Monday, October 15, 2007

Miles to Go

Posted by Lisa

In her post last Thursday, Lynne discussed revising our work. In the world of writing, there are times we kill our darlings. This is surgery a writer MUST perform at times. It may involve deleting that one extra word, taking out a sentence, or rearranging a paragraph. Yet it may entail more, much much more. The success of your manuscript may demand more – mine did.

This past week, I completely re-engineered my entire work in progress. My first draft was already completed, my second draft, too. I was planning on sending it to my agent by December. Well, that’s changed… It wasn’t working, not one bit. My teen protagonist wasn’t telling HER story; she was telling her mother’s story. As I re-read chapters one and two, I understood in a light bulb moment: the tragedy that befell her mother had to happen to my character instead.

I want to write a brilliant story, like “Al Capone Does My Shirts,” “Star Girl,” “Speak,” “The Giver.” My writers' group holds the bar high for me. They actually expect a lot (note to writers' group: thank you).

Will I write a brilliant novel? Wouldn’t that be nice. I can and will try, certainly. I can dream, hope, pray, schedule my time, and organize my life to enable myself to succeed. Already, my novel’s better, so much better.

But, oh, I have such work before me. How I wish I could send off a finished manuscript today, maybe tomorrow. I can’t because I won’t let it go until it’s as excellent as it can be. I have hours of revision before me.

“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.” - Robert Frost

4 comments:

The Writers' Group said...

Will I write a brilliant novel?

Oh Lisa, yes, you will! Your writing is beautiful. As we say every time we meet, take as long as you need.

I believe in you and your story.

Lynne

Melissa Marsh said...

This is such a frustrating thing. There were times I wanted to send my novel off, but I couldn't because I knew it wasn't right yet - and fortunately, after all the revisions, I finally knew when it WAS right. I think our subconscious has a way of telling us!

five said...

Lisa,
Isn't it such a great feeling to have that sense, that light bulb moment, as you say! (Despite the amount of work it involves).I imagine your fingers flying over the keys as you lay out your story.

I love "Al Capone Does My Shirts!" I read it this summer...my son had it on his summer reading list.

Best wishes on the revision!

Mo

reality said...

It was Amy from Writers Group who made me think about my MS via email and on my blog; when she asked me the question: Who's story is it?
And I changed the POV for the third time when I got around to agree with her.
So here I am doing a semi re write. And I think I'm better off.
And yes, no chance off that December deadline I set for myself. Now there is no deadline. I need to finish another first draft first.