Sunday, June 19, 2011

Editing: What's the Worst That Could Happen?

It's been awhile. I've totally stalled on this blog over the last month, namely because I've been trying to balance moving into a new house (!!!) with doing a first-pass edit on this WIP (!!!) and something had to go on the back burner.  Most nights, I'd type some words, stumble into bed, and pass out. No time to do a rehash of the day's writing work. Or, as I've learned to say, I didn't make it a priority.

The triumph? I continued to work on the project nearly every day. (In addition to feeding my children, keeping the house clean, hosting a few little parties, etc. of course.) It's a bonafide first draft now, with, I think it's safe to say, all of the plot points solidly in place, and all characters where they're supposed to be. That is, until the second edit.

Most of the work I've been doing over the past month or so since I've posted has involved making things very, very bad for my characters. I had a decent story before I read this incredible, inspirational blog post by Natalie Whipple, but it had such a big influence on me that I started asking myself at every turn of the story - "This is a bad situation for my characters, but could it be any worse?" If the answer was "yes," then I made that worse thing happen. I think the story is a lot more compelling now. So, thanks, Natalie. (I have a girl/writer/mom crush on you and I wish we were besties.)

So here's a rundown of where I stand, writing-wise. I have 36 chapters and the draft is hovering right around 76,000 words, or about 300 pages. My main worries are that I've written a Mary Sue that everyone will hate, that the story sags in the middle, and that some things about the writing make this a non-page-turner (one being that I use third person tense, which is not that popular for YA right now.) I'm working under a quasi-deadline to have a draft manuscript to someone in the next couple weeks or so.

Here's where I stand, future-wise. I feel like I've invested too much time and energy - almost seven months of writing every day - to just store this baby in my drawer. I have a contact who is high up in the food chain of a small, up-and-coming publisher, and he's requested a full manuscript just as soon as I'm ready to let it out into the world. The sooner the better, he says. I told him I'd have it to him two and a half weeks ago.

I'm pretty sure the writing sucks. I'm pretty sure some characters are flat. I'm pretty sure it's not an intriguing story. Which is all a way of saying: I'm pretty sure he's not going to want it. (I'm not one for self-promotion, can you tell?)

Then, I'm at a crossroads. I could just sock it in a drawer and fondly remember the seven months that Nik and Davis were my constant companions, and congratulate myself on writing a story/book/whatever when most people only dream of getting that many coherent words all together at once. I could shop it out to small publishers or even agents, which I understand takes even more time and energy and a lot of stress. Or I could self-publish it in e-format and feel like it's out in the world. If you have your own Amazon page with a book with your name on it, maybe that's some small kind of accomplishment, even if you're ranked 118,487 in Kindle rankings. Or maybe I put it up there on Amazon for free and let any good reviews make me feel happy and accomplished.

I'd love to hear what you'd do next.

Time for stats:
Edited: 10 chapters in the past week (!) Yeah, I love this part.
Listening to: "Happiness" by the Fray. A hauntingly beautiful song about the elusive and stunning nature of happiness.
Obsessed with: Cilantro.

(If anyone is still reading this, thanks. Love you to pieces.)

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