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Sunday, June 6, 2010

AFDOC 22: FINISHED

The first revision of many, many to come is finished! I feel like I gave birth to triplets this past week - exhausted, exhilirated, exposed. I guess the downtime I had last week was a subsconscious time of rest for the final push. Never have I been more determined to get something to its conclusion. But least I get caught with my rose-colored glasses growing to my face, I know the REAL work is just beginning - lots to cut, polish, add, and clarify - but I have 547 pages of novel with my name on it!!!!! No one - not the most evil editor in the world - can take that away. Remind me I wrote that last sentence when I'm mired in disillusionment a year from now trying to find an agent and a publisher.


I have taken many creative classes in the university setting, on-line, in small mentoring groups, etc. but absolutely nothing prepared me for the actual work. No teacher or class or group or whatever could possibly have shown me what I was too naive to learn. You have got to do it, and as Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace, taught in a workshop: once you finish writing your book, it's time to study writing in earnest and read as many how-to-write books as you can get your hands on. All the classes and notes and excercises come together after you've written the book. It finally begins to make sense.


Now, don't misunderstand me. You need to study the craft of writing, so you have a meaningful plot {mine came to me five years into the writing of the book which also happened to Faulkner, V. Wolfe, and R. P. Warren, so I'm in good company.} Add to that knowing POV, the King's English, grammar and punctuation, how to cast your characters, and so forth which are must knows before you start, or your revisions will take longer than writing the book. I recently read that S. King writes a 150 page or so outline before he starts a book, then just fills in the blanks. I wondered if he started that way. That would have been impossible for me this first go around.


I did some outlining, defined character traits for the main characters {thanks Tracy for a cheat sheet of an easy way to do that,} did an enormous amount of research on the fifties, and did a chronological outline since I knew the story would cover one year, but otherwise I followed my Writing Angel and wrote what she told me and always {well almost} always in Caroline's voice. That's pronounced Caro - line (as in a line of diagolue), and I wrote some days like a madwoman {cj's term.} I'm pretty sure I've graduated from Tinker Toys to an Erector Set.


So right now I'm feeling cocky on the outside and a little squeamish on the inside, but I know, absolutely know, I can do this.

Now, if someone will publish it. Have a producive week writing. Mahala

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on finishing the first revision! I love your comments on how much you learn about writing in the actual doing of it. So true, so true.

    Good luck on the next rewrite. I know you can do it, too!

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