Monday, December 7, 2015

IWSG December: All-Nighter, the Day After, and Censorship

Northeast California
Sorry I'm late posting and hopping to other blogs this month. I know you'll understand. I've been out of sorts. I wish I could write a cheerier post but I've been in a glum state of mind. I haven't had success pitching my book. In fact, after a talented writer friend graced me with another time-consuming edit, I'm not even sure if I should be pitching the book. While I had spent hours reducing word count and tightening sentences, I had apparently deleted some important monologue. 

Or had I? On the one hand, my main character is a victim of events in the first half of the book, I could argue. She is too bottled up inside, and frankly, terrified, to size up what's happening around her. She's in survival mode. In the second half, she becomes increasingly aware of things she can do to change her circumstances. In other words, she does some growing up. 

On the other hand, if I can't get readers to the second half of the book, I've failed. What do I do? I'm toying with a prologue and adding monologue with more detail, but only if it fits. Accepting edits also means knowing when to reject edits. I'm filtering words to remove passive voice again and adding stronger verbs, which to be honest, I've done before, but I will try again. 

Last night, I pulled an all-nighter, feeling sorry for myself as I filtered words and tried to write a decent sentence in my sleep. "All I ever wanted was to be good at something," I moaned inwardly. Hey, you were an 'A' student in college and graduated with honors, another voice echoed. "Doesn't matter, sweetie. If I can't write a decent fictional sentence, who gives a sh**," my too tired brain digressed. (~sorry~) Ever have one of those nights? 

(Okay, deleted the above. I hate those moments, but it was what it was, and it feels honest to keep in place).

I'm better today (yep, slept a few hours). Most of the Christmas decorations are up and I had lunch with a friend, who brightened my day. Tis the season to be merry, after all, when God's message of peace, love, and hope takes on special meaning. Counting my blessings.

I read a review of a book I might purchase by Alex Kuo, called Triple Shanghai. It follows the life of a newspaper culture writer and is about political dissent in China, which can mean solitary confinement in that country. I'm in the mood for something different. Kuo contends (according to reviewer Jacob Jones) that "in America the defiant act of protest is more likely to be completely ignored." Is that true? Have we become blinded to events and suffering around us? 

Kuo further writes: "A novel about an unusual subject that is accessible to [the average reader] is probably not a very good novel. The unique and the different should be challenging, infuriating at times, and requires work."

The reviewer responds: "But that is the power of literature--the ability to provoke and shape critical thought, the capacity to change minds, incite revolutions. Would you rather have your writing punished or ignored?"   

He ends with another thought-provoking quote by Kuo (lest we think we are better than China), one that I'm particularly fond of and feel anyone promoting reading should consider: 


"We have censorship in this country, but it's self-imposed. The worst kind of censorship is nobody reads. That's self-censorship." 
(Alex Kuo) 



The Insecure Writers Support Group meets online every first Wednesday of the month. Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG was created to support and encourage all writers in every phase of their work, from writing to marketing. Click here to join, and for information, writing tips, and more.



The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG will be Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!

22 comments:

  1. You poor thing. I hear your funk and depression in your writing here because of all you have put into your book. I also hear how little sleep you recently got..or not. Anyway, sometimes one needs to set something aside for a couple of days, sleep, play Christmas music and enjoy the days before going back to something refreshed and in better spirits. If I have put so much into something, only to find myself getting lost in the negativity, I have to walk away or I might do something which I would regret. I'm glad you saw your friend and have your decorations up but get some sleep and as Scarlett said .."Tomorrow is another day."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Re-reading this, I see how tired I really was, and what would we do without feisty Scarlet's quote? It's time to concentrate on Christmas :)

      Delete
    2. That's good advice Birgit. We all have flat spots and times when we feel disillusioned, frustrated and ready to toss in the towel. Walk away. There have been times during the writing of my next novel when I just couldn't write. I didn't know where to go with the story, what to d with the characters, and have sometimes thought I shouldn't finish it. At those times I left the project alone, and did something else. Bottom line? Be encouraged Sharon. You are not alone.

      Delete
    3. David, I have long watched your struggle to get your books out there, and now you are published. And you never gave up on one, it seems. Your encouragement means a lot to me. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I agree. Give it a few days. Have a break and look at it again. Or - dare I suggest it - put it away for a few months and write something else for a while? Short fiction, perhaps. You'll be surprised how different it looks when you look at it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will, thank you. This advice works for the people in our lives too. Patience is a virtue after all. Have a wonderful Christmas!

      Delete
  3. I write sermons (which I save and sometimes re-use) and once in a while I write a poem or lyrics. I find that they are never really finished, or I am unable to ever be really finished with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As writers and Christians, we share a common bond. Thanks!

      Delete
  4. I always remind myself that even if someone is suggesting changes because a story "lacks something" or there's too much this or that, there may not actually be anything wrong with it. Not boasting, but I feel confident in my ability as a writer, and I have found my voice, so all I need do is find a editor/publisher who 'gets' it. There will be many who won't. Loathe Your Neighbour for example was knocked back over 60 times before I found Jeanne Haskin at Artema. My latest novel is dedicated to her, and her belief in me.I hope this provides some encouragement to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, thank you for your advice! I have a similar sense about my book and have no desire to rewrite or toss it. I have heard advice from others that some books are throw-a-ways, but this is not one of them. I'm determined to get it published. I'll keep looking.

      Delete
  5. Put it away for six months and get fully invested with a new project. When you return to this one, your emotions will be gone and you will be more objective. Also, if the project means enough to you, consider getting the opinion of a competent developmental editor. It would be pricey, but could be worth it. Don't pay for a line editor; get big picture advice first. Fix those issues and then move to the smaller stuff, which includes beefing up verbs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to finish current edits and let it rest till after Christmas. The story is fully developed and well thought out, so a developmental editor is not an option for me. But a sequel is certainly a possibility. Thanks Cathy!

      Delete
  6. I know exactly how you feel and the best thing to do, as you know, is to put it away and let it rest. When you pull it out and read it, you will see things you haven't seen before and revising will be fun again.
    I know you've done a lot of revising and if you don't already, save the first or second draft to a flash drive and make no changes to it. I have found after a book has been edited by me from too many suggestions/ideas and loses "it", I can go back to the original draft and find what I should not have removed and put it back.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always save to a new draft when I start a new edit. I think I have five now. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete
  7. We've all had those moments of doubts.Did I leave the right thing in? should I take this sentence out? it's part of the writing process. I think eventually, we have fewer of those distressing times and we build confidence in our intuition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, my doubts exactly and also, what if I lose my original idea in the process? I look forward to the confidence in my intuition you describe. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. Writing is such an emotional profession. So many lows and highs.
    Glad you're feeling better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I need to be more objective and look at writing as a business, but sometimes my emotions get in the way. It's all part of being human. I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. Just wish I could get on the 'published' map. Thanks, Sandra.

      Delete
  9. I do hope you are feeling much better:
    I enjoyed your spost whether it was late or no.
    Enjoy the rest of the week.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks so much, Yvonne. That means a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Getting another round of edits after you've already edited your story to death can be discouraging. Sometimes you get to the point when you don't know if you're helping with your editing or making it worse. And just because someone else suggests edits, doesn't mean they're the right thing to do. When I get that way, I have to take a break from the manuscript and let it sit for a couple of weeks. Then I go back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. Getting enough sleep helps a LOT. Don't give up! You'll get there.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I need to get some distance so I can take a fresh look, as others have suggested. I DO feel I have edited this story to death. I'm glad I saved all versions. Thanks for your support, Lori!

    ReplyDelete

"Stay" is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary
(A.B. Alcott). Stay and visit awhile. Your comments mean a lot to me.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...