It’s almost as if I was never gone…

I’ve been keeping this blog since 2008

Yeah, that feels like a long freaking time. I vividly remember starting it. I was beginning my first year of law school and refreshing the Absolute Write “No news is no news” thread once every three minutes. Literally. I was obsessed with Miss Snark then and I mean, obsessed. And having a blog was, like, the most important part of writing ever because I needed to have an online presence. Everybody told me so.

And to some extent, it really was true. The blog helped tremendously. I met some of my best writing friends (to this day). I practiced writing daily. Shortly thereafter I signed with an awesome agent from Writers House. Editors contacted him based on my blog looking for my book. And I got to track this crazy writing journey. I mean, I still love going back and reading those old posts.

I kept it diligently and enjoyed receiving emails from readers of the blog and fellow writers. The blog was just something I did. Part of my almost daily routine. I imagined announcing that I’d signed with an agent (which I did and that was great fun) and announcing my first book deal here. I was sure I’d announce that I was engaged and that I’d gotten married. That’s how connected I’d become to the community and how much it meant to me.

Well, spoiler alert: I got engaged (although not to the guy I’d thought I would back in 2008!) and I’m  married now. In fact, my name isn’t even Chandler Craig anymore! Whoa. I’ve had 3 books that I wrote published. I’ve signed 5 writing contracts. All this happened and I didn’t even post it up here and, you know what, that made me kind of sad. And not because I needed some online presence for publishing (although I’ll get back to that in a second), but because it was always part of the story I’d imagined. One of the little mini celebrations that I’d enjoy once each of those things happened.

But I guess it’s not surprising that I didn’t celebrate exactly how I’d imagined, since basically nothing in my writing career has gone how I’d predicted. The book I signed with my agent for didn’t sell and then somehow (and very happily, I’ll add) I became a ghostwriter, an author like I wanted, but under different names. I didn’t really need any online presence for books that weren’t under my name in the first place and I had crazy deadlines and a more than full time job as a lawyer to contend with. So I’m happy to report that although I wasn’t blogging, I was writing, which is ultimately the point, right?

But I’ve still missed it. I’ve been sad that I haven’t documented this part of my journey. I haven’t posted since February and this year has been crazy! So much has happened–what was I thinking? what was I doing? Who knows.

But I think one reason this year has been the one that resulted in so much neglect to the ye olde blog is because I’ve been really focused on craft. I’ve stretched myself by doing samples from YA historical to Contemporary Tween to YA horror and Adult non-fiction. I even took a Mediabistro class to dig in in earnest. It’s also been a year filled with reading. Lots and lots of reading. All in the name of learning (and maybe an unhealthy love of, yanno, reading, too, but whatever) and I hope it’s started to pay off. My batting average for landing jobs is certainly improving. While rejection is still and always will be part of the publishing biz, I’m no longer terrified of the audition. I feel like I have about as good a shot as anyone, which is a huge improvement in my writing self-confidence. I can’t yet talk about everything that’s now in the works–though soon, soon, I hope. I’ve connected with some of THE most amazing people in show business and I can’t tell you how excited I am by certain projects on the horizon.

So there lies one third of my motivation in reviving the blog. See, one such amazing show business person who shall not be named googled me and stumbled upon this site and–eek!–it hadn’t been updated in forever! Of course, she was kind enough not to mention that.  Remember this call is with someone who I never in a million years would think would bother to look me up. Now, imagine my surprise in my first call with her when she says that she loves that I research serial killers and never leave the house without waterproof mascara. Well, after I ruled out the theory that she was stalking me and/or living in my spare bedroom, first my brain exploded and then I realized I had that info in my “About Me” section, which, yes, meant she’d clicked over to the sad abandoned carnival ride that is FWF.

The second third of my motivation comes from the fact that I have a book that is going on submission under my name sometime in the hopefully not-so-distant future. Yes, I’m freaking out. Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I’m tempted to hide under my bed. It’s been years since I’ve had a book under my own name ready to go out to editors. *flail* This book is YA and it’s a collaboration of sorts with a former ICM film agent-extraordinaire who has started a company that has paid me an advance and will be immediately marketing the film rights for said projects.

The last third is more touchy feely. I remember the angst and the worrying and the sheer anticipation that came form submitting to agents and then to editors and I would hate not to document that as I re-start down this path come January. So for now, I’m in the middle of edits with the team that’s bent on making this book as awesome as possible and then polishing up the synopsis and then reviewing pitch letters with my agent and nailing down a title and THEN it’ll be time to sacrifice a goat to the universe or something for good luck, because, as you know, you can never have too much of that.

Tips for Nailing Your Middle Grade Audition

Here’s how it works: Typically, a book packager, literary development company, or publisher will have a concept or a series already in place. The editors have all sat around a table, throwing popcorn at each other and braiding one another’s hair and now have this idea that they are super proud of. One problem: They need someone to write it.

Meanwhile, you’ve been pounding your head against the keyboard, drinking copious amounts of coffee and applying for every writing job you’ve ever seen posted on your most frequented and beloved message boards. You’re a YA writer? Who cares! Throw caution to the wind! Apply for that middle grade series! Oh wait? They wrote you back? Damn. You’ve never even read a middle grade book before? And they want a sample in a month?

Of course, not like this was ME when I decided to apply for my first work-for-hire. I’m just saying…in case anyone was interested…

Here’s the deal. A book packager is typically going to want a 4,000-ish word audition based on an outline or a spark. The packager will generally want close third person, which for many writers can feel like a huge leap from the way they write their own work. Here are a few starting tips on how to nail your Middle Grade Audition:

1.  Vary your sentence structure. A lot of people aren’t used to writing from a close, third person point of view. I know I wasn’t. It can feel like you are typing, “Main character does this. Main character does that,” over and and over gain. So remember that you can use many of the same “tricks” from your first person writing. Use questions to show what the protagonist is thinking. Add shorter punchy sentences that sound voicey but could actually work from either point of view. (i.e. “This was not good.”– works for first, works for third).

2.  You can use direct thought. For instance, a sentence in your character’s words can be a fun, easy way to jazz up the page. Slap italics on it and voila!

3. Watch your word choices. Just because you are writing from third doesn’t mean you can go around using all those fancy words from your Webster’s Dictionary desk calendar. Third person still has voice and you want to choose words that are as close to your protagonist’s voice as possible. But good news: That opens up a whole bottle of fun, new words that your protagonist would say…like…loop-the-loop or curly-cue or icky. See? Way better.

4. Have fun with the details. Is a character typing an email? Write it out and use that space to showcase the protagonist’s voice. Is the character listening to a song by a fictional band? Give me some of the lyrics. What’s the band’s name? Is there something silly going on in the background of your scene? Play with a few lines of dialogue for a comedic interlude.

5. Remember your audience. For instance, if it’s middle grade girls, don’t skimp on the description of clothes and fun accessories.

6. The publisher’s outline is both a blessing and a curse. You’re never left wondering what to do next, but it can be hard to distance yourself from the outline enough to add your own flavor. It may be helpful to get the bare bones of the story down first and then go back without the outline to embellish. This means you have to…

7. …Leave enough time. Something I’m bad at, but I know I always do a better job when I have a bit of distance. It’s tempting to say you can churn out 4k words in 24 hours, but don’t. Still leave time for your beta readers’ imput because even though you won’t have as much commentary about plot from them, this is an exercise that focuses on the actual word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence craft of writing. Tell your critique partner the feel of the book that you are striving for. Share the pitch with them if you can. That way that reader understands the effect you are trying to create.

8. If you get the opportunity, ask questions. Sometimes this isn’t appropriate. But I have worked for editors with which I was able to chat before I began. I find it helpful to ask what they would compare this work to. X Meets X. This gives a better idea of the voice which they envision. This is their baby, too, after all. Then ask them to describe the book with a few adjectives. Is it campy? Snarky? Melodramatic? Anything to help give you direction. It can be tough when you are working off someone else’s concept.

Weekday Warrioring Day 3

I have not been much of a warrior today. Okay, fine, I’ve actually been getting my tan on by the pool while reading Rachel Vincent’s My Soul To Take.

But, I’m back in my apartment and I feel certain the UV rays have brought some sort of latent inspiration to the surface, right?

So, I followed through with my plan that I came up with while blogging yesterday. I rewrote a chapter into first person and made changes to fit with the new plot. I wrote a little over 1k in new words yesterday and 3.2k in rewrites. I’m working very hard at never feeling disappointed in myself so long as I’m making foward progress.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve written close to 50k on this story and yet 16,500 words are in my current draft. I’ve switched from 1st person, to 3rd, and back to 1st again. I have a completely different plot. I’ve nixed characters I liked. I’ve changed the main character’s name. But you know what? I consider this all progress for me as a writer because a year ago, I would never have been willing to scrap so much. I’d try to make it work the way it was.

Alright, so I have two main things to share for today:

1. I’ve been perusing some online writing workshops and online classes. I read through one on characterization recently that I liked. Admittedly, I didn’t make it through the whole class transcript, but still. I felt like it made intuitive sense to me. So much advice on characterization deals with discovering your characters’ favorite food, favorite color, favorite TV show, signature drink…and that’s all well and good but I rarely define my best friends by those things. In fact, I don’t even know those things about my best friends. So, for me, the best way to get to know a character is the same way I’d get to know anyone else. Except in fiction, it’s by writing them. You might be surprised when you look below and see that just yesterday after 50k written in this story, I sat down to think about who my characters are as people, but hey, that’s how I did it. I’ve also only written down the barebones of who each one is. I’ll continue to learn, but as I go back and read through I want to continue to flesh out these main fenceposts about the characters, if that makes sense. I want to tie them back to these descriptive pinpoints. The other piece of advice I read that I sometimes forget about it adding character flaws. I want to try to add a fault for almost every good trait I give. But the good/bad traits have to make sense. I can’t say Character X has a really sweet spirit, but also kills turtles for fun. The fault usually needs to stem from the positive trait. Now, that I’ve outlined some of my characters’ faults, I’m hoping that I can use character flaws to create more conflict.

2. Below, I’ve pasted what I worked on yesterday. I’ve redacted a lot for spoilers and also because I’m not ready to give away the main concept. This format for organization is new for me, but it made sense at the time and might help somebody. Like I said, I’ve written out of order, so this was my attempt at de-cluttering my brain.

CHARACTER PROFILES:

Ronny Becker – bright, high-spirited, Punky Brewster, spunky, candid

Faults: pig-headed, stubborn, can-do attitude can get her in trouble, feisty like her mother, spring-it-and-wing-it as she dubs herself, hotheaded, curiosity killed the cat

Arabeth Rose – proper, ballerina-esque, unwavering devotion to manners & etiquette, proper, sweet-spirited, kind

Faults: timidity to a fault, adheres blindly to convention & to what she is familiar with, gets her feelings hurt easily

Canterbelle – mature, super student, adult, beautiful, strong sense of self

Faults: likes to feel superior & feels she’s earned it

Mrs. Becker – strong mom, crazy grey-tinged hair, thin, loves her children intensely, conventional mom, takes her job as a mother seriously, a feisty woman, but methodical

Faults: feels the ends justify the means

Madam Lycus – olive-skinned, dark hair, thin, flowing robes, one of the 16

Faults: devotion to her students; to hell with the rest

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Chapter 1-Find burnt up version of [redacted]; hatch plan for Ronny to take her place (Revision notes: need to make less graphic; change to statue of ash; add in Thomas medicine/[redacted]; clarify motives; need to convey that Thomas will be in on the scheme—how old is he?)
Chapter 2-Ronny arrives at Bellaron; falls in w/ girls; blows off Arabeth; intro Canterbelle
Chapter 3-Girls paired together; Ronny doesn’t know new name “Gabrielle;” attention hog (Revision notes: Sophia maybe shouldn’t room with Lucia? Change Lucia’s name to Olivia)
Chapter 4-Madam Lycus speech about Bellaron; room assignments; Ronny lets Arabeth choose beds; wake up & Ronny has fashion crisis & just crisis in general before going down to breakfast (Revision notes: make it more believable that Arabeth goes so quickly from yay! Gabrielle let me choose the bed to lights off total cold shoulder)
Chapter 5-Breakfast scene; intro Canterbelle & friends; [redacted] debate; Ronny almost spills the beans when she gets upset about the girls not believing her; run late to class
Chapter 6-[unwritten] classroom scene/Madam Lycus’s class
Chapter 7-The Assignment; [redacted] (Revision notes: introduce the concept of class rank possibly earlier? Maybe Ronny just notices a board in the lunchroom)

Chapter ( ) – Pop Quiz; cookie prank
Chapter ( ) – Ronny had been so preoccupied with pranks and sneaking out that she hadn’t done her essay; she is cranky b/c she’s so tired; discovers Sophia has hidden all the books she needed for her project; Ronny yells at her friends; list of things she’s not proud of; shimmies down the column; mom beckons her in b/c not safe outside; Ada Brackett has gone missing; hear scuffling; see a pair of eyes at the window (Revision notes: a lot happens, if more scene setting, etc. might break this into two chapters; up suspense, but shorten sequence when she is going down column; try to make believable)
Chapter ( ) – Three options (A), (B), (C); Mom brings butter knife; kettle whistles & falls; find huge [redacted]; find Arabeth & bring her inside; Arabeth can’t put manners on pause & meets Ronny’s mom (Revision notes: this needs lots of fleshing out; why doesn’t Thomas hear & wake up; make the first meeting between Arabeth & Ronny believable; give the [redacted] enough weight & remember how close they are to the house)
Chapter ( ) – Arabeth, mom, Ronny sit around kitchen table; at first Arabeth seems nice, then Ronny gets defensive & they get in huge fight with each other; devolves into catfight, pulling hair, etc.; Thomas comes out (Revision notes: this scene isn’t done or fleshed out; clarify motives and address rising emotions, allow emotions to evolve & escalate naturally; don’t let mother just be a prop; same with Thomas)

NECESSARY EVENTS:

  • [redacted]events (2-3)
    • Rules of games
    • Scrimmage
    • [redacted] scare incident with Ronny
  • Forest fires
  • [redacted] reports
  • Ronny sneaking out to see family
  • Ronny’s dropping class rank; starts out 1st then drops way down

GENERAL REVISION NOTES:

  • World-building right away; what does this world have in it/what does it not? How is it different than our world? Where is it in time? How can I convey this to the reader right away?
    • What role do the [redacted] play? What is the importance of the [redacted]?
  • What does Ronny and her family stand to gain by attending [redacted]?
  • What becomes of the real Gabrielle? What does Ronny’s mom plan to do with her?
  • This is a [redacted] Book; make [redacted] more prominent
  • From the get-go, need stronger characterizations of Ronny, Thomas, Arabeth, Canterbelle
  • Strong hook at the end of chapter; strong hook at the beginning of the next; try to be clever
  • Every sentence in the quickly written scenes needs to be more interestingly written
  • Stronger sense of place; every scene needs to have a sense of setting; a couple well-placed details

The Hopefuls Day 4: Expectations (Guest Blog)

Hi, Everyone. Happy Friday! Please welcome our next anonymous guestblogger.  Behind her mask, she’s a very cool author, so I’m so thankful she’s agreed to come on and share her experience. Here you go…

Expectations

You’re finished your WIP, and it is a marvel. Beautiful. You’ve had it beta’d. It’s fantastic. You really feel like, patience notwithstanding, that you’ve waited and made this WIP as strong as you can. You work out your query letter, and you carefully research your agents, and you send out your first queries.

This is the book.

Within a month, you have five offers of representation. Your brain is spinning, you can’t sleep and can hardly eat. What do you do now?

In my case, I could easily discount three of them after speaking with them on the phone. They were okay there was just … something not right. It was my turn to say I really thank you for offering, but…The other two were far harder. Agent A was with a big agency. Huge agency for my genre. Agent B was just starting her own but was super prompt and blew my mind when I spoke to her. Agent A called me crying on the phone right after she finished my book and gushed on my answering machine for five minutes. How could I decide?

I knew them both. I’d spoken to them both. They both had sales. They both were what I was looking for in an agent. And I was stuck.

What would you do?

In my case, I went for the small. I knew that probably a larger agency had ties to the movies, audio, what have you. I knew the bigger agency would probably add cachet to my submission where ever I was at. But you see, when it came down to it, I wanted the comfort and assurance of an agent who was just like me – starting out on their own, big ideas about my book, and a belief in me that somehow I could believe more than a huge agency. I haven’t been sorry one moment since, which is how I know I made the right choice.

I know that if this book can be sold, My Agent is the one that will sell it.

What about you? How did you decide on your agent?

Up Your Critique Technique

Tomorrow, I’ll post an addendum to yesterday’s post on Total Immersion. Can y’all guess what that addendum will be?

Today’s Thursday Post, is once again inspired by my evening spent at the DFW Writers Workshop. It was a pretty crazy last night. We were locked out of the building and tornado sirens were blaring, but the few and the brave lasted until someone arrived with a key.

I was cowering in my car and just happened to last that long on account of having nowhere to go. 

Anyway, this was my second workshop. Again, totally worth the $25 to participate for the summer. But what I want to talk about is the skill of critiquing. Because yes, it is a skill. And it is really amazing to see how talented the longtime members of the Workshop are at critting. 

So, you might be saying to yourself, Why should I care about critiquing? I want my work critiqu*ed* and if I give okay critiques back then great. 

Just kidding. I know none of y’all would say that. But even if you did, I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to really look at the skill of critiquing, not only so that you can be a good critter, but also so that you can direct the person that critiques you.

When I crit, it’s often unguided. But it is so helpful if the person whose work I’m reading asks me a few specific questions, so that I can think about those while reading or make sure that I’m giving back the most useful response for them. 

When my work is being critiqued, I know the responses could be more useful if certain aspects were touched on. So, here are some of the things I think make for an effective critique (of your own work, of others, or for others critiquing your own work):

 

The CheckList:

-word echoes

-too many metaphors/similes

-What was your favorite part? (It’s just as important to hear what is working the best because, as writers, it’s so easy to second guess. We need to know which parts to keep and feel good about it!)

-How did each of the main characters come across?

-voice consistency/strength

-What didn’t you like? (A lot of critters don’t want to say “I didn’t like that part at all.” But let me tell you. Some of the most helpful critiques last night were ones where people were like “No, that’s not any good.” Saying you don’t like something doesn’t have to be mean. That’s the whole point of critiquing, though, so don’t be afraid to use it!)

-weird character or object emphasis (sometimes authors will zero in on something or someone sort of random and the reader is thinking, Ok, this must play a major role–>it’s always odd when it turns out just to be a self-indulgent description instead)

-varied sentence structure

-forward motion (are you both creating and answering questions in your passages so that the reader is compelled to move on?)

-rising and falling tension (the reader needs to catch her breath, too)

-extra words, especially adjectives (Do you consistently have one adjective or one word too many?)

-gaps in logic

-clear character motivations 

-Is the story told in scenes?

-check for info dumps/authorial intrusions/and “explain-y” language

-Along the same line, in an attempt to avoid an info dump, are you making the dialogue too contrived in trying to get the characters to give up the information? In other words, would your characters really be saying those things to one another right then?

-Enough description? (all five senses touched where possible?)

-Do the descriptions match the perspective and worldview of the pov character?

-Scenes have premises, too. Is the premise of the scene interesting? 

-Too much narrative in action sequence?

 

AND THE #1, ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS: SUGGESTIONS. 

There is nothing more valuable to me than suggestions. To some extent, if a writer knew how to make something better, she would. So if a critter can bring fresh eyes and try to come up with a *solution* that is awesome and oh-so-appreciated. Don’t be afraid to get in there and say, “Oh, yanno what? This might work.” Because even if that idea doesn’t make it into the cut, you never know what will spark the next idea and the next and so on. 

Remember the author has been looking at these pages forever. And what do I always say about editing? It’s hardest to see what’s not already on the page. Critters can more easily separate themselves from the words and, thus, can sometimes more easily help solve. 

 

These are a sampling of the ideas I got by listening to people critique last night. I hope they are helpful and I will continue to post as I attend my Wednesday meetings. 

 

Happy (almost) Friday, Everyone!

Gasping for Air and Other Attractive Ways to Read Aloud

Hi, friends. I’m reporting back after last night’s festivities at my first DFW Writers Workshop. 

First of all, can I just tell you how talented these people are? I mean the members are legit. Second of all, they are Organized with a capital O. 

I showed up around 6:45 because I had to pay my dues and become all official-like so that I’d have the opportunity to read. I met a couple people who said that I should really visit a couple times before deciding if I wanted to join. But, I dove right in, completely undeterred. And I have to say that I would quibble with that guy’s advice. Because I would have totally chickened out if I hadn’t signed up and paid my dues before I had time to think about it. In fact, I met one girl who had been coming for over a month and had  become so intimidated that she still had yet to read. 

Anyway, after I forked over my money, I went to look at the “trophy” case, which contains all the books that have been published by DFW Writers Workshop Members. There are to huge bookcases stuffed full with books. Tor, Delacorte, Harlequin…tons of great publishers represented. I was truly impressed.

Then a  nice woman (named Sue I think?) saw that I looked like a lost sheep and told me I could sit down with her. Thank goodness!

There was then a brief meeting in which I had to  introduce myself. I tried to not sound too ridiculous and, at that point, think I succeeded. Afterward the president asked who had rejections. Everyone applauded. Who had acceptances? Applause. Who had submitted? Applause. You get the picture. 

I was still convinced I’d be okay at that point. Not too worried yet. But when they called out the different reading groups? I started having a full on panic attack. No joke. They split us up into reading groups. About 10 people were in each room without about 6 authors reading. 

There was a moderator who kept time and helped keep the discussion moving. Each writer was allotted 20 minutes…between 10 and 15 minutes of read time followed by critiquing. During the critiquing the author was not allowed to speak. If a critiquer wanted clarification, he could ask the moderator to ask a question. This was great…until it got to me. 

Um, hi, reading out loud is a SKILL. A skill that I am apparently horrible at. I was so nervous and I absolutely wear that sort of thing on my sleeve. My voice was shaking. I had no idea when to breathe. I was completely undeterred by commas and/or periods and spoke 1,000 words/minute. No joke. Oh yeah, and I swallowed at least the last three words of every sentence. The whole time I was petrified I would have a coughing fit. All I can say is that if you are an author giving your first reading, practice. Not reading in your head, but reading out loud for people to hear. 

For people reading for the first time ever (like me and this one other guy), the reading was given applause. After that, you never get applauded again at the workshop. The comments were very helpful. And like I said, these are NOT beginners. These folks have credentials and a serious love of the craft of writing. 

I read second. Then, of course, I had to listen to the others with lovely lilting Southern drawls read their pages completely relaxed. Oh well. 

At around 9:45 pm when the meeting ended, members headed over to IHOP for some meeting and greeting and general merriment. I know y’all will be shocked (kidding), but I’d never stepped foot in an IHOP I don’t think. 

 

Alright, I wrote this post in record time and have so much left to tell. More on the Writers Workshop and a convo with my agent in particular. 

 

Thanks for all the good luck wishes on my last post. I truly appreciate and value the comments. Take care!

The Process of Rewriting

 

I’m not sure exactly where the line falls between revisions and rewrites. For me I guess, it’s a question of degree. Rewriting is more intensive than revisions. Rewriting, to some extent is starting, at least parts of a manuscript, from scratch.

In my last post, I outlined my problems with rewriting. To summarize, I think my main troubles with rewriting stem from (a) loving the words already on the page and (b) the difficulty of seeing what is not yet there. 

So what to do? 

Recently, I’ve implemented advice I’ve received from a couple different debut authors and I think it’s working well, even though, I’ll admit it’s a bit scary. Here it is: start a blank word document. 

I know, I know. You finally got a draft out. You’re pumped never to have to look at a blank page and a blinking cursor again. And here I am, telling you to start it all over. 

Yes, it’s intimidating, but also rewarding. 

I open up my original manuscript document in one window, but with the understanding that I won’t use it as a crutch. I wrote those words. I know what happens. I know what parts are good and deserve to be included in the new draft. Then, I open a separate document of notes I’ve come up with. This document usually contains extra research I’ve done that I think might add to the story. Sometimes, I have thoughts on how certain scenes should be changed or notes on extra scenes that I think I might add. In that “notes” document I write anything and everything. I know darn well that some of the thoughts I jotted down will never see the light of day. That’s ok. Those extraneous thoughts help me get a fuller vision of the world in which I’m writing. They sometimes fuel the inspiration for tangents that will make the cut. 

The beauty of the blank document is that it provides an uninhibited backdrop on which to create your best version. It’s important not to be constrained by the words you’ve already written. Getting the story out in earlier drafts should have freed you to write the polished final draft(s). It should not fence you in.

I know that when I revise within my original document sometimes I want to re-read and re-read the words I’ve written until they sound right in my head. Umm…no. That’s not changing anything. That’s what we like to call self-delusion. So, self-delude no more. The blank word doc has several benefits:

First, as you revise and revise, the different drafts sometimes don’t blend and flow. They become stilted and confused. Ghosts of prior drafts haunt the later ones.* The blank word document allows you to recapture the flow of just writing again. Only you’ve already written the story, so you aren’t starting from square one. It allows you to take it to the next level. 

Second, instead of worrying where to fit the extras, the things you know aren’t already on the page, you can work the extra scenes, the extra description, the extra worldbuilding, you can weave the new stuff in seamlessly. You don’t want to be jamming the square peg into the round hole. That’s not pretty. 

Third, it’s flexible. You don’t have to rewrite the whole manuscript over again. I personally am, but just be careful with your transitions into the old parts as you mesh the two. 

Otherwise, enjoy! I know I’ve recaptured a lot of joy by trying this method and am, honestly, so pleased with the results already. 

How do you rewrite?

 

 

*Mandy Hubbard, author of Prada & Prejudice, shared this insight with me and I loved how she said it.