1. Revise on paper, printing out four pages to a page so I can really see things.
2. Get notes from critique partners and my notes together and type them in, possibly making more changes as I go.
3. Do a final read aloud of the manuscript and send to agent.
I planned to be at Stage 3 by now. In fact, I really wanted to be at Stage 3 on Friday because I have a whole lucky Friday the 13th thing. (I discussed that, other things I consider lucky and trying to make my own luck over at YA Outside The Lines in case you missed it.) But guess what, I'm still not finished with Stage 1, which I absolutely felt I had to be today because now I have a Stage 1.5 where I have to go back and look at several scenes where I know I need to heighten a certain characters emotional response and I need to fix Chapter 1. Again. Stage 1.5 needs it's own full day, which was supposed to be today, but instead I'm still rushing to finish Stage 1 and maybe start Stage 1.5 because I don't have a full day tomorrow (which I'll get to in a minute.) Then on to Stage 2. I really only intend to do the type up the notes part of Stage 2 and not make further changes. At least I hope not. I'd like to think that Stage 1 has taking so long because I have been thorough. Stage 1 went from "revise" to "stare at every word on the page, ponder it and tear every phrase a part until it is perfect meaning you may spend hours on one paragraph." I think (HOPE!) this will basically render Stage 2 pointless except for the typing part which is very necessary as I do not think my agent would appreciate reading a bunch of crossed out purple scrawls on miniaturized pages.
Holy crap, Stage 1 has gone on for so long that I officially ran out of ink in my purple editing pen. I freaked. I found another purple pen but it's not quite the same. Also this must mean the original manuscript that I sent to my agent and CPs really sucked. Okay not *really,* the story and the characters are there (mostly besides my emotional difficult character. Why do I always have an emotionally difficult character. Emily, Kara and now Zoe. Maybe it's because I am emotionally difficult) but there was a lot of overwriting and awkward phrasing. Like to the point where I wonder why I or anyone else ever thought I was any good at this whole writing thing. I mean seriously look at that sentence. I or anyone else? That reads so terribly. Is it even grammatically correct? Did I ever understand grammar? And seriously how many times can my characters squeeze each other's hands and blush or flush or have their cheeks/faces pinken/redden. That makes the book sound a lot dirtier than it is. There is a shit-ton of crying and tearing up as well.
Yes, so that is my progress report. I'm still stuck in Stage 1. It may be a permanent state but I hope not because at a certain point Stage 1 drives you insane and makes you feel that you have lost all grasp on language. I will be pointing and grunting soon. And possibly doing that tearing up, pinkening, jaw clenching (let's not forget that either!) shit my characters do so much until someone comes by and squeezes or pats my hand.
*whispers* But I still love the fuck out of this characters and their story. I fall asleep thinking about them. I want to make them so good that my agent will send them directly to editors who will fight over them and get this book out to you as fast as humanly possible.
*self doubt enters the room* I mean, mostly I love them, except when I think I'll never be able to correctly convey their emotions or effortlessly weave their back story or describe their facial tics and social awkwardness in a unique fashion. *sobs* I am not good enough for them!
*lifts head off desk and searches for purple pen*
That, my friends, is the revisions process in the land of Stephanie.
Yes, thank you, do you think I'm insane yet? Don't worry too much, I wrote this blog post on Sunday night after only 3 hours of sleep and a lot of time with the purple pen.
My point, because I did have one at some point (OMG two uses of the word "point" in the same sentence. WHERE IS THE PURPLE PEN????)... My point, because I did have one.... when I set out to write this (ooh, good change!) is that until I finish these revisions, I am giving up on blogging (err except for my Thursday post that I am scheduled to do on Teen Fiction Cafe), reading other blogs, reading/replying to non-urgent email and doing anything other than tweeting about my goals, random shit my cats do to distract me from my goals, the return of Roger Howarth to One Life To Live (can I get a fuck yeah?), and bartending (because bartending and One Life To Live actually have to do with my book). So I apologize for that. Hopefully I will be out of the cave on the 23rd (because that's a good number, my husband was born on a 23rd day, and also he is going to get tattooed on the 24th and I want to go watch) or the 27th at the latest (also a good number and goddammit, I will not let this madness go on beyond that).
But I will be coming out of the cave tomorrow night (remember how I said I didn't have a full writing day tomorrow. Now I explain that) to teach a class at Story Studio about character. (I'm good at that. Revising not so much). I think there are still spaces if you are tempted. Info here.
And speaking of future emergings from the cave. There will be events in two different states that start with W coming up! One is rather soon, June 17th, I will be in Waukesha, Wisconsin on a panel with a signing to follow. Deets are here. Then, I don't have full details yet and this one is a long way off, but I'm going to be doing an event with some of my favorite people in the world in my favorite city in the world. That would be Seattle, Washington! I really need to stop visiting there so I can afford to move there, but this event was "put it on the credit card and hope you get a book deal soon" worthy. October 2. That's all I can say right now. October 2, I will see you, Seattle, in a professional capacity. I will see you in a personal capacity sooner than that. (Ohhhh vacation, you cannot come fast enough.)
Okay so that is almost everything, except DUDES, this contest doesn't have entries!!!! WTF! It was a really fun interview. Daniel Kraus and his books are awesome and you can win ROTTERS for free. It's not hard to enter, just go there and comment. If you are ambitious, tweet about it. I do not understand why this contest has no entries and I am trying not to take it personally. I'm guessing I lost a lot of blog readers in my absence and am going to have to rebuild. Is that it? Do you not like contest anymore? Do you not like interviews? Am I not allowed to interview guys who rock, only women? (Cause that is not gonna fly. I will always feature women, but guys rock too.) I'm trying to get a handle on what people want from me for when I start up blogging again because I've got a super secret exciting project coming up soon as well as needing to start a new book (*if* my agent likes the revisions on the bartender book enough to send it out, otherwise, I will be back to the drawing board with it again), so I want to spend my blogging time wisely or else I'm going to stop doing it.... Okay, so I probably won't stop doing it because I blog for me just as much as I blog for you. I mean, right now I so wish I had the time to tell you about the AWESOME new teen room at my public library (but I wrote a newspaper article about it, which I will tweet later this week) and I wish I had time to vent about this bullshit going down at the high school I went to (AKA the high school from BALLADS). Seriously there is a rant in me about that (including the lovely, typical Oak Park OMG he doesn't go to our high school anymore response), but it will have to wait.
But tell me, what kind of blogs do you like? Me ranting about that kind of stuff? Me writing about memories and personal experiences that no doubt a rant about my high school and hometown would turn into? Me writing about my often crazy writing process? Me writing about bands and books I like? Me writing about weird quirky shit I like/do ie. my bartending experiences and soap opera obsessions? Sharing photos? Interviews and contests?
Because I like doing all of this stuff and will probably continue doing all of it, but if a lot of people have a certain preference I will do more of whatever that is. So please, give me input, people!
And now into the writing cave because as usual that blog turned out a lot longer than I meant. Ooops, sorry, that will definitely a goal, shorter blog posts. But now I have a book to shorten. See you in a week or two (hopefully a week and a half!)