Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Back to Work...

I recently took two months away from my work-in-progress. My kids had a hard time understanding that I was not procrastinating. I'll admit, it looked like procrastination. I read a ton of books (My faves - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Read them now!), baked a ton of treats (homemade strawberry shortcake is definitely worth the effort), tried new recipes (must admit I hate cooking), cleaned out cabinets (and I hate cleaning even more), finished gigantic to-do lists (but you know, there is always a new to-do list growing), visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (so much fun!), cruised the Caribbean Sea (ahhh!), and even got my daughter settled into a new school (Good luck at DHS, Faith!)

I loved my time off, but by the end of it all, I was itching to get back into the fictional world I've been creating for the last year. Truth is, being an author takes a ton of perseverance, but it also takes patience. You can't just zip through from beginning to end, revise, submit, and sell. That's not how it works. At least not for me. Everyone knows you have to be patient when it comes to submissions and sales. But you also need patience when it comes to the writing. Two months away from this project gave me the time and distance I needed to see my story and characters with fresh eyes. That's the first piece of advice I give anyone when they ask me how to revise. Find fresh eyes.

Yesterday I met with my critique group, and they gave me a gentle push in the direction I need to go with this manuscript. The good news... I've written a fast-paced story with action and high stakes. That's actually great news for a writer like me, who normally writes character first, plot way way second. What they all want me to do, and what I know I need to do, is to develop my characters. Really find the voice and depth of everyone in the story. This is sort of backwards for me, but I like it. The pressure of figuring out the plot is off, and now I get to sort of play at being a psychologist. I'm delving into my characters' childhoods and experiences. What makes them tick? What makes them unique? What makes them relatable? How can I connect with each of them?

This is the fun stuff. This is why I'm an author. 

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