On Writing a Novel: Revision is not a Four Letter Word

This post (from my lovely friend Rebekah Faubion) is perfect. For those of you in the revision trenches, read this, and keep fighting!

Rebekah Faubion, Writer

revision

Revision is a bloodbath. It is an assault on words you vomited — eked, spit, sweat — onto the page during drafting. It is where you get to the heart of your story. It sometimes involves massive cuts, sometimes surgical edits. Sometimes it is about character, and others about prose. It is a process, and while there is no one infallible way to revise, there are some truths universally acknowledged.

Write Tip #1: You must read your entire manuscript, from start to finish. There are no exceptions.

As you begin to read your manuscript, you will consider carving out your eyes with a melon baller as an alternative to reading anymore. Push past that and separate yourself from the hope that your first draft isn’t total shit. Even if you are a seasoned and stupendous writer, your first draft will have cringeworthy moments.

This read through is to identify the Global Problems

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National Poetry Month

Poetry is pretty rare for me, but it does happen. Usually I write poems to capture emotions or concepts I can’t wrap logical words around. So, as National Poetry Month draws to a close, I thought I would share two of said rare poems. Enjoy 🙂

 

Inkblood

Press the pen to paper

Deep breath and fall

Fall, fall

Into words like waves

With currents and tides

Pulling you under

Hooked

Hooked like the first taste

Of sweet bliss in your veins

Letters scattered, mangled

Comb through

Breathe Life

Life

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Pounding, a pulse.

A heart

Pumping ink through my veins.

 

Wake

Your lips tremble with words

Words too sharp and final

Too big and heavy

For this room

For my mind to grasp

Dead?

A word too dark for a person so bright

Bright and vibrant and dazzling as the sun

A word too cold for a smile so warm

Laughter so loud and smirk promising mischief

It seems so far away.

Distant. Unreal. A dream.

Wake up.

Wake up bright sun, warm smile, laughter loud.

Wake up wake up wake up

Dead.

A word too sharp and final

Too big and heavy

For this room my mind

My heart

Cold swells my heart it threatens to shatter

As I pick up your pieces

And can’t help but cut myself

On the shards of you

As I try to put you back together

“It will be okay” I say

As I try to keep my own pieces

From falling apart

Staying Sane

With the end of the semester, pitch contests, and getting ready for my first writing conference, life has been pretty crazy lately. Not to mention birthdays to celebrate, my health to take care of, work to keep up with, and I just found out I’m going to be an aunt! In all of this, it’s hard not to lose focus. Writing and keeping up with my online presence can seem a lot more like a chore than a hobby. Like I talked about in my last post, it’s hard not to lose the passion when writing becomes a business. Right now, it’s just hard to stay sane.

Anyone else know the feeling? 

I overanalyze and worry about everything, even if it’s really not a big deal. This week I have been reminding myself to follow my own advice, and fall in love with writing again. But lately, I’ve been learning through this process that even though I am taking writing/publishing seriously now, not everything is as big of a deal as it seems. I entered Pitch Slam this week, and received mixed feedback. They might pick me, they might not. Either way, I learned and improved. I probably won’t meet my writing goal this month. But I set it especially high this time, and I came pretty close. I’ve been writing a lot, developing new ideas, working on other books/concepts, and been creative in other ways (painting, crafts, etc.) So this month still feels very productive. 

DFW Con is this weekend, and I’ve been fighting nerves. I keep feeling like if I’m not 100% prepared, or if I don’t nail my pitch, or pick the right agent, I’m going to waste the opportunity. But even if things don’t go as planned, I will still have two days of workshops, speakers, and networking. I will have a rare opportunity to sit down with an agent, which is a huge opportunity whether it leads to anything or not. 

If you’re an anxious overanalyzing pessimist realist like me, you probably know exactly what I’m feeling. But I’ve been trying to be positive. It’s all a matter of perspective; I won’t get anything out of any of these experiences if I don’t expect to.

So, even if life is chaotic and you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breath. Slow down. It’s okay if some things don’t get done, or if things don’t go quite like you planned. It’s a learning experience, and there’s always tomorrow. And a glass of wine to take the edge off…

Cheers 😉

We Need Diverse Books

karensandler

weneeddiversebooks-share-sm Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT , CNN , EW , and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.

Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored. Here’s how:

On May 1st at 1pm (EST), there will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We want people to tweet, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.

For the visual part of the campaign:

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And the Award Goes To…

Hey there! So this week I was honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by both John Guillen, and Mahrukh on Only the Lonely. Thank y’all so much! I’m flattered, really 🙂

Some of you are probably familiar with the  Liebster Award. But if  you’re not (like me before I was nominated, haha) here are the rules:

liebster-award-rules

 

11 Facts about myself:

  1. I grew up in Seattle, Washington. Probably a huge part of my addiction to coffee.
  2. I love videogames. I grew up playing them with my dad and my siblings, it was how we bonded. My favorites are Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls series, Mass Effect/Dragon Age series, and Guild Wars.
  3. I have a maltese/yorkie doggie who is actually a person. She is also 13 pounds, when she’s supposed to be 7 (whoops)
  4. Even though I am extremely pale, my dad is from El Salvador. No one ever believes me.
  5. I am a psychology major with plans to become a pediatric occupational therapist (if the writing gig doesn’t work out 😉
  6. Did I mention I love coffee?
  7. I started college when I was 16 (was homeschooled senior year so I could take college classes full time)
  8. I hardly ever cry about myself, but I break down when I see other people cry. This means I tear up at inspirational movies, Oprah, and Budweiser horse commercials. Even though I know it’s meant to manipulate my emotions, it still works (darn you)
  9. All of my friends are at least a couple years older than I am. I joke a lot that I’m actually 30, but I really am an old soul.
  10. I hate swimming/hot tubs/baths for longer than 30 minutes. The second I start to get pruny, I’m out. Also, people touching me underwater or even the thought of it makes my skin crawl.
  11. I am always taking in animals. Probably going to end up on Animal Hoarders one day.

 

11 Questions to answer:

1. What kind of music do you like to listen to while writing, if any at all?

I almost always listen to music when I’m writing. It varies a lot, depending on my mood and what I’m writing. Usually I listen to EDM or downtempo on Pandora. My favorite stations right now are Crywolf (for writing) and Raindrops by Fytch, Captain Crunch & Carmen Forbes (for writing and then getting distracted by the urge to dance). I also love Blackmill and Glitch Mob. My more boring normal stations include Agnes Obel, Of Monsters and Men, and Imagine Dragons. Basically, anything.

2. What is it about writing that keeps you going, even when you’re not sure you want to continue?

Writing, like books, are an escape for me. They’ve helped me deal with a lot of difficult emotions and things in my life, in an abstract way, and are an outlet for me.

3. Who is your favourite author?

Everyone knows this is a reader’s least favorite question haha. My childhood favorite was Tamora Pierce. She was and is a huge inspiration to me. As of right now, my favorites are Juliet Marillier, Kristin Cashore, and CJ Redwine.

4. What genre do you read, but swear you’ll never write?

Probably fantasy. I love fantasy, but don’t think I could ever do it justice. I applaud the authors who do.

5. What do you do when you tell yourself something along the lines of ‘I’ll only procrastinate a little bit longer’?

Netflix. The “next episode starts in 14…13…” will be the death of me. Or I have to be very careful about getting caught up in a book when I have things that need to be done, because I know once I reach the point of no return, I won’t be able to put it down, whether I have a final in the morning or not.

6. What brings you right into a writing mood, and how do you keep it that way?

It’s random, really. I used to be much more dependent on inspiration and being in a “writing mood” and wouldn’t write unless I was inspired or “felt like it” but I don’t know how much I believe in that anymore. Sometimes you just have to sit down and plug away, especially if you have plans of turning this into a profession. But I still absolutely have moments where I’m completely struck by inspiration and it’s all I can think about and I’m just counting the minutes until I can write it all out. It hits so unexpectedly, during class, while driving, whenever. It’s like the story or characters open my eyes to their world and are just screaming write me. I love that.

7. Favourite series, and favourite stand alone?

Again, this is pretty much an impossible question. There’s the classics like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, which I will always love. I loved Tamora Pierce’s series, especially Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and the Tricksters’ duet. Right now I’m in love with Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell trilogy, and am looking forward to the next in CJ Redwine’s Defiance trilogy. Standalone would probably be Peeps by Scott Westerfeld.

8. Have you ever seriously screwed up your sleeping schedule because of a book? Was it worth it, and what were you reading?

What sleeping schedule? No, seriously. I swear I was built to be nocturnal, so it’s always a battle between what my body naturally does and being functional in society, haha. I probably couldn’t count the times I’ve stayed up all night reading a book. Like I said, when I reach the point of no return, I can’t put it down, no matter how exhausted I am.

9. What do you do to remember those ideas you come up with when you’re not able to write?

I keep notebooks everywhere. In my car, by my bed, sometimes even in my  purse. And if I’m somewhere without one, I type it all as a note in my phone until I can get somewhere to write it out. I try to stay as absorbed in that idea as possible to keep it fresh and alive until I can write it.

10. Are there any books or series that you thought were great, and then the ending just ruined everything for you?

Honestly, no. There’s been books without happy endings, or endings I wouldn’t have expected, but I was able to recognize the purpose and the message and why the author chose to end it like that.

11. Why do you write?

Writing is as much a part of me as my heart is. It is something constant, no matter how crazy or overwhelming life gets. I have stories and characters in me that need to be told. There’s no reason why I write–I could just never not write.

 

Nominations:

  1. The Road Jess Traveled By
  2. My Personal Fairytale
  3. Ginz&Tonic
  4. Books Are Delicious
  5. Brownedeyedgirldotcom
  6. Musings From a Ragged Soul
  7. Rebekah Faubion (one of my fabulous CPs!)
  8. Katy Upperman
  9. LoritheBrave
  10. Lethargic Smiles
  11. Looking for Lukah (10 & 11 are POTS-related blogs)

So there you have it! These are some of my favorites that I follow. They are all definitely worth the click 🙂

But now, I must get back to my beta reading and put down some words for today. Happy Easter weekend everyone!