Sunday, May 13, 2012

Revisions


Funny thing about good feedback, it’s always naggingly similar to what you were already worried about. Okay, well, good feedback is, but not so good feedback lights up the OMG CRAZY alert. So I have this manuscript… Oh, you’ve heard this one before?

And you’ve heard how the intrepid writer says “Krakatoa! How could I have not seen that flaw in my manuscript before????!!!”

Right, well, I’m not here to talk about that, because it’s pretty simple: Either you’ve felt that way, or you haven’t been letting other people read your manuscripts long enough to have had it. I’m not dissing the young writers out there, I’m just letting y’all know about an experience that’s coming your way, whether you’ve just finished your first or your tenth novel, whether you’re unpublished or a NYT bestseller, you are going to have this experience. If you haven't had this feeling, make a note in your calender: it's coming.

Today I’m going to talk about courage.

I don’t have much. In fact, I’ve called myself a coward before (you can read about it here) and I have to say, I haven’t had a single experience to convince me that I qualify for any courage medals. So imagine my surprise when I realized that what I needed to make a particular change in my manuscript was courage.

Yeah, heavy. I had something that was a crutch. It was something that would come out in the first ten pages or so, but I’d stated it—bold as moonlight—in the very first paragraph. The concern: cut it and I’d have readers who didn’t have a clue about what was going on. Keep it, and I’d have every lit. agent rolling their eyes at the demi prologue.

It was when I realized I was using it as a crutch to kick my readers in the gut that I knew it was time to cut it. Sigh, so I took the plunge, held my nose and cut.

So, have you needed to be courageous lately?

11 comments:

  1. I had to be courageous when I sent my first MS out to my CPs - that was scary!

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    1. OMG, the first time I let someone read my stuff I was so sure it was going to be awesome that I didn't know to be worried. I was too stupid to be scared.

      The second time though, that was hard.

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  2. courageous or stupid? tough call!
    i hate conflicting crits! but once i read other things, i get what they mean and can figure out how to improve, i think!

    write away!

    (krakatoa, one of my fave words!

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    1. Krakatoa is one of my all time favorites, not the least because it is an actual volcano with a somewhat volatile nature...

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  3. It's hard to cut anything, when you're used to seeing it on the page. I can't remember the last time I had to do it, but I know it's happened a lot of times for me. It doesn't get easier, I'm afraid.

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    1. I think the thing that was hardest about this one was that I'd really felt like I'd summed it all up into perfect awesomeness. Short declarative statements for the one two punch. Alas, I was in love with it. Good thing someone pointed it out because plenty of people loved it (myself included).

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  4. I had a similar experience with my prologue. I had to decide if I wanted to cut it, and I realized the same thing you did. It was a crutch and I needed to trust that I could get the same point across without having to spell it out at the beginning. I really feel like my MS is much stronger now that it's gone.

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    1. Yeah, I think this comes down to needing to trust my readers to have enough brains to pick up the clues. Literally all of the information in my prologue (except the last half of the last line) comes out in the first ten pages more naturally. So yeah, it was just me not trusting people to be hooked by the organic flow of information.

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  5. This is no surprise, but the changes you and I talked about for SKYBORNE back in January come to mind. It's never easy to hear that if a series of events in the prologue were followed to their logical conclusion, the following story would not happen. It was even harder to admit it, and then I had to figure out how to fix it.

    In the end, though, I know I have a much better story for it. No matter how much I initially wanted to cover my ears and scream "IT'S FINE THE WAY IT IS!" ^_^

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  6. Good for you! Some cuts are harder to make than others, that's for sure. Hmm, now that you mention it. . .Maybe I should go cut that thing at the beginning of mine. . .

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  7. yeah. i get the feedback hoping they wont notice parts i like but prob dont need...farewell sweet extras!

    keep at it!

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