It's Wednesday, yo. 16 days until my revision deadline. Don't remind me. Seriously, why'd you even bring it up? Stop Judging me!! Gah!!!
1. A week ago Monday, I created a weekly blog feature: Questions from the Question-Maker.
And then last Monday? Totally forgot. So I guess it's not a weekly feature yet. Looks like I'll need to tweak it a bit. Maybe I'll take the issue up with the little man behind the curtain of the blog. (He's sort of a cross between the Wizard of Oz and an Ooompa Loompa).
B. I was interviewed on the Working Writer's blog. Go check it out if you get a chance, and leave a comment if you feel so inclined. :)
i. The Latest Gems I've Learned from Revising
I'm really coming into the crunch time for my revisions, and I've noticed a few tics of mine that keep popping up. So I thought I'd share things I've learned here with you, in case any of you are in the middle of your own revision H-E-L-L. (Helping to Educate and Learn Letter)
1. Pay attention to your tics.
In the first book I ever wrote, my main character had a lot of breathing problems. Her chest would feel tight, her breath would get caught, she'd fight for air...
This time around, all of my characters flinch. A lot.
Someone looks at them funny, they flinch.
Someone says something mean, they flinch.
A gust of wind approaches, they flinch.
They find out the end of the world is near, they flinch.
My book is full of a bunch of people with nervous tics. Not that there's anything wrong with nervous tics. Some of my best friends (including me) have adorable nervous tics.
But when every single character is clocking in at about 20 flinches per second, it's bound to resemble a scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The funny thing is, I never noticed the pattern until this last round of revision, and my editor politely made note of it. After she pointed it out, I flinched, and then I was all, "How did I not see this before? It's atrocious!"
So, here's the tip:
Fresh Eyes can Uncover Tics (Not to be confused with the insects who burrow under your skin)
2. The world in my head often doesn't make it onto the paper.
Someone once told me that if the reader has all the answers at the beginning, he won't want to keep reading.
I think I took this piece of advice to the extreme, to the point where I didn't even have a clue what was going on.
I now make a conscious effort to err on the side of giving too much information, and even then I have people demanding more. I get editorial notes like this*:
Fictional editor (not my editor): "Um, this section makes me think there's a key, somewhere, that will unlock the treasure."
And I'm all: "Duh, of course there's a key. It was hidden on the earth like a century ago, in a cave in the Andes mountains. That's like the crux of the book."
fictional editor: "Where is this information in the book?"
me: "Silly editor. That all happened before the book begins. I don't want to waste my time with backstory."
fictional editor (with a sigh): "So how is the reader supposed to know about it?"
me: "I'm beginning to see your point... I'd just hate to spoon-feed every detail to the reader."
fictional editor: "Then perhaps you'd rather just give the readers the title of the book, and tell them to figure out the story."
me: "Fine. I'll tell them there's a key. But I'm keeping mum on the dragon that lives below the school."
fictional editor: "Good, because this isn't a fantasy."
*The above conversation is completely made up. There is no key in my book. And of course there's no such thing as the Andes Mountain range.
So, here's my second tip:
It's Okay to Let the Reader in on the Story
Are any of you revising? What have you learned along the way?