I just might be a little bit of both tonight. In the past two days, I’ve only done the bare minimum: Read through a couple of chapters, trying to edit and polish them yet again.
I also spent some time clearing out my gmail inbox. I’m the editor for the Northern Arizona RWA newsletter, and I belong to the newsletter editor’s loop at Yahoo groups. That means I get a ton of e-mailed articles from other newsletters — all on various aspects of writing.
As I was reading through some of them, trying to decide if I wanted to share them in our newsletter, I found myself trying to apply their advice to my own story.
Avoid using adverbs most of the time. Most of your dialogue tags should be “character said.” Make sure your title is original. Know your characters inside and out. Watch for shifting points of view.
It’s all good — make that great — advice. But when I try to think about all those things (and more!) while I’m going through my manuscript for the hundredth time, I get overwhelmed. I wonder if it’s good enough … if I’m good enough.
Don’t get me wrong: I know this manuscript needs help. It’s the first one I finished, and I’ve learned a lot since writing it. I’ve been fixing it up, but a part of me wonders if it’ll ever be good enough … or if I should just abandon it and move on to one of my many other candidates.
My mind is set, though. It will be my Golden Heart entry this year. Next year is soon enough for my current WIP, which is much, much better from the get-go.
At least that’s my opinion … and right now, mine is the one that counts.
… Or maybe not. Thanks to an impromptu write-in at Starbucks this morning, I had my work done early today. And that left time for not one but two walks before I headed to my day job, which is really more of an afternoon/evening job.
I wish I worked more regular hours, like 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of getting off between midnight and 1 a.m. But someone has to stay up late to get the freshest news in your morning newspaper — and that someone is me.
I used to be a reporter, but decided to move into page design so I’d have more time to write fiction in my off hours. When I was writing all day at work, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was write some more. I figured that the opposite would also be true: If I didn’t spend all day writing, I’d spend more time writing at home.
That worked for a while … but writing fell by the wayside for a while – longer than I want to admit — after the Sept. 11 attacks. I just didn’t feel much like writing “funny” after that.
Thank goodness I got my groove back. And now that I’m requiring myself to do some actual writing work before I start messing around online, I’m making some real progress.
Still, a part of me wonders if I really am good enough … Those who’ve read my stories say they like them, but they’re not the powers that be in the publishing world.
It’s probably the same part that’s holding me back from getting to my goal weight, that piece of me that doesn’t think I’m quite good enough.
Can I kick her a$$?Please? It’s time to put myself out there and risk rejection.
I spent some more time editing my Golden Heart entry today.
The good news is that the pages I plan to submit, including the synopsis, total exactly 55, the required amount.
The bad news? I still think the synopsis is better than the manuscript itself.
There’s more good news, though: I’ve cut the manuscript down to 58,000 words, leaving myself a couple thousand for rewriting. And I still have about six chapters to go through, so maybe I can cut some more.
I spent some time working on my Golden Heart entry today. It was the first time in a long time I’ve looked at my synopsis. Upon reading through it, I had two thoughts:
— This is good. I may be more ready to submit this baby than I thought.
— The synopsis is quite possibly better than the manuscript itself.
How does that happen? Well, the story is the first one I completed, written back in 1998-99 and rewritten sometime in ’03 or so. The synopsis was written later than that, when I entered a contest — I’ve forgotten which one.
The bigger question may be, “How do I fix it?” I’m open to suggestions.
Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been reading and re-reading the manuscript for a week or more now, trying to cut it from 71,000 words to 60,000, whereas I read the synopsis for the first time tonight.
I sure hope so.