My PerNoReMo moves forward, despite some major self-doubts earlier this month. To help me through the mire, I read some of my earlier posts, looking for inspiration. And one that I originally posted on 2 June 2012 reminded me why I’m rebuilding Death Out of Time and not sticking with my original version. I thought it was worth sharing again with readers. Rather than force you to make extra clicks, here are the highlights from that post.
Doing The Story Justice
Some time ago, I realized writers spend more time editing and revising than we do laying out the initial story. That’s no surprise to those of you who have been at this a few years. If you’re just starting out, well, now you know.
Finishing the first draft is an incredible feeling. Wow. I wrote a novel. Woo hoo! Happy dances and high fives all around.
I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble who hasn’t gotten there yet. By all means, celebrate when you do. But now’s when the real work begins.
That’s right. You’re nowhere near ready to publish. Hey, if you’re Stephen King or another good writer and have somehow stumbled onto this post, one round of rewrites after you get your beta reader comments may be all you need. But most unpublished writers, like me, haven’t reached that level yet. We need multiple drafts, multiple reviews, and multiple rewrites.
For me, part of the repeated revision process is the desire to create a well-written book. I don’t want to be embarrassed by critical reviews pointing out all kinds of weaknesses—poorly developed characters, lame plot with multiple holes, passive voice, inconsistent POV, and so on.
But more importantly, I want to do the stories justice. I think the major plot ideas behind both my major WIPs are good ones. The Muse gave me wonderful stories to write about. I know they could be awesome books. In my mind, the main characters are interesting and approachable. I think readers could relate to them. But I have to bring that out in my writing.
Frankly, anyone can have a great idea for a novel. And most people, if they put their minds to it, could write one. But that doesn’t mean the book would be good. Many would-be writers couldn’t handle the work involved in getting the story right. That’s one reason everyone doesn’t write novels.
Can I do it? After several rounds of revisions, will I have a novel that is entertaining and well-written? I refuse to fall into the trap of revising forever and never publishing my books. That’s pointless. But when I decide to publish, will I have done the stories justice? Will I reach the point where I can honestly and accurately answer that question with a yes? I’ll only know the answer when the books are out there and I see if an audience develops. It’s a daunting thought.
So, nearly 18 months later, here I am. Still revising. And when I finish this rebuild, I’m back with a first draft. If I’m growing as a writer, it will be a better first draft this time around. But at least two rounds of revisions await me then.
My PerNoWriMo has me writing nearly every day again, even if only three hundred words (some days more). That’s the discipline I need to regain if I’m going to get beyond rebuilding and revising and into polishing. That’s a hell of a lot of work—but the story deserves no less.