Monday, January 24, 2011

Writerly Revelation #1

Writing Revelation #1:

Your first draft is only the BEGINNING.

Sure, it sounds simple.  We all know that, right?  Writing 101.

BUT, if you're like me, this becomes your mantra, something to repeat to yourself whenever doubt sets in or you want to do something you already know is insane.

A few things I've learned along the way that I constantly remind myself of:

DO: Send your work to trusted Critique Partners and Beta Readers.
DON'T: Do this just once and consider your manuscript "clean".

DO: Take a break after that first draft.
DON'T: Proceed to query the entire literary world just to "see if there's interest".

DO: Start to research literary agents and where your work will fit.
DON'T: Find the perfect agent and query because you KNOW he/she is perfect and will love you and your manuscript regardless of where it is in the process of revision.

DO: Print out pages when you edit.
Things often look different on paper than on a computer screen and it gives you a fresh perspective.
DON'T: Be too hard on yourself.
We've all had "those" moments. You know the ones I'm talking about.  The ones where you swear what you just wrote is total gold and is revised to the extent of perfection, only to find out days later, it sucks more than anything else you've ever written and you have no idea what you were thinking.  It's okay, I'm pretty sure this is normal. It's normal, right?  Right?

DO: Enjoy taking the time making it right.
Revisions and edits take time and it's easy to see them as a burden. Perspective is key. Enjoy making your work the best you can and have fun with it. It will show in your work.
DON'T: Constantly tell the world how much you hate revising/editing.
Okay, really, I just needed a don't to list.  I have to be honest, some of the blog posts people write on how miserable editing is are some of my favorites.  We have a bond and we need to share our trials and tribulations. Or, so I think.  Just don't overdo it, you never know who else may be reading.

AND LASTLY, I think this bears repeating.

DO: Wait until you've beaten your ENTIRE manuscript into sparkly gloriousness BEFORE querying.
This one is hard.  REALLY hard. Trust me.
DON'T: Query anyway and give up when you get rejections.
I'm pretty sure most authors have queried a project too early. (Um, guilty!)
The difference is how you handle it.  Beleive in your work, don't give up, and just take it as a sign that it's time to get down to business.  NEVER give up. Did you hear that?  Never. Ever.

Sidenote: We're each on a different timeline as to the lessons we've learned, what we've written, and what we've come away with. So why not share?  Writing Revelations is my new Monday installment that chronicles my journey up to this point with writing. I've learned SO MUCH since starting to take it more sersoiusly.  Bloggers and this community of writers has been invaluable.  Yet, I still learn something new each and every day. It's one of the magical things about life. There's always something new around the corner. Embrace the lessons that come.


8 comments:

  1. Yep, I've been guilty of querying too early because my (former) crit group didn't tell me it wasn't ready. The last person who read it made some small edits and that was it. It was all the rejections that told me a different story.

    I've never understood the people who hate editing and revising. Since you're going to be doing that for the majority of your time, if you hate it so much, why bother? It's my favorite part of the process. And I'm happy to take my time doing it. :)

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  2. I also actually enjoy editing and revising. To me, the first draft seems the hardest - DRAGGING EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR HEAD ONTO THE PAGE. Then the fun begins (sort of!). It's all there already, so now you get to DECORATE IT :-)

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  3. I enjoy ALL processes of writing (except for maybe writing the query and synopsis - who likes those?). I like the new story and getting it on paper. I like going back and enhancing the story (i.e. adding description or emotion), or discovering a place where I could add conflict. It's all great!

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  4. I love your first revelation - your first draft is only the beginning - that is so very true. I'm on my 2nd draft and I realise its a long process now, I could sometime. ;)

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  5. Love this idea, Kristi. And you've got such a good start here. I can't think of anything to add at this particular moment.
    Karen

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  6. Great points here. I'm glad I haven't queried anything yet because I know I've never quite been ready and I don't think I could have handled the rejections yet. I need to put my armor on first! :)

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  7. I love this! Everything you said is so right. I often am too hard on myself during the first draft mode, when really, it's a first draft. There will always be many more to come! I just have to remind myself of that. If it's not perfect in the beginning, it's okay. :)

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  8. What's really gratifying is realizing that I've learned most of these lessons already. Now I'm hoping I can actually put them to good use. :)

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