Friday, February 19, 2016

Keep Revising-- (Even If You'd Rather Pull Out Your Hair...)

It has been three months since NaNoWriMo now, and here we are, elbow deep in our manuscripts, trying to make something readable out of them. Some days it feels great to strike out entire pages of utter crap that we thought was so great in November. But the other times? You feel as if you're killing your best friend, or ruining something precious. Or maybe you'd just rather do laundry or homework than spend Quality Time with your novel.

If anyone told you that Revising was easy, you might be wanting to stab them by now for lying to you. Or you may be ready to give in and give up. Or maybe you're doing great, and revising is second nature to you (but if that's you, you don't need to read this post). But I know that it is hard to stay motivated. We are now in "The Revising Slump" that is month two. And it kind of sucks. What can we do about it?

Here are a few things to do to keep moving in the right direction with your novel.

1. Stay Motivated.
Easier said than done, right? Well, it can be done. In fact, the best way to stay motivated is to make progress on your manuscript. So, stay motivated by working on that book. Strike out that paragraph. Kill off that character. Delete that subplot that sucks. Tighten up your prose. Even if it's something small, you will feel so much better and more motivated if you Just Do It. So get started.

2. Take a Breather.
No one said you had to finish this book in 16 weeks, so stop slaving. You'll only hurt yourself, and possibly your novel. As I said above, working on your manuscript is a great way to stay motivated, but don't over do it. If you are forcing yourself to revise 20 pages a day, and begin to dread that time, then scale it back. Start with 5 pages, or 3, and get into the swing of things. You don't have to rush it. Take your time. It's better to take your time during this draft than to rush it and pump out more crap. Get it right, and go slow. If you need to, step away from it for a couple days, work on something else and come back with fresh eyes. It will do both you and your novel good.

3. Work on Something Else, Too.
For those days when you are really not feeling it, work on something else. Be it an outline for a new book, or an idea for an old one, if you have two things going at once, if you have a day (or two) in which you just can't produce anything good for this novel, turn to Plan B for a while. That way, your creative juices will remain in motion, you won't be wasting momentum by focusing on something that you have nothing for. BUT, do not do not do not use this as an excuse to give up on this novel you've written. Put it on the back burner for a couple days, okay, but don't throw it out. And always remember No. 1 of this list.

Bonus: Also, it sometimes helps to set goals for yourself, and tell others about these goals, so they can hold you accountable to them. But always, always, always, keep writing, and keep revising!

With that in mind, let us get back to our creative outlets, and Write. After all, that's what we do; we're writers, aren't we?

Also, as an update, I am now on my third draft. I am quite excited about that. I was dragging my feet for a while there, but then I just decided I was going to finish that second draft. So I revised 40 pages one day, and 50 the next, having already done the 36 before that. I am on drat 3, and loving every second. Well, every second that I can spare for it. I don't exactly get paid for revising (yet, anyway...).


Last thing. My faithful readers, I thought you might want to know of my celebration: This is my 50th post on Writerly! Thank you all for your support and constant readership. You're awesome, and you've made this journey of mine so much better. You all rock my socks.

So, Keep Revising! Better days are coming, and your book is getting better and better with every word you strike and every word you add. You've got this! 

As always, Happy Writing! And Better Revising to you all!


Write On Round #2!

First, let me apologize for being so long away. I was hospitalized last week for four days and was only just released. (Okay, so maybe I wasn't actually hospitalized, but that certainly sounds better that I just couldn't get around to it...) So, I am sorry. But you are such a forgiving lot, I know where I stand.

SO, that said, let us begin.

It is time for Round 2 of the Write On, Right On challenge. But first, let us see the last entry from round one:

Author: Isabella S.

Prompt: A lake house, a girl, and a deadline in 2 hours and 32 minutes.

      The sun-room has always been my favorite room. My mind brushes old memories of summer days spent among the tall grasses and brittle rushes, singing, laughing.
      This was always her favorite place, too.
      I push the thought from my mind as soon as it's there. I didn't come here to think of her. Instead, I stare at the sunlight glinting on the shining lake outside. I force my mind from her. Suddenly, the air is too thick for my lungs. I can't breathe, I'm suffocating in this bright room. I push for the door and stumble out, surprised at my cry.
      Why am I here?
      I came to find silence, but my thoughts will never leave me. They're always with me, clouding my head, filling my mind with their relentless noise. I can't escape them, no matter how far I run.
She couldn't, either, I realize. Unwittingly, I lift my arm, glancing at my watch. Two-and-a-half hours to go. Two hours and thirty-two minutes, to be precise. I scold myself for looking. Why hadn't I taken the watch off? What happened was her fault, no one else's. I won't feel guilty if she's put to death. It's her fault. I squelch any thoughts otherwise.
      But the thoughts creep in like daggers in my mind. I can't escape them. It's subtle at first, just brief snapshots of her, smiling, happy. She and I rowed together many times on these complacent waters. Our golden years.
      Later memories stab me, now sharp. The smiles fade, turn to sobs, sobs to shouts. Her, shouting for me to hide, to cower, while she's so brave. She bore it all, every word, every bruise. But not, I realize, because of her unwavering bravery; it was her cowardice that kept her there.
I bring my hands to my elbows, feeling a sudden chill. That's it, isn't it? It was cowardice, not resolute bravery, that made her hold her ground.
      And if that's so, how's she any different than me? Why should she die while I live?
      I know what I have to do.

      I grasp the phone.


NOW, to business. It is time for Round 2!

Same rules apply as before, save these small changes: Word count has been upped to 350. No more, but you may do less if you wish. Also, this round must be totally different than the last one. I.e., different tense and person. If you wrote in first person last time , you're on 3rd this time. If you wrote in present tense last time, you're on past now. You get the idea. Also, this is not a said rule, but I want you to challenge yourself. Write in a way that you usually don't. Experiment with style and character voice. In essence, be creative, and put all your usual restraints down the drain (except for that whole plagiarizing thing, that's still illegal. Everywhere.)  

Now for the prompts:

1. Write a scene that includes: a dead poet, a blind person, and a 19th floor balcony; or,

2. Listen  a song by the artist A Great Big World, OR Ludwig Van Beethoven, and write a scene that captures the feeling of the music. 

3. Write a scene that includes: A tent, a train, and a surprising telephone message. 

Entries must be emailed to me at zara.lavoris@gmail.com by March 2, 2016. Have fun, and my best wishes to you!


Let the Creativity commence! 











Saturday, February 6, 2016

Write On Entry #2

Another very creative entry for Write On. 

Author: Brandon R.

Prompt: A tombstone, twins and a trail.

"Come on, Junie," Jared called, standing atop the rock. He held out his hand for his sister, who grasped it weakly, gasping. The twins were eager to be on their way, but the trail was hard, and June had, ah, lacking abilities when it came to being outdoors. Jared pulled June up the rock, and they sat down for water. June's face was red, but she was obviously trying to appear as if this all came naturally to her. She pulled the old map out of her pocket.
          "Lemme see," Jared snatched the yellowed paper from his sister, holding it up and away from her grabbing fingers. "Look," he said," if this is right--"
          "Of course it's right. It was his," June cut in, but Jared ignored her. "Then..." he turned the paper sideways, squinting in the light. He read the words inscribed, and nearly dropped the precious little map. 
          "My word," he muttered, daring to stand slowly. His sister raised an eyebrow, but said nothing as he looked from the map to the rock beneath them. "June," he breathed, "stand up." She complied, clambering to her feet noisily. "What is it?" She leaned over to look at the aging map. The realization dawned on her slowly at first, and then all at once. "Jared," she said, her voice gone soft, "does that mean that the tomb is...?"
          "Right beneath our feet," Jared supplied. He grinned. "We're standing on the tombstone." 

Remember, it's not too late to send in your entries! Just write the scene (following the guidelines from Write On, Right On) and email it to zara.lavoris@gmail.com. I hope to receive more of these literary beauties come my way!  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Write On Entries-

Well,

So far I have gotten three entries for Write On, Right On, and my, oh my, you have all shown me a wonderful bit of creativity and artistic genius! I have decided to add one entry today, and another tomorrow, and so on.  Here is the first entry I received:

Author: Sigrid B.

Prompt: A boy, a key, and meting snow

Snow is white. New. Snow creates another world. A wonderland. An illusion. Snow is the thin layer between fiction and reality. Snow is a lie. As a writer is a liar. Unblemished white snow hide gray stone. As the stone warms she deposes the snow. Tears melt from the snow and roll to the ocean. Because reality is too strong. Too hard and steadfast. So I've always seen it.

That's why I became a liar. That's why I became a writer. With tales I can hide reality from her. So that I can protect her from the melting snow. As the writer along with the snow is the best liar. I lie too her with words and tell her how beautiful the world is. I create a paradisaical world and promise her that the future is prosperous. I hang a veil of ink that fades the world.

While I whisper in her ear, I play with the tiny key hanging from her necklace. With my fingertips I glide over the engravings. 'Fiction est clavis ducure meus relitas.’ She closes her eyes and let her drift away from reality by the rhythm of my words. As a mantra I repeat the quote in my head. Fiction is the key to my reality. I let my fingers gently glide through her soft hair. With my words, I take her on a journey to worlds larger than ours. I show her peace. I let her experience happiness. I tell her about true equality. I'm building a layer of snow between now and maybe. Because reality is too strong. Too hard and steadfast.

Fiction est clavis ducure meus relitas. So I've always seen it.


Remember, it's not too late to send in your entries! Just write the scene (following the guidelines from Write On, Right On) and email it to zara.lavoris@gmail.com. I look forward to seeing more of this great creativity break forth!

As always, Happy Writing!