I’ve bored everyone to death on the main blog, so I’m reverting back to this one. I’ve finished chapter 16, so I just need to write/revise from first draft chapters 17-21. Not a lot of work left in this draft. Ideally, I’d like to finish it by this time next week. Then when I get paid, I can buy the $377 course and get to work on that.
Thursday night I have the meeting for the UMSL class. As summer gets closer (this week kinda felt like it, right?), I’ll weigh my options further. Well, I have to decide by the 16th to get my full refund. If I don’t take that class, I’ll probably take one this fall for just 3 hours. Something easier and less time actually in the classroom.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that I need to make MAJOR changes to what kind of teacher I am. I’m too available. I had a kid email me the other night and ask if school was canceled. Why is he coming to me for that? Every Sunday night I get multiple emails from kids, usually stuff I’ve already told them about, that just make me start the week bitter and burnt out. I’ve had the same student email two Sunday nights in a row about retaking a test. I emailed her last week, “No,” and she sends the same request this week. It’s great to be close to students, but as another teacher told me, I’m going to burn myself out. This job cannot become my life. It’s not healthy.
So I’ve been doing it wrong kinda…a little bit off at least. My plot structure has been off in the last two drafts I’ve written and now I’m fixing that (hopefully) by reading a book called Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. Basically I need to put things into three acts as I use my plot triangle. I think I did that in my first two novels, but in Crutch and Stalker I’m just all over the place. That’s okay, better to fix now than after it’s too late. Well, not now now, but whenever I resume. I’ve already decided on the novel I’m writing next too. When do I work on these? Weekends with crappier weather I guess.
I’ve been writing about the progress on my main blog, but since this is just about the book I’ll move it back over here. I’m through chapter 1, but I seem to have ignored half of the red pen notes I put in–crap. This is harder than writing it, because it actually has to be good. I should go back and fix it more.
The more of this I revise, the more I realize it’s pretty true-to-life. I’d say 90% of it happened as I’m writing, so does that make it a memoir? Do I just adjust it to that and use everyone’s real names in my family?
I’ll sit down with the editor and see what she thinks. I think part of my revision problem is doing it on a screen. After years of grading and revising my own work on paper, I think that this modern way isn’t working. I should run into school and run off the 55 pages (well 110 when I double-space it).
Anyway, I think it’s over halfway revised by me for the first draft (which is basically not much further along than a first draft).
You know how they show authors in movies put the finishing touches on their novels and they seem to finish on a perfect ending? That’s how I felt today. I cried even. (Although if you’ve read previous entries you’ll note that’s common).
I know it still needs A LOT of revision, but I can start that next week when I get back from Ohio. For now I have to resist the urge to try and share it with anyone. Feedback from someone is a gift, but I don’t want to use it before it’s time. No one likes reading multiple versions of something. As a teacher it’s one of the most challenging things I do with student drafts. No one likes to re-read and re-read, so when I get it somewhat presentable, THEN I’ll allow myself to search for feedback. I still think it’s going to be tough to get any real feedback from friends, so maybe I’ll just hold off completely.
I just did a little research and after digging through some old Facebook emails I found someone who should work. She’s going to be expensive, but she’s a pro and won’t take months and months and miss a bunch of deadlines. It’s all a tax write-off as well (yeah!). She can provide the honest feedback.
I think this book deserves more than my previous ones. It needs more and luckily it’s shorter than them, so that will help with some of the budget.
Here’s what I’m fighting right now…and it hit just before I started editing my other 3–the doubt. The voices that every artist hears. “This isn’t good enough for everyone else.” They’re wrong. It is. It will be. The voices are just disguised laziness trying to talk me out of all of the work (and money) and time that I’ll need to spend to make this into something. I’m okay with it.
Either way, I get a one-hour free consultation with the lady whenever I decide the manuscript is ready. I’m happy to finish the first draft. A lot of people never make it this far. However, it’s only about 25% of the entire publishing process. (I’ll celebrate by golfing in 100-degree weather this afternoon).
I’ve been putting in about 2500 words a day which is usually between 2 and 3 hours. I finish around 11:00 and still have plenty of time to enjoy the day. Today I had to write another painful part, but I think it’s well done. I’m writing a lot more of how it actually happened then I intended to. It feels extremely real so I think that’s healthy for my writing as far as getting emotion to come through. I’m have a hard time deciding on names. Do I keep real names in it? They wouldn’t mind (friends and family). It’s hard to rename some of the most important people in my life, ya know? I mean, how do you turn your best friend’s dad into a Gary or something like that?
I’ll worry about that in revision. I think I was able to successfully enforce the theme of Crutch into natural scenes without making it overkill. I still have the falling action left to write over the next two days before I head to Ohio to let it breath. I don’t think I’m ready to share it with anyone yet as even I haven’t gone back and ready really any of it. I’ll go through and make any major adjustments (if needed) next week and then revise all through July as many times as I can stand. From there I’ll look into copy editing and an “editor” editor. Maybe a read-through from the woman who edited two of my previous books. Or maybe that site that charges a buck a page has more to offer. I just like thinking out loud about this. Sorry, it should be in the other blog about writing. In fact, I’ll move it there (here) now.
I’m going to share it with my wife and anyone interested I guess. I need to make sure it’s not a huge giant flat downer. How does one write “inspirational” without making it sappy and overly fictitious?
Today I wrote another scene that usually makes me cry. I wasn’t as emotional today. I don’t know if I’m getting used to it or what. I wrote about 3400 words today which is my second highest for this summer at least. I’m not able to write at the pace I did a few years ago, but I think that has to do with the style. Those books had a lot of dialogue and it was pressure-free if that makes sense. I was making it up as I went, where as with this, I’m trying to recapture the events in my life at least somewhat.