Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cut It Down

Like many of you, I struggle with cutting words, paragraphs, and sections from my books during the editing process. Which is really funny to me, because I was the girl in college who could barely meet the minimum page count. And as an English major, I had a LOT of papers to write. I hardly ever had too much to say.

But apparently, once I dive into fiction, I can't shut up. When I first set out to write my first novel, I was so afraid it wouldn't be long enough. But I just powered on, one word at a time, and hoped for the best. Well that manuscript currently stands at 107,000 words. So yeah, brevity is no longer a fear.

While I still don't censor myself when writing the first draft of a novel, I know as I slosh through the edits, I need to tighten things up. It helps with pacing and makes the whole thing better to read. But it's still hard to cut. These are my words. Ones I slaved over, stringing together in just the right way. It's hard to cut them out, knowing no one will get to read them.

I struggled with one such paragraph this weekend. It wasn't needed in the story, and I desperately had to find places to cut. The scene read cleaner without it. But I liked the writing. After hemming and hawing a bit, I cut it. It's easier when I tried to think of the manuscript as its own entity, not a part of me. I need to look at it critically and do what's best for the story, no matter how much I love the words.

This is the paragraph {along with 1000 words}:

            "I fumbled around for my keys, hyper-aware of everything around us. The whizz of the cars on the distant highway that could only be heard late at night when the noise of daytime life had long since drifted away. The breeze that hit my face, growing a few degrees cooler each night as summer slowly faded into fall. The florescent light above my door that cast shadows across Drew’s face, making his green eyes pop. Everything about this moment seared itself deep into my memory."

Ultimately the story is better without it. So while it's tough to figure out what to take out, it all works much better in the end. What about you? Do you struggle with cutting?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Straddling the Line

When I wrote my first novel, I worked on it completely until it was finished. The same happened with my second. I had started a third, but put that aside completely when I started book four, which we are hoping will be my debut novel.

The process of that book has been very different than the rest. I finished the first draft in nine weeks and then it took me three more to polish it up before I sent it to my agent. For the past few months, she and I have been passing it back and forth, making tweaks and changes.

But with all these stories in my head fighting to get out, I can't just sit back and not do anything. So the times my agent is reading/editing, I've been working on what I guess is book five. {I would give you all the titles of these books to make it a little easier to follow, but I change them at least three times on each book, so how knows what they'll eventually be called.}

Anyway, the difference with the process of number five is that just as I get into the groove of writing it, I get changes back form my agent for number four. So I put down one, and pick up the other. Same happens again when I send the changes back again. A little confusing? Absolutely. It is a struggle to jump back and forth between the two very different worlds in each of the books. I have to remember which characters and story plots are in each one. It's a struggle to balance two projects at once.

So my question for you. Do you work on one project exclusively at a time? Or do you bounce back and forth when you have the time? And how do you make that switch without constantly messing up your hero's name?

Now if you'll excuse me, I put down five this morning and am {hopefully} doing the last edits on four before it goes out for submission!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Back Again

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on? I know, I know, I've become one of those bloggers that completely forgets to actually post anything. I knew I was behind, but couldn't believe when I signed on this week and noticed I hadn't blogged since March. Whoops.

I could tell you that my absence is because I've been busying with my wife and mom duties, and all my free time is spend either running or working on my novels. And all those things are true. But honestly, I completely forgot about this space for a while. But I will be rectifying that now.

I've had a lot of people reach out to me about my writing career and how it is progressing, and this is the best way to update everyone at once. Plus, I'd love to have a record of this experience, because it is an experience unlike anything else. And I am loving every moment. Even the tough ones.

My last post was about finally finding an agent. Working with Sarah has been amazing and exceeded my expectations. Now, where are we now? Currently editing my manuscript back and forth. It is the third full novel I have written. The other two are not forgotten, but this one is the one we believe will be the best for me as a debut author. Sarah and I have been working on polishing it to as close to perfect as it can get. I love how all the edits she sends me challenges me to be a better writer and look at my story in a new way. These characters are like my friends, and I really want to honor their story and tell it the best way I can.

Once that is all done, is when we will try and sell it to publishers. I'm not quite sure how that will all go, but I'm excited to see what happens! Every step is one step closer to being a published author.

In the meantime, I'm working on another women's fiction novel. I'm only about 30,000 words in, but have fallen in love with the characters and their story. It's funny, because when I finished my first book, I wasn't sure if it was a one-time thing, or something I could make a career out of. And now I can't stop writing! haha. Apparently I have lots of stories in my head, fighting to get out. It's something I hope never stops.

So that's where I'm at right now. Hoping to pop in here once a week to keep you all updated. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!

And always remember. Write boldly and out in the open! Share the stories in your head. There is someone out there that wants to read them.