Tag Archives: Pirouette Rewrite

The Rewrite of Doom.

Slow progress.

Making very slow progress on Pirouette the Third.  I’ve been ripping it apart, deleting scenes or condensing them, and rewriting others.  I’ve got it down to 117k which is really cool.

I’m focusing on Alisia and Lucien’s relationship arc, as well as the subplot.  I realized that I may not have been as brutal as I should have been when I did the One Pass Revision.  I also found out some big flaws (thanks to my critiquers) that needed fixing.  But that’s okay, because I want it to be stronger, and it will be when I’m done.

I like what I’m getting.

Although sometimes it feels like I’m juggling three balls.

As for Soulfire, got a tentative plot in mind and things are starting to gel.  I’m very happy about that.  I have a possible first line, and the theme song.  And a 73-song playlist.  The theme song is Baba O’Riley by The Who.  I realized that it could be a metaphor for the future dystopic Earth I’m creating.  That really made my day.

Nanowrimo in 19 days.  I can’t wait.

Also did a major overhaul on my website yet again.  This version is simpler and cleaner, and I love it.  Check it out at http://www.erinkendall.com.  Most of the links aren’t live yet, however.  The Writer link is.

And lastly, I’m beginning to have problems with my wrist again.  So it looks like I’ll be voice reccing Nano again.  Was hoping to avoid that, but hey, I’m glad it’s possible.  I still have a good chance of getting 50k that way.

So that’s what’s going on. 

Nineteen. Days.

A tale of 3 stories.

I’ve just waged war with my muse on 3 (count them, 3!) stories.

But let me start at the beginning.

Chapter 2 of Pirouette the Third nearly killed me.  I couldn’t seem to want to write.  I was scared that I was going to fuck it up.  Even though this is draft 3, of possibly many more, and that I  wanted to make good progress on it before Nanowrimo.  So…..I’d decided to take a week break off of it to clear my head.  That week ends Tuesday.

So that’s story #1.  I’m still getting ideas and I’m still thinking about it, but I’m trying not to bludgeon myself to death over it.  It’s a draft.  Just like the first two.  I’m still learning.  And I’m committed to making this the best it can be and start querying agents with it.  So….whatever needs to happen to make that possible, I’m all for it.

One week.

Then, I get hit, yet again, with the idea for the novella I Wake Up Alone.  Yeah, I’d filed it away under To Be Done Sometime in the Next Decade, made its folder, jotted down a few notes, and called it good.

Then the idea of time travel hit me, and as these things often do, it melded into something far more interesting.  And quite possibly more tragic.  Then I realized that I couldn’t do another Time Traveler’s Wife.  But before that lovely epiphany, I was knee-deep in a war with my muse.  She wants me to write this damn thing, like right NOW, before Nano, and submit it.  Okaaaaaaaay.  Never mind that it’s just half-formed in my head and hello, it’s too similar to Time Traveler’s Wife.  I decided a few nights ago to stop obcessing and come up with something more unique, or a unique form of time travel, or something.

So far, we’re doing okay on that front.  I think about it, but I’m not obcessing.  And I really like the time travel element. 

Story #3: Soulfire.  More nebulousness in my head.  Knew the basics, but not the plot.  Did some navel-gazing and brainstorming and have arrived at a rough outline.  Today, whilst in the shower, Liana started talking to me in the form of journal entries.  So I raced to the puter to type up the notes.  My next thing is to write out some of these journal entries in her voice.  It’s pre-work, so it works for Nano.  And with what I got today, I CAN’T wait to write this book.

But for about a week, I was cycling between these 3, trying to figure out what would get me the most bang for my buck, so to speak, and what to put on the back burner, and what the hell to do with Pirouette the Third.  I’ll tell you, it’s these times that make being a writer tough.  Decisions, so many decisions!  And this is just new stuff.  None of the old stuff that’s been patiently waiting like Darkweaver, Surrender, or What Lies Beneath.  All totally shiny in their own ways, but languishing.  Hopefully next year I can work on at least one of them.

So that’s the deal.  I came in with 3 stories and landed up with 1.  Well, 2 if you count Pirouette the Third.  And my eye is firmly set on publication, so I’m still heading in that direction.  Fun stuff.

Tricking the muse.

For the past 2 weeks, I’d been blocked on the climax of Survivor.  I was crawling along, writing maybe 100-200 words a day if that, and it ws painfully slow and difficult.  Something wasn’t gelling.  All of my ideas about what could happen seemed stupid or cliche.  Usually, I’d plow on through, but this time, I took a step back and looked at it in a different way.

There was a barrier keeping me from my muse–or, maybe a barrier keeping me from  my muse’s knowledge.  We talked.  She whispered stuff in my ears.  In the shower, we brainstormed.  But nothing fucking gelled.

At the end of those 2 weeks, I was desperate.  Scared, b/c I couldn’t remember being this blocked.  Testy b/c writing sucked.  And, sleep deprived, due to a new medication.  I’d love to blame it, but I think it might have been a contributing factor, but not the cause.  Anyhoo, drastic action needed to be taken, or I’d stuff the whole thing in a drawer and forget about it.  And after 5 years of working on this puppy, there was no way I was going to abandon it that easily.

Soooooo I remembered something from somewhere (clear as mud, huh?) that said that switching to Notepad makes the writing seem not as serious.  It’s not a Great American Novel.  It’s just fun.  Playing. 

So that was my first step: I switched to Notepad.  I used to use it for poetry drafts, so maybe that connection has always been there. 

Then I thought, hmmmm.  I need to change something about this, to further trick the muse into thinking it was playtime.  I decided to use a POV I use rarely for protagonists AND present tense, which is a bit awkward, but what the hell?  I was desperate for something, anything.

Put on Queensyche on the iPod and went to town.

And….it worked beautifully.  It worked so beautifully that after I was done (in less than an hour), I sat there wondering if I’d dreampt it all.  And didn’t remember writing it all.  It just….poured out of me.  It was as if the story was already there, waiting for me, waiting for something to let it come to the surface.  It was fantastic.

I’m convinced that if I hadn’t done that, many of the cool things I came up with on the spot wouldn’t have come, or maybe would have taken longer to come.  The muse is a funny thing.  Our communication is usually really good, but something just wasn’t right.  And by removing the indicators that it was Serious Fiction, my muse thought she could come out and play. And play she did!

It did take an edit pass to clean up the typos, change the POV, and change the tense.  I ended up adding about 100 words to it in details and such.  It’s not perfect, but it’s words I didn’t have before, and that was good.  Very good.

I highly recommend this.  I don’t know if it will work all the time, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Also, I wrote a prologue/backstory thing for Soulfire.  Liana, the protagonist, has been whispering to me for a week.  I wanted to get it down before it disappeared.

Soulfire is my next new project, after I’m done with Survivor and Pirouette the Third.  You hear that, muse?  Focus, focus, focus.

Status update

Wedding and honeymoon was wonderful.  I only wish I could be on vacation more often!

Did not bring Flamebound because my printer is on the blitz.  I wouldn’t have had much time, anyways — the beloved hubby kept me very busy.

Survivor is still progressing.  When I got home from vacay, I had a seriously difficult time getting back into the swing of things.  I was totally blocked and feeling out of sorts.  But I tried and little by little, it got easier.  Inspiration always helps. 

It’s almost to the end.  Almost.

Pirouette is definitely going to need another major revision.  Based on current feedback, the ending is pretty strong — it’s the beginning and middle that meanders a bit (okay, alot).  I’ll need to cut another 42k.  I can do this.  Along with that, I’m about to start replotting the parts I’m revising.  I definitely need a roadmap here.  I can’t pants it — I need to get this done as quickly as I can.  Because the objective is to get it out the door this year.  Obviously, I’m not going to half-ass it.  But I’m also not going to meander.  It needs to be solid and an improvement.

Which is kind of a tall order.  But I have faith in myself.  I’m not sure if this will be the last draft.  I’m committed to doing as many drafts as it needs.  I also have a better idea of my weaknesses.  And my strengths.  So it’s just a matter of pulling it all together into a cohesive draft.

I just finishing reading Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.  I usually don’t read YA, but this one caught my eye.  Well, I read it in 24 hours.  So, yeah, it was GOOD.  I especially like the ending, which I’m not giving away.  I will be buying the second and third books for sure. 

Also thinking about getting my website back up and running.  So lots of stuff happening.

Strength.

I’m into the type-in now, and it’s been killing me.  Sounded like the easiest part, just type in the changes, right?  Wrong!  Not when you’re still not sure if your scenes have enough conflict, or if some scenes don’t do anything for the story (yes, I’m still finding those this late in the game) or if you’re questioning everything from characters to plot to descriptions.  In short, I’m having second (third?) thoughts.

What’s weird is that I was fine through the 2nd pass, and fine through chapter 3.  Then I hit a wall that I can’t seem to get over.  I had a filler scene that was, plot-wise, useless, so out it went.  Then I started thinking.  One part of it was a revelation for the male lead (one teeny tiny part — like, three sentences) so I decided to add a scene where he has this revelation, and ramp up the conflict.  Unfortunately, that scene led to some changes, and I’m not sure I want to go that far.  And, I’ve rewritten the thing at least 4 times.  Just ain’t working.

Since this is my first time doing this, I have no idea if it’s normal.  I’m trying to stop my Inner Editor from tearing me to shreds.  It hasn’t been easy.  I haven’t been feeling very well for the past week and that’s colored my opinions.  But I’ve been staying strong, and trying to be positive–that no matter what, I WILL end up with a better story.  Granted, it may take more time, possibly, but it WILL happen and I WILL start submitting it.  It’s just been a looooong time since I wrote first draft words, and I’m starting to really feel it.  And rewriting, for my purposes, doesn’t count.  😦  Sooooo soon I’ll be starting on Survivor again.

So that’s where I’m at.  Desperately trying to keep my head above water and sane while I finish this type in.  I’m hoping this is it, save for one final edit.  But time will tell.

Strength.  Gotta have strength.  All along, I’ve been saying that  believe, with everything in me, that I can make this happen.  That I can make my dream come true.  That belief has kept me from giving it up, or taking long breaks.  It’s what makes me produce so consistantly.  I HAVE to do this.  Otherwise, I’m just not myself, and I feel it deeply.

Soooooo I’m working on it.  Things might get tough, but that’s okay.  What doesn’t kill you to write makes you a stronger writer.  You heard it here first.  😉

No longer wangsting.

Sorry about yesterday’s post.  I feel ALOT better after putting things into perspective.  I don’t suck as a writer; I just suck at fight scenes.  Flamebound will be whatever it needs to be, and whatever length it needs to be.  I’m okay with that.  I have my own process, which is messy and chaotic, but it’s mine and I’m still learning what works.

So, in short, everything’s fine, I am fine, and my writing doesn’t suck.  My attitude, however, did, and I’m working on making it better.  Optimism, optimism, optimism.

Status: depressed and confused

That about sums it up.  The 2nd pass went wonderfully until I went to rewrite the big fight scene — the climax of the entire book — and rewrote it about 5 times.

I suck at fight scenes. 

Intellectually, I understand the mechanics of it, but when I try to write it, it comes out wrong.  I mean, really wrong.  It’s actually kind of scary.

But there is a ray of hope: I used to have the same problem with sex scenes.  And I’ve pretty much conquered that, through practice and sheer will alone, so perhaps this will be the same.  Maybe it will take awhile but it will work out.  Problem is, while I’m angsting about this, time is slipping by.  I have a second scene to rewrite, but that’s it –and the type in.  I feel at loose ends right now — I decided to take a mini break that became a real break when I got sick, and now after about 3 days, I’m twitchy as hell.  I even considered starting a new project, totally on the fly and without an outline, just to make the feeling go away.  And remember, except for the scenes I’ve rewritten in Pirouette, I haven’t done any real writing.  I’m going to remedy that soon with Survivor — but not yet.

There are some personal things weighing on my mind as well, which haven’t helped matters.  I use writing to get away from it all, but if I can’t write…well…..it has to go somewhere.  Usually, it’s within.  But I’m okay.  This too shall pass.

Read Flamebound for the first time since finishing it on Dec 19th.  Oh boy.  It’s going to need ALOT of plot work.  Everything else is pretty solid.  I might lengthen it and submit it elsewhere first.  Because there’s no way I can cut it down 15k.  Well I could, but I don’t think it would do the story justice.  And it’s all about the story.

So that’s where I’m at.  Hoping things improve.  Hoping I can write again soon.

Pirouette Revision, take 2.

I’m up to 89 pages (of 482) and it is going well.  I’m feeling pretty good about this.  I hope to finish (or be close to finishing) by the end of the month.  Then it’s type-in time.

I’m confident that the changes I’ll be making will make it even better.  And one more step closer to the submitting process.

I also submitted Life as a Moving Target. Wish me luck.  Am considering putting together another chapbook for another publisher.  I need 60 pages minimum and the deadline is in mid-March.  It would be cool to have my stuff out there again.  It’s been too long.

Revision complete!

Last night, I finished the One Pass Revision.  It was a great feeling to have plowed through the entire manuscript and made it better, closer to my vision of the story.  My writing partner, C, asked if it hurt to cut parts of it.  I told her that yeah — at first, it did hurt.  All those words.  All the lovely descriptions, the great dialogue, the emotions.  But early on I recalled that Holly Lisle said that a scene must move the story forward, contain conflict, characters we care about.  So…held against that, a great many scenes made it to the chopping block.  I had a lot of extraneous stuff.  I had put it in there as I went, thinking it might be good, but no.  Some of it had to go.  And with that knowledge, I’d freed myself to do what needed to be done.

My final answer?  Exhilarating.  It felt wonderful.  It felt good to be making the book tighter, better, closer to publishable.  I’m completely jazzed about this.  I haven’t been this excited in a really long time.

So today I’m taking off from Pirouette.  I might just catch up on stuff I’d neglected, or work on Hereafter.  Or, quite possibly, not write at all.  I finished a day early, and could use a day off.  It’s been intense, and I need to recharge the batteries.

So what’s the next step?  Reading through the manuscript, double checking my decisions on scenes, expanding where its needed, condensing if it needs it.  I have a few major, global changes I need to implement before I do the type in.  Alot of things occurred to me late in the process.  Like, for an example, towards the end I missed something very important to the overall story.  It needs to be in there.  Not going to say what, as it’s a spoiler and I don’t want to spoil anyone who might want to read it, or read it on the shelves (optimism, optimism!).  😉  So I have to figure out how that’s going to work and also where and when these things should be added.  Shouldn’t be too difficult once I make some decisions.

Just did some quick math.  The first draft was 399,915 words (!).  Iiieeeeee.  Yeah, I’m verbose.  I ended up cutting alot, and rewriting it from scratch.  That came in at 192,000 words.  Still too long, but about half as long, give or take.  I don’t have a new tally on what I rewrote in revision yet, but if you add the final counts of both drafts together, you get…  591,915 words.  *faints*  Half a million.  Four years.  That’s alot of work.  But I believe in the story, now more than ever, and I will see it to completion and hopefully publication.

So I’m one step closer to making my dream a reality.  It’s been an exhilerating experience so far.