else to add. Wrong again.

Letting it sit while I focused on other things - like this blog, twitter, securing freelance gigs - might have been the best thing for the book. I've realized in the editing process there are certain words I overuse. I use forms of to be way too often. I hate cliches and yet they littered my pages. And one of my characters is a little one-dimensional. I'm trying to change all of that now.

Is it good enough to get published? I have no idea. Do I hope it is? Heck yes. Will I bite the bullet and finally send it out after this round of edits. Yup, it's getting to a point where I'm proud to say I penned this.

Despite my insecurities about this, I've learned that at least giving the book a little space has given me a fresher approach and an unbiased eye.

1 comment:

  1. Good advice. Sometimes the best way to improve your writing is "not writing".