Friday, January 28, 2011

Take a step back.

I wish I had more facts today, but sadly, I don't. My daughter was sick most of the week, and since I live in the Arctic now, snow has made us house bound. Hopefully, I will get out today. I thought I could get some writing in, but, yeah, the monsters attacked.

Okay, so I squeezed in a tiny bit of time. WiP #1 is stubborn right now. The revision process is still pretty much at a halt. I'm not sure if I'm just not liking this certain part of the story or I'm not focusing enough. I've had several other ideas hit me, teasing me to write them. I've written some scenes and jotted down notes, even started outlines. But WiP#1 is what I want to finish. One revision, at least. I'm trying to even skip over to other chapters just to feel the MCs again. Argh.

Another issue is my constant need to revise as I write. Yes, you heard me. I think I'm over-analyzing or over -thinking as I go through it, instead of feeling it, like I normally do. I'm re-writing sections of WiP#1 and I keep going over each sentence as I write it. It's kinda frustrating and makes the process feel like it's taking a lifetime. See, that's the impatience talking.

Probably if I just get the right conditions to write, that will help. I get all panicky when this happens. It's the whole impatience thing. Maybe my stubborn competitive spirit. Maybe my flippin' determination. Maybe my insecurity. I also think when I over-think it, well, it just makes my mind a little mushy.

So what's my point. I know you are really confused right now. I'm not only an overwriter, I'm an overthinker. What is the cure to this lovely condition? Not sure. I did do something that might help.

I stepped back. Just like an artist stepping back from a canvas to see the whole picture, I stepped back from the problem chapters to look at the whole story. This made an incredible difference. I planned out how the rest of the revisions/re-writes should go. Since my story is from two POVs, this method is helping me see which MC should speaking in which chapters. I surprised myself at how far I still have to go. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn't wind up being a 500 page book. I also saw where I could go in a totally different direction to possibly make the whole thing shorter. I hear ya, stay on track finish this revision first. I know, I'm keeping my options open.

So, how do you get through problem chapters in revisions?

I wanted to mention a couple of posts I found interesting.

I get this newsletter from Holly Lisle. Here is the blurb on the class she is teaching which, funny enough, has to do with revisions and when you get stuck. The blurb gives you some great info.
This one on voice from Book Ends, LLC. It's short and to the point. Makes sense.

Two posts from Frankie- One on editing yourself, and a photo from Philly Lit Night.

This post from KM Walton --Great advice on what Kate wishes she knew before she queried.

For all the coolest links go to Stina. She's got them all.

This week, I'm trying to also cut down on my internet time. Facebook, twitter, blog. I need to focus. I will be posting just not commenting as much. Not that it's been much lately. So sorry. How this will work will be interesting.

Have a great weekend! Stay warm.


  1. Oh, sweets, you are after my own heart. You just captured exactly where I am, right now. I have material out, an agent has 'put me on hold'--didn't know they did that, I rewrote two chapters in an old YA wip (stopped because I got stuck), started a new MG wip two days ago and...yup, stuck again. *sigh* But I think I've decided what to do. I'll blog about it.

    Best of luck and take a breather. That's always good.

  2. I hate getting stuck in revisions! With problem chapters, I make lists to see all the different things I could do, but usually, I have to step away and do something else. That's when the ideas come! Good luck!

  3. Good luck with your revisions. This is where my critique group helps me.

  4. Thanks for all the links Christine! I heard about all the snow you guys got.

  5. Sorry about the monster babies being sick. Mine is fighting one off, but I sent her to school because I need her to go.

    Here's a trick for revisions that sometimes helps me. Start from the end. Revise the last chapter, then the second to the last, etc.etc. it sounds weird but it helped me realize what to cut from the middle and stabalize some plot lines. It also shifts your focus so you can see a little more clearly where you need to be or go.

    Have a great weekend.

  6. I'm an overwriter too. Better to have to edit stuff out than to have to write a lot more because there are so many gaps to bridge. And I have a JUNKYARD where I place sections and chapters that have been edited out. I can usually pick a part sometime down the road to 'plug and play" when I need it. My JUNKYARD has become very useful lately.

  7. i revise as i write. Not too much, but it makes for a much cleaner first draft and much less editing afterwards.

  8. I tend to edit as I go, but mostly small stuff.
    Take a step back, take a step forward, another step back, and now you're Cha-Cha'ing!

  9. I'm still in try-to-get-the-first-draft-done mode right now. I'll let you know in about 5 months how that revision thing works for me. ;)

    Good luck and stay warm, good lady!

  10. Stepping back and looking at the big picture is definitely a great way to start revising. If that still doesn't help, maybe take a complete break for a few days? That always helps clear my head.

  11. That's good that you stepped back from it. Sometime that's all we need to see the clear picture.

    I am an artist as well and that's what I do when I need to see if it's working. Writing is the same if you too close to it, it can get out of focus.

    I have that problem with my first novel. After my final edit on my current WIP, I plan to return to it and fix all the problems. I wrote my current WIP without looking at the first, so after a few months I will have a whole new view of things.

    Good luck, Christine .... I hope you daughter gets well right away.


  12. Until today, we were having a "heat" wave. Now we're heading back to the artic wave. :(

    Check out Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. It's awesome. I'm using it for my wip and am loving it. I've almost finished my second draft, which focused on characterization. Next up is plot. :)