Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Drafting Is Not For Wusses

Guess what I’m doing right now? That’s right, first drafting. WoW has taken a back seat (poor thing!) for the moment. I did play a few hours this weekend. *grin* So all is not lost.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about first drafts. As much as I whine about editing… that’s the easy part. God! I know, right? That’s crazy talk.

The truth is, for me it’s easier to polish something than to create it from scratch. My first (and sometimes second and third) drafts are plagued by doubt. It’s a lot of: Does that go there??? Oh, what about this??? What if… NO! THAT WON’T WORK! Arg! The ending! The ENDING! Why can I never nail the ending?!

I guess it would be surprising if you asked me which part I enjoy more. First drafting ALL THE WAY. No matter how difficult it is. Editing is like eating steak with a spork. It’s tedious, time consuming and annoying. First drafting (for as much as I get frustrated) is so much fun.

You cannot hope to achieve perfection with a first draft. It’s impossible. I don’t care who you are. I think that the great majority of writers who don’t finish that first draft suffer from perfection-itis.

That’s a real disease. I suffer from it. It drives me bananas if something doesn’t work the first time through.

It’s taken me years to be able to say: It doesn’t matter. Just finish. The dialog doesn’t flow? So. Finish. The characters are schizo? So. We’ll get them some meds on the second draft. Finish. The plot has so many holes it can sink a ship? It can be fixed. Finish.

And you know what? I have to tell myself that mantra every single day. Somehow between the time I go to sleep and the time I wake up, I forget.

I repeat to myself once again: The possibilities are endless! Grab hold of them. They don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are You A Special Snowflake?

Last week I was reading this particular blog by Angela James and I snorted my coffee through my nose. It was this line that did it to me:

The critique partner who thinks every word you write is a special snowflake may not be the one for you, as they’re not helping you learn. Seek out places and people that will help you learn.

I LOVE that line! Special snowflake! I wish I'd come up with it.

I immediately sent this link to my critique partners. The response back: We all know you're not a special snowflake! Geez, Heather. It would be nice if you had a little bit of snowflake in you.


I admit, I'm a tough critiquer. I try to be respectful (I think I succeed) and honest (I'm certainly that). The thing is, I feel that if you're asking for my opinion that you want my opinion.

The sad truth is: There are very few writers who want to hear what they can fix. They think their work is perfect to start with. If you have anything constructive to say, they break down in tears like you murdered their dog.

I'm not an insensitive person. Do you realize how this makes me feel to know that I've hurt you? Like crap, that's what.

Every single time I critique for someone outside of my critique circle I agonize over what I'm going to say. They have no idea what a critique from me is going to be like, even though I give them fair warning before I start. Nine times out of ten it ends badly. And I lick my wounds and swear up and down to whoever will listen that I will NEVER, EVER critique for someone again.

And then I do.

Why would I put myself through the torture? Because every once in a while I meet someone I click with. Who can take my comments in the manner they're intended and use them to figure out how to improve their writing. And in turn, I end up with someone who's willing to be honest with me and whose opinion I value.

Finding a click is a funny thing. I wish it happened more often. It doesn't, but I'm grateful for when it works.

If you're looking for a Special Snowflake, that person is not me. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Starting Over

The edit is done and emailed.

Let's pause a minute while I scream: HALLELUJAH!!!!

Two seconds after I hit SEND I felt deflated. I hate that feeling. Instead of immediately taking some time off (which I am going to do tomorrow, don't you worry. WoW is a-callin') I decided to write a bit. Mostly because it helps to remind myself that writing is never done and I shouldn't feel sad when I've sent something off into the world.

Here's where the problem comes in. It's so hard for me to get back to that first draft, complete and utter drivel stage. I've been working with polished stuff. To switch to crap... It makes me disappointed that I can't write perfect the first time.

Ah, well. I'm still having fun even if I haven't come up with a plan for this book yet. It's being totally pantsed. I AM NOT A PANTSER! It's freaking me out. And yet, I'm strangely thrilled by the idea of writing something that I have no idea where it's going.

Oh... and I'm writing it out of order.

And it's an adult paranormal romance.

Tee-hee. My mom's going to blush when she reads it. I can't wait! *grin*

The plan for next week is to fall in love with my new MS and to beta for a friend.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Life In Bullet Points:

  • This week will go down as one of the hardest I've had in a long time. It was one thing after another - BAM! BAM! BAM! I'm really glad today is Friday. Yay, Friday! And I'm crossing my fingers that next week is better (if it gets worse I'm in SERIOUS trouble). I could use a little sunshine.

  • My editing got pushed aside this week. Mostly because I can't sit at my computer any longer without being in serious pain. My shoulders and back are so knotted with tension that I'm no longer comfortable sitting, standing, sleeping... I'm exhausted.

  • So... I'm off to get a massage today. I LOVE this island. Want to know why? I'm getting a 90 minute massage and a 60 minute facial for A HUNDRED BUCKS. How cheap is that?! I'm trying a new place today, not the "buddy massage" place. I hope I like it.

  • I have been, however, writing bits and pieces here and there. Handwritten because I can't sit at the computer and don't have a lot of time in-between the craziness that's been going on. I'm really excited about this new MS.

  • I wish that the rain would clear up so that I can see the cherry blossoms this weekend. I do so miss them. This is my favorite time of year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And The Winner Is...

My mom drives me crazy. I called her to find out who she chose to win the contest.

Mom: They're all good. I don't know who to pick.

Me: Anyone you want.

Mom: But THEY'RE ALL GOOD. (She tells me the merits of who-its and whats-its).

Me: (not really listening)... Yeah, exactly. So who's the winner?

Mom: You would pick XXX, wouldn't you? Or what about XXX, you'd pick them!

Me: It doesn't matter who I'd pick. YOU have to pick.

Mom: I like them all. I'm not a writer. How would I choose?

Me: I asked you to pick because you're not a writer. That way everyone would have a fair chance. You're a mom. Mom's like everything.

Mom: ...

Me: Well, you have some time. Think about it and get back to me.


Me: (looking at caller ID before hitting 'talk') OMG! Just pick a winner already!

Mom: What if they hate me?!

Me: Who cares? They don't know you! What are they going to do, track down 'Heather's mom' and beat you up?

Mom: I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings.

Me: (*eye roll*) It's a contest. You have to pick a winner.

Mom: This is too much responsibility. I don't want to do this for you again.

Me: Believe me, I won't ask. I've learned my lesson.

The winner is... Dawn! Yay, Dawn! It only took me three hours to find out that you're the winner. :) Congratulations!

Here's a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who entered! I had a fun time reading your cheater reports! They all made me laugh.

(Dawn, I sent you an email.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Need Cheese with My Whine

I've spent too much time with this novel. We are not friends right now. It's like the bad boyfriend that treats you like dirt, but he's way too good looking to contemplate dumping. Not to mention a great kisser...

Not that, ya know, I've ever done such a thing. Nope. Not me.

I was editing. Me and the manuscript-of-angst were getting along fine.

Then I cut the last half of the book off (THREE TIMES!). The novel hated me for that, but I was like, oh hey, I AM THE WRITER SO BACK OFF!

I got it to a place I wanted it, but I couldn't leave it alone! It needed just one more edit. Though, that really means changing every stinkin' word.

I was going pretty good and then *BAM* I hit a wall.


That was four days ago.

This morning when I woke up I realized that I had fallen asleep in my clothes while not accomplishing anything. I got mad and changed out of my clothes into P.J.'s.

I can think in P.J.'s thankyouverymuch.

And then walked my kids to the bus stop wearing them because it's not about pride, peeps, it's about GETTING THE WORK DONE.

(Can we all tell I'm a wee bit frustrated?)

When I got home, I went on a whining-bender to all my friends: I suck! Everything I write sucks! I'm going to give up!!!

I drank a pot of coffee while everyone tried to calm me down. Aren't they nice?!

Annnnnnnd then I got to work and finished the chapter I was working on. Yay!

It's a slow start, but me and my P.J.'s are going to crawl our way out. Oh, yes we are! Take that manuscript-of angst.


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