Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vacation Writing Rocks...Mostly.

The last time I was on vacation (in the beautiful Bahamas...a place I basically had to be dragged out of) I managed to finish the first draft of my Middle Grade novel.

I was excited. It was the second book I'd ever finished writing and the first book I ever finished and went "Wow, this could actually be a published novel." (Unfortunately my first novel did not give me the same feeling. It is now trunked while I consider a rewrite).

The good news is, I'm on vacation again! (Doesn't being a teacher rock?) It's winter vacation and I have absolutely no plans. For the first time, I'm not traveling or going home (sorry, Mom). It gave me plenty of time to work on the second draft of my novel.

And I'm done! Yay! But I learned something from doing all this revising.

Revising is hard.

No wonder my students always refuse to do it.

I think to understand why revising is hard for me, you need to know first that I am a very indecisive person (some people will be surprised by this). I can spend an hour going between two stores in a mall trying to decide which sweater is better. No really, I've done it before.  I think I ended up buying both.

Luckily, my wedding helped cure me of much of my indecisiveness.  That's because whenever I asked someone about something, hoping they'd decide for me, I'd get a response like this:

"Whatever you want, Babe." <-From the husband
"What do you like? It's your wedding." <- From Mom.
"I like both." <- From the MOH.

I had to make some tough decisions for that (and I will claim that all the decisions were right). It helped cure me of some of my problems. Some, but not all.

So while I was writing my second draft of my manuscript I still struggled with the same indecisiveness. And, of course, this time I had no one to ask.

Sometimes I would get to a scene and be like "well that's garbage. Take it out." But then I'd sit there and be like, but I like it. And look at that line. It's funny! I can't get rid of it.

Result? I now have several places where I have two scenes in my manuscript and have to go back and choose one. I wasted a lot of time doing this -_-

I guess part of it is just being worried I'll delete it and want it later. The reasonable response to this would be to open another document and store the deleted scenes there...but writers aren't always rational. Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway. Second draft is done. I plan to change one or two small things tomorrow (move a scene, rewrite something from the beginning) and then I'm going to let the story sit for two weeks.

In the meantime, I'll be writing my first query!  Scary!

Do the rest of you have trouble getting rid of scenes you've already written? Or is it easier for you to cut?


  1. I sometimes struggle with the indecisiveness (and my father was the king of "whatever you want" when it came to planning my wedding). That said, I had to make a biiiiig snip (first two chapters *cringe*) when I was writing my latest book. I worried about it, but as soon as I cut it, I felt a million times better.

    (I did store those chapters in a second document labeled "unused prologue". I might tweak them and release it on my blog eventually, so nothing's ever a waste!)

  2. I'm totally full of indecisiveness. How many time on Twitter or AW or my private writing group do I say, "I can't decide if..." And usually I have to make the decision myself because, really, nobody knows what's best for the novel at this point. The only exception is my write-in group because we mostly use that time for plotting and they're really good at picking up on, "Have you thought of this?" which may or may not be helpful but at least gets me thinking.

    Actually, I've found that just articulating the problem for someone else will usually help me figure out the solution. That's because I usually give all my reasons why each potential solution is better and it becomes clear that one really is necessary.

    And kudos on the vacation writing. I am usually soooo productive on vacation, but this year I hardly did anything.

  3. I love vacation writing. I'm on vacation now and I'm writing like a...person who is on vacation, so not writing much at all. When 'vacation writing' I spend time away from the big projects. I do more free writing, casual writing, experimental writitng. It's a good time to just have fun writing without many constraints.

    Good luck with yer rewrites and revisions!