Thursday, October 21, 2010


Earlier this week I typed my two favorite words: The End.

It was better than wild monkey sex with chocolate sauce. After many tears of frustration, many hours of hard work , the third revision of my completed manuscript was done. This time around I kept writing guru Donald Maass’ words in mind, “Revision is an opportunity to re-imagine your story.”

So that’s what I did. Yes, I looked for the easy fixes like grammar and word choices, yes I deleted entire sentences and paragraphs. But more than that I took a hard look at my characters and settings, each scene and thought about how could I make them more. More dimensional, more interesting, more functional to the story. The basics were down and having the skeleton (the draft) really helped. I knew who the characters were, what the inciting incident was, what the central issue was and how the book ended. But now I explored what exactly I wanted from each scene. What emotions did I want to evoke in the reader. I started with the biggies: the beginning, the hero-heroine meet, the climax, the conclusion. I compared what I had on paper with what I had in my head. Took notes and worked to make the two merge.

Now, I have a longer, richer story. Thirty-two chapters and 86,700 words that I’m truly satisfied with. It’s not a story that’s going to change the world or win a Pulitzer, but it’s a good story. It’s the story that had been haunting me, it’s a story I can be proud of. Until now, I’d start on another project, but then get sucked back in by this completed manuscript. I fussed around, unsatisfied, fixing a sentence here and there, knowing it didn’t work, but not having the courage to take a closer look, go for true change. But this time, I’m happy. It’s done. I’m done with it.

I’ve already started a new notebook for my next project. Here I’m jotting down all kinds of ideas that come to me regarding the story, the characters, and the plot. I’ve closed my eyes and visualized the MC and the setting, done some rough drawings, added color. I’ve worked out a rough synopsis. The back cover blurb is written. As is the three sentence pitch and the elevator pitch. With my other story, I did all this after the story was written, but I decided to try and add a little bit of order this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a pantser, but now I’ve some bones to work with, a sense of direction.

I’m gearing up for November. Notebook in hand I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo and launch into my new WIP. Any of you NaNoing this year? Do you do a lot of prep work or start cold turkey? Any tips for having a good NaNo experience? Any and all help will be appreciated!