Two weeks into September, and here’s my weekly writerly report card.
A great quote about revision from author
“I think the hard work of writing is just how long a book is terrible before it’s good.”
Since I’m currently in the revision trenches on my latest book, quotes like this resonate with me. Like last week’s quote, this one illustrates what’s so difficult about the revision process for me, and I’m sure for a lot of folks. The act of writing a first draft is such a monumental task, such an effort of pure creation it can be hard to accept that despite all that work, you’ve ended up with something flawed. For me, it’s a matter of shifting my perspective from viewing the first draft as a complete thing to viewing it as thing with potential. I have to look at the first draft as one step (even if a big step) toward the ultimate goal of a publishable novel. I have to give myself the necessary time to do the job properly, and more importantly, get into the right frame of mind. Last week, I started that process, and I’m slowly but surely altering my perception and a flawed book, well, less flawed.
An excellent week for submissions.
I did not sit idle last week as far as submissions are concerned. I sent out five, four of which were stories that were recently rejected, two with encouraging close-but-no-cigar rejections. The fifth story is a brand new one, and it is unlike anything I’ve written before. It’s fiction, and speculative fiction at that, but it also features an intensely personal element I’ve never explored in my writing. It doesn’t approach anything like creative non-fiction, but there’s more of me in this piece than any of my other works. if it gets published, it’ll likely warrant further discussion, but you can never be sure something like this will resonate. Anyway, I’ve already sent seven submissions in September, which is a great pace. Now, let’s get a few acceptances so I don’t have to wince every time I do the math on my 2021 acceptance percentage. 🙂
Last week, I started a big revision on my novel Hell to Play. This is the revision before I start shopping it around. I made good progress, and revised the first five chapters. I’m most pleased with how the first chapter (kind of an important one) has changed. It was in need of trimming, reorganizing, and, most importantly, a better overall hook into the plot. So, yeah. much improved. Still lots of work to do, but I feel pretty good about what I’ve done so far. The heavy lifting will come in the middle chapters, as usual, but I have a good plan on how to make that as painless as possible (while, you know, doing it right).
What I have to keep in mind here is I don’t have to put a clock on this revision. That’s difficult for me. A lot of it comes from my background in the TTRPG and media tie-in world, where I was always operating under tight deadlines. I don’t have to do that here. Now, I don’t want to take six months to revise this book, but I’m also not going to set some arbitrary deadline that might force me to go too fast. I want to get this right. I want this book to be my best effort. I need to to give myself adequate time to do those things.
The main goal for the week is to revise at least another five chapters of the novel. Then, as usual, more submissions.
That was my week. How was yours?