Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cutting and Pasting

My manuscript, upwards of 80,000 words, was a decent first draft.  It was a full story with complex, mostly well-defined characters, and a plot with only a few holes.

I've been working on my revision for a few months, though it's really picked up momentum the past few weeks.  This is for a multitude of reasons.  My progress had slowed because, I think, I began to equate the completion of a first draft as some kind of accomplishment.  It didn't matter that it was flawed, that it wasn't published.   The bound manuscript sat on my desk like a trophy.  I was going for a promotion at the library, and so I focused on the possibility of a shorter commute and increased responsibilities, not on my "side project."

But I didn't get the job.  It was a disappointment, but also a relief.  I like my current location and my coworkers.  As an introvert, it takes me a long time to become comfortable somewhere, and I'm finally comfortable where I am.  It was a disappointment, a relief, and a kick in the pants telling me, You've got to DO the things you want to DO!  I want to write, so I must write.  It's as simple as that.  If I'm not going to fix my manuscript, then I need to start something new; and I'm not ready to dismiss this story and these characters I've nurtured for over the past two years!

Second, I gave my full manuscript to six beta readers: My mom, my fiancé, my best friend, an English professor (and good friend), a former coworker/friend/writer, and my friend/writing partner.  Each provided me with different kinds of feedback that's been invaluable as I move forward.  I'm going back through the manuscript, starting on page 1, and making some of their suggested changes.  This involves adding and removing commas, finding synonyms for words I had unintentionally repeated, and restructuring the timeline.  Most of this I can do on the computer, with two documents open.  I edit as I go, then paste the fixed sections into a new document.  But sometimes there just isn't enough room on the computer screen.

Hence, sitting on the floor, tearing pages out of the spiral-bound manuscript, cutting my precious sentences, rearranging them, and taping them back together.  Anyway, I'm about 1/3 of the way through my editing process.  I hope to be finished by the end of 2012... Wish me luck!  If I'm not posting here, it's because I'm working to achieve that goal.

No comments: