Thursday, January 28, 2010

Revision Aftershock

I've done it again.  Another revision.  This one I attacked, obsessed over, and made a burnt offering of my most precious 8 hours of sleep a night to.  Okay, I can't put all of my insomnia off on the revision process, but it played its part.  And now I'm left with the after effects of it all.  I wonder how other writers feel after a revision—disappointed?  invigorated?  defeated?  convinced they've just mastered a best-seller?  Right now I just feel a little lost.

At first, I was completely psyched about what I had done, even if I managed to cut only 5,000 little darlings out my manuscript. YA became a longish MG...that's okay, right? all those questions I thought I had slain have become little ghosts haunting me night and day.  I can't help it.  I have that perfectionist gene.  You know, the one that forces you to retake the test in your mind 20 minutes after you finished it in real life.  And you remember how you answered certain questions and are absolutely convinced that you did it wrong and completely screwed up the entire test, never mind the things you did right.  I hate that feeling.

I do think the changes have made my book stronger.  Yes, I do still love my book as always.  But as I get ready to throw myself into the next exciting WIP (which will be completely awesome!), I'm finding it hard to let go of the last one.  As I try to get inside the head of my new narrator, the last one is still tapping me on the shoulder and asking ME questions.  Are you sure that's enough?  Did you kill some of the good stuff?  Am I still your favorite?  

As far as that last question goes, one thing I have learned through all of my writing and revision is that I am still growing as a writer.  And if that ever ceases, then I may as well pull the plug.  So I've got to find a way to put that nagging little nabob in cold storage and clear my head for the next visitor.  Perhaps an exorcism?  Too extreme.  Straight-jacket?  Too literal.  Hmmm...okay, there can be only one answer to this problem...HERSHEY SPECIAL DARK PIECES.

So off I go to grab a bag and then sit down with my new narrator and have a chat, while my agent entertains Mr. Nattering Nabob.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Do You Breathe Through Your Eyelids?

Saturday—another day of un-writing my WIP, and I'm wondering, do I really want to hide in my office or do I need a change of scenery where people are chatting, coffee grinders grinding, steamers steaming, and whiny coffee house music trickling through the PA? For some reason that started a little dialogue in my head that ended with a very different question:  Am I a Lava Lizard or a Hermit Crab?

If you're confused, maybe I should let you in on a little more of that conversation.  It all comes down to the pros and cons of distraction, and yes, there are two sides to everything. If you're a fan of BULL DURHAM, you might remember the breathe-through-your-eyelids garter method.  That wonderful exchange between Susan Sarrandon and Tim Robbins when she wants him to act like a Lava Lizard (from the Galapagos Islands).  You know, the critter with the parietal eye that allows him to "sense" the things he can't see with his regular eyes.  His pitching sucks because he can't get out of his head enough.  He can only throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball...which hits everything (including the Bull mascot) but the strike zone.  So Annie talks Nuke into wearing her garter belt to get him off center enough to let loose.  He needs to be distracted a little to do his best work.  

I know that some writers prefer to hide themselves away in their cave, with absolutely no noise, nothing to distract them, like a Hermit Crab tucked into his shell.  Others thrive on a little distraction—music, television on in the background, people all around, like Lava Lizard working his parietal eye.  I'm somewhere in the middle.

Back in the day when I first started to dedicate myself to writing, my space was a corner in the kids' playroom.  Nap times were fringe times when I got the most work done.   Eventually, however, nap time was out the window and I had to leave the house just to get out of reach of all the "Mama, Mama, Mama" distractions and focus on my writing.  Armed with earphones and my laptop, I quickly learned how to tune out the cafĂ© noise and write.  Now that I have my own space, I find that it really depends on my mood.  Bad television in the background can work, but so can fabulous play lists that echo the tone of my WIP.  I have to say, though, quiet time is still the best at home.  But, there is something about the white noise of a public place that forces me to draw from a deeper place. So being a Lava Lizard once in while really rocks.  The rose goes in the front, big guy.

So what about other writers out there?  How do you work best—Lava Lizard or a Hermit Crab?  Take the poll at the right or leave a comment...or do both!