Dis/inhibition: I tackled all of my editor’s substantive comments except the ones related to race. This is a tricky area. I want to take my time considering what she has to say, understanding that she isn’t a person of color, either, and so whose instincts matter here? Her comments have certainly given me a lot to think about, and there will be some rewriting, mostly to change back things I had already changed before she read them, and to rewrite some stuff I was never that comfortable with anyway.
New story: I finished chapter 3 and sent it off to the Sculptor. Last weekend, I took a break from it to start thinking through what I want to do in the next few chapters. I am tackling this story like I did The Destroyer: I have a general idea where I want the characters to be at the end, but I only outline a few chapters in advance of the one I am writing, and even that is subject to change if I get a better idea.
This week’s goal: make some progress on chapter 4.
Dis/inhibition: I finished with my editor’s cosmetic changes and am now procrastinating taking on her more substantive comments. I thought I could handle a little constructive criticism, I weathered it fine in the past, but maybe I just had a trust-thing with my writing coach, where I felt it was okay to dismiss what she said if I didn’t agree with it. Now I find myself questioning my own writing, which is just paralyzing on the final draft when it should only be polishing.
New story: Still working on chapter 3, technically. I finished a full draft of it and decided to step back and think a bit about upcoming chapters, just in case there was something in them I needed to establish in chapter 3. In doing so, I discovered a plot hole I have been wrestling with. It’s not fatal, it’s just a matter of my imagination coming up with a good hole-filler. It’s a hole of missing motivation for a state of affairs that is central to the story and one of my character’s entire life circumstances. Nothing worse in a story than lame motivation for one’s Plot Device Darling.
I was on the road last weekend and so didn’t have the opportunity to check in on the writing.
Dis/inhibition: I have started folding my editor’s corrections into the manuscript. She also had some really complex questions for me about my handling of race and subculture with my characters, questions I am doing my best to consider.
New story: I handed over chapter 1 of the story to the Sculptor to read a couple of weeks ago, and gave chapter 2 to her Wednesday morning, so I guess I’m on my way. She is reading mostly in a motivational/cheerleading capacity, and so far it does seem to be helping me keep working on this steadily, and dig a little deeper in each chapter as opposed to just spitting out a thin half-assed first draft as I have done in the past. Not that there’s anything wrong with that approach–it’s like writing and outlining at the same time; it helps you figure out what the story’s about. But I wanted to go deeper in this story’s first draft, and see where I can take it that might end up more interesting.
Currently in the midst of writing chapter 3.
I am stuck in the airport without the third book in Steig Larsson’s Millenium series. /woez!
Progress on my two main writing projects:
I have four artists I ended up commissioning via etsy.com to illustrate the front cover of the book. Three of the four have finished, the other has promised an end-of-July completion. My most immediate goal, then, is to do the final edits on the text given to me by the editor I was working with last Spring. That’ll be my job for July.
I’ve noticed many writers on my flist tend to give stories titles before they’ve finished writing the first draft. This seems very strange to me. It’s not until I’ve finished the first draft, or written the vast majority of it, that I know what a story’s even about, and my titles are almost always based on the theme of the story, or the central plot point.
Anyway, I peeked in at chapter 2 of the the new story Tuesday morning. It was interesting, reading what I’d left of it. The “voice” of the writing was all wrong for the featured character in that chapter. So I was able to see it with fresh eyes after three weeks. I started rewriting it here and there to make it sound more like her voice and less like my formal, over-educated-vocabulary Narrator Voice. I also picked up on the undertone of animosity between the two characters in the chapter that was only hinted at before and really brought it out.
I think, sometimes, when we’re busy writing a chapter and putting a lot of work into just getting words on the page, we sometimes become wedded to things that are bland or aren’t working well because it took so much effort to get any words down at all. Come back three weeks later, and you’ve forgotten all that effort, and all you can see is the ugh, and you fix it.
Short story long, before I knew it, I was essentially done chapter 2. I finished the week by starting to arrange my thoughts for chapter 3.