Writing–Revising Spirited in Spite

Rainbow paperSo as I may have mentioned in my previous projects posts that one of my plans for the year was to revise Spirited in Spite to doneness and that I was going to start this month.

Here’s a little back story on Spirited in case I never mentioned it (which is entirely possible since I don’t talk about my projects with any sort of regularity):

It started out as one of my earliest NaNo losers under the title The Spinning Room.  I can’t remember exactly how the loss took place. I think I ended up not finishing it during the month, but getting it done sometime afterwards. The original idea was for something straight horror, but at some point during the first draft, I realized I couldn’t keep my face straight that long. I think that’s part of what made it so hard to write during NaNo; I was doing it wrong.

When I decided to revise it with a lighter tone, it went a lot easier. I put together a new draft and revised it once more at some point and then left it alone to do other things.

Apparently, I re-read it sometime last year, but I don’t remember doing that.

I started doing the revisions on the second. I was done within a week.  And that was going slow.

I had apparently done more revisions on this manuscript than I remembered doing. I certainly didn’t remember revising it down to novella length, but also didn’t remember revising the story to the point that it was so…finished. The revisions I ended up doing this round were of the nitpicky variety, partly because I was marveling at how little I had to do.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m done. There are minor things that I thought about changing, but didn’t change because I’m not sure about those changes yet. I’m going to let it all rest for a little while and come back to it again.

But I’m no longer thinking that it’s going to take me a better part of a year to get this manuscript done.

Looks like A Tale of Two Lady Killers is going to get its shot, too.

Writing–Rereading the Written

English: Page of a manuscript written by Penns...

I’ve got several manuscripts that I’ve written that have been hanging out, waiting for me to get back to them. Some of them are just first drafts; others have had one or two rounds of heavy-lifting revision done to them. All of them were put to the side so I could focus on something else.

Since I didn’t have much going this month, I decided to read them all to see what I had and get reacquainted with them.

It was interesting to see where I was as a writer a few years ago. I can pretty much tell what was going on in my life just by reading the manuscript. It’s fascinating. Nobody else would be able to pick anything up, but I guess because I wrote it and lived it, I know exactly where I was.

Looking at the pieces in a more professional, critical light, I’m happy to say that all of them are workable to an extent. I could make them all into something that you wouldn’t gouge your eyes out while reading. Which is reassuring in a sense. There will always be work waiting for me because I’ve got four manuscripts in various states just waiting to be finished.

And it won’t be a waste to work on them since there’s something worth working on there.

I admit to liking some more than others. Spirited in Spite and A Tale of Two Lady Killers have gone through a couple of heavy-lifting revisions and their stories are pretty good. Fun, quick little things that won’t require too much more lifting to finish.

The untitled Ivy novel should probably be revised down to a novella because I padded that thing pretty hard. The other POVs can go (though I might save Leo’s and rewrite it as a short story). Sticking to solely Ivy and shortening it up will do the story wonders. I might also end up changing the location. We’ll see.

American Vampires, I don’t care for. It’s only a first draft, a NaNoWriMo draft at that, so it needs A LOT of work. And I know what I was trying to do with the original attempt at a story, but I missed the mark. Of all the pieces, I like this one least and it will take the most work. Somehow, though, I think it might be worth the effort. Eventually. I’m in no rush to get back to it.

When I’m done with The World (Saving) Series, it looks like I’m all set for the next revision project. I’ve got plenty to choose from.

Writing–March Projects

The Daffodil, the floral emblem of March

My dedication to short stories last month didn’t exactly work out as well as I’d hoped. I did manage to get four done, but only one submitted. Progress was made, but victory was not established.

Obviously, if I’m going to make my goal of getting 50 rejections this year, I’m going to continue to work on my short stories. But they won’t be the big project this month.

The focus this month will be on putting together the first draft of a personal essay I’m hoping to submit to a contest. I expect it to be difficult simply because I’m venturing into new territory (I’ve only written one other essay that I submitted to a different contest, and that was only done for the experience) and because I’m really going to be pushing myself to really put my emotions down on paper. But that’s another post for another day.

Last month, in taking a break from working on the short stories (I’ve got a post about the outcome of that, too, but for another day), I read the first few chapters of A Tale of Two Lady Killers. I was less than thrilled with the draft. But! I do have a couple of ideas that I might work on to give myself another project when the essay and short stories start to frustrate me.

March should prove to be an important month if only for the essay part. If I can put together a satisfactory first draft of it, I’m going to call that a big win.

Writing–When the Brain Has Other Plans

I have trouble with my brain sometimes.

Here’s an example:

Last month, I got pretty tired of rewriting Spirited In Spite. It turned into quite the slog that I couldn’t wait to get through. And while I was doing this slog, all I was thinking about was how much I wanted to work on my short stories. In fact, towards the end of the rewrite and the end of the month, I did start working on my short stories as a kind of reward for getting through the rewrites.

It was easy to come to the conclusion that I was going to spend February working on my short stories.

About a week and a half into the month, I was tired of looking at these short stories (to my credit, I had three of them ready to submit and one of those I DID submit) and wanted to work on something else.

For some reason, that happens. My brain acts like a spoiled child. It gets what it wants, plays with it a minute, and then immediately wants to play with something else. It’s ridiculous and frustrating and clashes with my stubborn self and need to adhere to the goals set for me.

This time, though, I decided to compromise. After submitting one of the short stories, I took a break from them. Instead, I took the weekend and read one of my novel manuscripts (A Tale of Two Lady Killers), making some notes on it. On Monday, I went back to the short stories. The break helped me avoid the feeling of slogging. It helped me to avoid resenting the goals I’d set for myself and in the long run, accomplish them.

I have to remember that my pig-headedness is an asset only when I use it correctly. I also have to remember to be flexible with my goals. Sometimes my spoiled brat brain has a good point and maybe a day or two spent indulging it is for the best.

It’s more cooperative when I compromise.

Writing–The Other Projects

The World (Saving) Series isn’t my only novel project I’ve got in existence. Due to some successful go rounds at NaNoWriMo as well as a pretty productive period during a six month period one year, I’ve actually got a few in various stages.

When I wrote the first one, now titled Spirited in Spite, I didn’t realize that I was creating a universe. It wasn’t until I wrote (and then lost in the Great Crash) A Simple Matter of Mind Control that I was on to something. By the time I finished the first draft of A Tale of Two Lady Killers, the concept of this universe solidified itself. It wasn’t until The World (Saving) Series that I gave this universe a name, The ‘Skirts, and decided all of the pieces fit. All of the main characters are “on the outskirts of normal”, as one of the characters explains. They all have some sort of paranormal attribute. To me it makes sense and I hope I can make it work.

As I mentioned, they’re all in various stages. Spirited in Spite is waiting to be rewritten (I’ve already done a few chapters and made notes on the rest). A Simple Matter of Mind Control, first draft lost to the Great Crash, is outlined and waiting to be written again, the changes I was planning to make already incoporated into the new outline. A Tale of Two Lady Killers has already had one round of revisions/rewrites.

And we all know where The World (Saving) Series is.

I’m hoping…no, intending…to get back to all of these projects and make something readable out of them. I think they all hold the potential to be good stories and I want to see them through to the end.

Not only would I like to get these stories told, but they also provide me with the opportunity to get into the habit of finishing things.

But that’s another blog post for another day.