If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.
~Henry David Thoreau
I am in the process of sharing my rewrite with close friends who volunteered to be beta readers. The thought of it makes me squirm because criticism is so gosh darn hard for me to take. I’ve improved as the years have gone by. I can actually hear the constructive criticism now instead of freaking out inside and out. But it is never going to be easy or anything.
Luckily, thus far, I’ve gotten positive feedback from most of my readers. I find it funny that my brother is my harshest critic and biggest supporter. He always tells me what he wants. That chapter needs more description. (My stories are visual to me, so I often gloss over description in the first and sometimes second drafts). Or he’ll say that he wants to know what X character is thinking or feeling.
He asks me the best questions. Because if he has these questions then I know someone else will have them too. So I am able to work on it because he gets me thinking about my writing from the readers’ perspective. Actually, I don’t consider a chapter in my current WIP/ re-write finished until I’ve read it aloud to him.
This does two things for me. One, I hear my words as I read them. I can hear any awkwardness. Secondly, it gets him asking me questions that need to be answered. I am so lucky. He is spot on; I don’t think I’ve disagreed with him yet. And even if I did, I would seriously consider his critiques before deciding not to change it.
In any case, he inspires me to be a better writer. I love it when he thinks my chapters are awesome and he has no questions. I love it when he does have questions too because it is fun to look at the chapter and make it deeper or more than it was originally.
©K. Klein 2012
I am in the middle of my first major novel-level rewrite. I am learning a new part of my writing process and it is a challenge for me. I suppose this should not surprise me, but it does; I guess it just goes back to the fact that writing is hard.
My current WIP rewrite is not of my first novel ever, but it seems to be the first novel to go through the entirety of the writing process. I have been with these characters for seven years and it is only as of October, 31 2011 that I finished a complete first draft. I went through three drafts where I had fits and starts and moments of writing myself into hair-tearing corners. And through that all, none of these characters would shut up and leave me alone. I had to tell this story.
So here I am, rewriting. It is still hard and still scary, but I am trying to move forward. When I began this venture into the next part of my writing process I discovered several things.
First, unlike with a first draft, I need a plan. So I wrote my plan out – twice. The first time I planned on an 18’x20’ pad of drawing paper. That was onerous to carry around with me. So I ended up writing the plan on 3’x5’ note cards as well; although not all the notes in the pad were transferred onto the cards.
Second, I learned that I don’t like it when it looks like my plan is going to fall apart. I don’t like it in the first draft either; but in the first draft the plan is still in my head and not on paper. That tends to make me freeze up and not want to write; unless I have a solution to the perceived problem.
Third, for whatever reason my brain decided that the second draft needed to be written long-hand first and transcribed. I hate transcribing my own work. And I wrote the dang first draft on the computer, so why in the name of heck am I scrawling an entire novel in my notebook only to transcribe it back into my computer? I don’t know the answer. All I can say is that it is the only way I’ve been able to make progress thus far. Goodness help me, I hope this doesn’t happen for every rewrite that I ever have to do.
I am only about half way through the rewrite right now and my goal is to finish my October 31, 2012 so that I can participate in NaNoWriMo. Who knows what I will learn as I finish this process? We shall see.
©K. Klein 2012