Those of you who have been on my blog from the beginning will be familiar with the long journey of this book. I went back through my folders and I actually started jotting ideas for the book back in 2010 and then started it in early 2011. I kept pushing back the date for delivery to my critique group because I was stuck on that darn plot point. I had my “meltdown” in January 2012 when I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. I took my 8-month hiatus from the novel and focused on other creative endeavors.
This past Friday, two years after the meltdown, I clicked Send and off it went! I let out a bit “Woohoo!” and then did a little happy dance around my writer’s studio. The manuscript needs work, but my group are masters are helping re-vision so I’m excited to get their feedback.
Some interesting tidbits I took away from the experience, mostly in the past month of so:
- Setting smaller goals was key. Once I got to the (pretty skeletal) end, I went back through and noted all the scenes I still had to write from scratch or expand (and I’d highlighted them in the manuscript). Having a list was huge motivation because I could cross something off when it was completed.
- Having a writing buddy was key. The wonderful writer, Lisa Brown Roberts, agreed to have a daily check-in. She sent me word counts for her new YA, and I sent word counts or scene completion e-mails. Knowing I had to report to her every day kept me going.
- Letting the picture book writer in me come out. During revision, I found my picture book eye kicking in, spotting sentence after sentence where I was saying the same thing more than once – either the action was conveying mood or one line had already done it. In picture books it’s about leaving things out that the illustrator can do for you and in novels, it’s leaving things out that you’ve already done in another way. I was stunned that there was actually something I could bring from picture books to novels, but it was very cool.
- Always, always celebrate each milestone along the way…