Over the past few weeks, I have been editing a novel manuscript which I had considered query-ready at least two years ago. Now I am changing it again because I have decided to self-publish it. This final round of editing may confuse some people; why edit it again if it was ready to be queried? The answer is simple. I want to put the writing back into my own voice.
So it has been a strange couple of years. I had not intended or expected to abandon this blog when the Covid pandemic started, but it happened. When the whole world hit pause on life as we knew it, my sense of needing to create things paused as well. I stopped writing. I stopped editing. I stopped taking my camera out on walks for nature photography. (Granted, travel was not advised in the early months of Covid and therefore, day trips were not an option, but I'm still surrounded by a respectable amount of wild property at home. Lack of travel opportunities is not a good excuse for me on the photography front.)
We're only halfway through March, but with all the pandemonium going on in the world right now, it seems to me that now is a great time to start planning for the April 2020 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you're stuck at home, there's no excuses for procrastinating on reading, research, or writing right now. And with the wide-spread encouragement of social distancing, we all have an excuse to blow off social engagements without the risk of getting guilt-tripped or feeling bad about it later. Welcome to a brand-new world of state-sanctioned introversion!
A couple of weeks ago I decided to restart my current WIP after getting four chapters into my first draft. Despite following my outline and keeping with my proposed character development, there was a major flaw growing in the storytelling which I did not want in my story. One of my characters was in danger of developing a mindset akin to Stockholm Syndrome, but that does not match up with who and what he is. So I started over and added a new character who would help alleviate this flaw.
I'm coming to the end of editing before trying to pitch and/or query my fantasy novel manuscript. It's been a long road. I finished writing the story several years ago, started edits and rewrites, and then set it aside for over a year. I love the characters and settings I developed in this work, but I was a afraid no one would like the story. And so I let no one else see it despite wanting to get it published someday.
Again, my weekend was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. After fighting with sinus headaches for most of Saturday and Sunday, I ran into a scene during my editing sessions which reads clunky and rough compared to previous scenes. I know this is the type of writing I produce when following the advice of "just get it written and fix it later," and now I am stuck in a position I hate when it comes to writing. I find myself asking if the current text is worth salvaging or if I should simply start over from scratch. Which will be easier? Which will be more time efficient? Which will get me to a point of being happy with the quality of the scene? This dilemma is why I prefer to address quality during my drafting process. Why write something I know will never make the final cut?
It's about one-third of the way through November, and I've already had a busy month thus far. Every year I know once Halloween has passed, my winter holiday preparations will begin and there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wish to do. This is why I am disappointed in myself today. Instead of working on any of my many projects, I spent a lazy day in front of the TV and laptop and did quite a bit of pleasure reading too.
October is winding down and that means National Novel Writing Month is peeking around the corner. November can be a great month to be a writer, but preparing for the month-long writing marathon can be a bit daunting. Personally, I never attempt to achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words during November, not with Thanksgiving celebrations and prep-work for Christmas shrinking my free time during the month. But I do enjoy being able to connect with other active writers who chase that difficult goal. NaNoWriMo is a great time to discuss writing strategies, conquering writer's block, planning vs pantsing, and a wide range of plotting, setting, and character topics.
I made quite a bit of progress on my working vacation, and now that I'm home again, I want to keep my momentum going. I cut in half the amount of chapters I have left to edit on my current WIP. Once I finish the last few chapters, I plan to do a final read-through before prepping for querying and pitching in December. I still have my doubts about this manuscript's quality, but then I do admit to having a perfectionist streak in me and needing to get over the fact I can't please everyone.
As one of those people who has limited time to work on my personal projects, taking a working vacation has become a regular occurrence year after year. For me, this means taking my camera and laptop along on my trips so I can work on two of my hobbies at once, photography and writing. This year will be no different.