Sunday, August 10, 2014

ComicCon, Book Lovers, and Revisions

So this happened today:

Hello there, People-Watching-Pa-Looza!

Definitely a great way to end the week! I've never been to a Comic Con before, my only entry into that world via The Big Bang Theory. I know how the San Diego one--the Big One--sells out very quickly because it has a lot of Hollywood people there. We had Hollywood people in Boston, too. Including the guy who played Spike in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I was excited to see him from afar (I'm not paying $50 to get his autograph--I rather spend $50 getting new pens to sign my own autograph). But he was chewing a big wad of gum, like that Big League stuff from the 80s. It was if the whole package was in his mouth. 

I wasn't too traumatized. I was always an Angel girl anyway.

Showing some Betty and Veronica love.

We also did our weekly library run this week, where I heard La Petite Adult tell a schoolmate of hers "I'm only getting 15 this week. And I can get whatever I want." The little girl responded, "You're lucky."

Is it just me, or is it hard to fathom that seven-year-old girls can't check out whatever they want? If they can read it, let them! If there's adult content, talk to them about it! (I was eight when I read Wuthering Heights. And The Thorn Birds. And Sidney Sheldon's long list of scandalous books.)

I turned out pretty okay. (Keep it to yourself if you think otherwise.) ;o)

"Only" 15 books this week. Mostly the Droon series.

This week was also the week I started REVISIONS.

To me, I feel like my fast-writing technique (approximately 2,000 words per hour) is the fun, whirlwind portion of a book. "Where is this going to go? Ooh, where are we going next? What are we going to eat? He's going to touch her where???"

Then there's the flip side of that lovely time: revision. This is similar to being in a relationship that's one or two years in. You might be living together, let's say. And let's say you find out the boy never takes out trash--ever, even if fish bones and raw egg have been dividing and multiplying a new airborne disease for the last three days. This is where you decide if you're in or out of this relationship.

But you have to be in because, heck, you've invested so much time into this guy!

So you decide to do what you can to make the fact that he never takes out the garbage bearable. In revision, this means making him save a lost puppy one busy morning. Or showing up unexpectedly at Urgent Care after the heroine breaks her nose, holding the keys to a new Aston Martin outside.


Revision is such an individual process, too. I know some who want to revise 10 pages and/or 2,000 words a day. 

I would cry if I gave myself these goals. I would never want to erase a bad/awful/puke-inducing word if I went by these rules!

Instead, I have a five-page, single-spaced editorial list of questions. Things like this are on it:


  __ The dramatic question and if it's BIG ENOUGH

  __ The heroine's dilemma and if it's BIG ENOUGH

  __ The hero's dilemma and if it's BIG ENOUGH

  __ The hero/heroine conflict and if it's MESSY ENOUGH
Notice it's a checklist. I don't check off anything yet. I go through and answer these points as if they were questions. For instance:

Is the dramatic question there? Yes
Is the dramatic question big enough? No. Not death-like stakes. Time to up the ante. Insert blah and blah to get that done.

I have written down what I need to do--just writing notes took three hours. I figure I have double that--6 hours--to implement them (after I put them in Act I, II, and III order).

All those notes about what I need to revise. Le sigh.

I'm doing all of this for a 10,000-word short story. A story that's FREE. Imagine the work I do for bigger stuff. That's un-free. 

After Revision #2, I'll be on to Revision #3. Then a read-thru/proofread. Then it's off to Betas who will tell me just how dumb I'm still being.

And the above is why I do things like jog. And play tennis. And go on the driving range when I find one. Stress relief, babies. Stress relief. 

Hitting a bucket of balls. I think I hit two correctly. Yay me!
If you want to read about the specifics of this process, start here:

 Until the next Sunday Story...
P.S. If you're a writer and need to be accountable for just getting the words down, you can find me on Twitter (@sydney_strand) where you can join me in #1k1hr and #1k30min sprints. Come join the fun, aka The Whirlwind Romance Portion of Writing. ;o)