Monday, May 3, 2010

Keep It Simple Silly

Before I head into the ring again to wrestle my WIP in revision into shape, I had to have a meeting with myself to determine just how nuts I'd go with my wrestling technique. I've been banging this WIP's plot hard, punching holes into the plot, taping wounds in the words and sending out 911 distress calls for medical intervention via contests, workshops, brainstorming, and CP/beta reader feedback.

The WIP lies on the desk, a pile of 250 printed out pages in a crooked, yet ordered 1-250, jumble. On top of it I've stacked the current short story sketch, two newspapers with articles about tornadoes, contest feedback with useful and constructive criticism and the original GMC charts I planned a year ago.

In front of me, on the wall above my laptop and desk, are about a dozen Post-it notes with little jottings about the book. They include tidbits about ongoing word counts, reminders about what I want to read and do for my writing, a workshop class list that I am moderating (in HOT pink), the Twelve Stages of Intimacy, a few agencies I plan to query (in BLUE -- no reason why) and my RWA membership number. I also have another workshop's lessons about achieving believable romantic resolution taped to the wall.

Surrounding my desk, on the walls and door of my closet and in my bookshelves are my 3rd Revision's story poster board with notes on it in ball point to show the new changes I plan to implement, other craft books, mounds of paper ready for the printer and my collage that I created while brainstorming the first draft of this book (over a year ago!).

In my computer, under the book's title, I have a bunch of files containing all the drafts, in WORD and SCRIVENER. I have my contest results (the ones that are helpful), my CP's comments, and my character interviews.

Sigh. The visual clutter is making my mind rebel.

Here are the results of the meeting with myself:

1) I'm not ready to straighten out this mess within my mind. Oh, I've got dozens of ideas and my story is semi plotted again. But I'm not ready to plow into the pile of papers on my desk and make it all work.

2) I will be ready to straighten out this mess by the end of the week. My butt is in the fire. I entered the MAGGIE with this story. I have to find a way to carve out 30 decent pages of writing and a new synopsis reflecting my story's evolving plot. I've got to do it by June 1.

3) I've determined that this is my final lob of the revision ball. After I enter the MAGGIE with what I put together, I will focus and keep on revising till the end of June.

4) During the first part of July, I'm pulling together my pitch for Nationals and the M&M Conference.

5) But will I continue to revise this book after July 1? Yes, but only AFTER I GET A REQUEST. If I don't get a request, what is the point? I need to take what I've learned and apply it to the next book.

6) It's time to Keep It Simple Silly. It's time to focus on what I can fix, not worry about rewriting the entire plot again, and toss the book out there to see if there is any interest in it by people who will represent me or pay me to fix it.

If I stay mired in this book, I'll be writing four books and only have one to show for it. Not going to work. Not anymore. I got to finish it to the best of my ability, but I don't have to keep reinventing the wheel. This summer I need to move on so I can write the book that MIGHT be the one that gets my foot in the door.

I'm keeping it simple so I can free myself for the next idea and the next book.


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Sounds like you've got a lot going on. On your desk and in your mind. I can certainly relate and I hope you get all the writing done that you want this summer.
~ Wendy

T. Anne said...

When I keep things organized I feel SO much better!

Wendy Marcus said...

If your book writing is anything like your blog posting I can't imagine why you're not published. I love your blog and I love how you started today's post. It's interesting hearing about meetings that go on in other people's heads. So I'm not nuts after all!!!

Christine said...

Wendy P Miller: I think writers in general have a lot going on in their minds. I plan to accomplish a lot, but I also know that writing means being flexible in the winds of life. I consider every break, anticipated or not, as a gift to reevaluate mentally the works I am plodding ahead on.

Good luck with your writing, too!

Christine said...

T. Anne, I feel a lot better when I put my mental and actual house in order. Then my mind is free to create. We have company till tomorrow. After they leave, I'll be cleaning and reorganizing my life.

And I'll be writing, too! Can't wait to work through the stack on my desk :-)

Christine said...

Thanks Wendy M. for the lovely compliment. I appreciate it. I hope my book writing will be published one day, but we all know how persnickety this business is so in the meantime, I just write and query and hope and dream. One day I believe all the perseverence and hard work will pay off!

The article you shared from FORBES said it best: hard work and determination override talent when it comes to success in any endeavor.

Potential without perseverence leads to nowhere fast.

I plan to be somewhere -- where? Who knows? But the journey is amazing and the companions I meet along the way are the best I've had the pleasure and privilege of knowing.

Angie Paxton said...

Whoosh, that's a lot to wade through. Good luck. Remember slow and steady wins the race.

Piedmont Writer said...

It's good that you know what you're doing and where you're going. I hear you completely. I've got, probably 7 major projects in various stages, but until I hear from the agent with my partial, I can't move on. I don't want to bust my butt to finish my women's fiction if the historical romance comes through. Why waste time? I'll have to write another.

Christine said...

Hi Angie:I know it is a lot to go through and I've hauled out a shovel three times with this current pile of junk. But I believe I'll get it done--maybe not perfect and maybe not "right," but for now "good enough" will have to do until I hear the magic words: "we want your book, send the full."

Christine said...

Hi Piedmont Writer: Exactly! I feel like I have to be productive, but smart about the whole process if I am going to get ahead and have something to sell.

Good luck with your agent and the book request :-)

Gwen Hernandez said...

Yep. Exactly what I'm doing. Good luck!

Ellen Brickley said...

Christine, sounds like you're really in the trenches! I hope this round of revisions goes well and best of luck in the MAGGIES!

Martha W. said...

Lots and lots to think about, that's for sure. You can do it though. And I am so going to be there cheering you on for the Maggies! :)

KISS is one of my favorite lines. Right along with your BICHOK.

You'll get it. I have faith!

Christine said...

Gwen: you'll get it done. I believe by shifting our focus to what has to be done instead of trying to reinvent the wheel a billion times is the way to go ;-)

Christine said...

Ellen: I'll be hitting the trenches hard in a day. I have had company from Canada for seven days now. They head home today. Tomorrow I will be hitting it hard and hacking away on the laptop.

I hope your writing is going well. :-)

Jody Hedlund said...

Wonderful plan, Christine. Even if your book IS well-written, it might not be the story that editors are currently looking for. In that case you've place all your hopes on the one. I really think writers need to give the self-editing a very good go-at, then move on to the next book. It gives us more chances of breaking in.

Christine said...

Hi Jody: I agree. It took me a while to understand that moving on is not the same as quitting. It's just moving on. I have an end game in sight. I am also heading into this revision very slowly as I wait for feedback about the story sketch. Usually I jump head first into the pool, but this time I'm tip toeing back into the water cause I want to make sure that when I start swimming, I can breath and support my story!

Sigh--Got to have another story on the go.

Anonymous said...

This article is a great help to me! Thank you!