I just finished reading over the first draft of Featherfolk! When I began, I wasn’t sure if the manuscript had sat long enough for me to gain the distance and fresh eyes I need to revise.
As I read, I realized enough time had passed. I kept discovering small twists and turns I forgot I wrote. One bit the other day was so perfect and unexpected. It made me feel very clever indeed.
Thinking back, that particular twist was not part of my original outline. It came to me as I wrote, following naturally from the words and scenes I’d already typed.
I want to do that. Over and over. I want to surprise and delight myself.
Because if I can do that, I can surprise and delight others.
And that’s why I wanted to tell stories in the first place.
While Raven is stepping out on submission, I’ve decided to turn my efforts to his sequel, Gwenolwyn and the Crystal Vault. This was my NaNoWriMo project last November, and while I “won” NaNo by hitting 50,000 words, I have not finished the first draft of Gwen’s story.
In addition, I sort of went off the rails around 30,000 words and most of what followed will need to be scrapped.
So where to start?
I’m starting by stepping back and deciding what story I want to tell.
I’m brainstorming. I’m letting go of what the manuscript is and looking at what it could be. Once I figure that out, I’ll pick up roughly where I left off, but tell the story as it should have been. When I reach the end, I’ll go back and retell the beginning until I meet myself in the middle. (Hey, it worked for Raven.)
I’m not worrying about how much work it will take to incorporate some of the ideas I’ve come up with. After all, watering a live plant is much more productive than watering a dead one.
Gwen’s story is more complicated than Raven’s. It gets darker. It gets more dangerous. But I want to tell it.
I’ll keep you posted.
P.S. Happy Independence Day! Our country is far from perfect, but it’s the only United States of America we’ve got.
Does this sight make you jump up and down with joy? It should, but it doesn’t, right?
As feedback from my lovely beta readers trickles in, I realize I’m not as good at taking criticism as I want to be. So I wrote up some rules for myself. Enjoy.
#1 Thou shalt not take any critique personally; receiving feedback is a sign that others do indeed think thee and thy manuscript are worth the effort.
#2 Thou shalt not get defensive (thy readers may actually know what they are talking about).
#3 Thou shalt break critiques into manageable chunks.
#4 Thou shalt consider EVERY SINGLE SUGGESTION.
#5 Thou shalt ask thy reader(s) for clarification.
#6 Thou shalt thank thy reader(s).
#7 Thou shalt revise.
#8 Thou shalt solicit more feedback.
#9 Thou shalt not give up
even though thou art clearly a horrible, horrible writer who shall never accomplish anything with thy life.
#10 Thou shalt reward thy diligence with breaks and treats (within reason).
Now I’d better get off the internet and work on #3 and #7.