Friday, December 4, 2009

After the High

**waving excitedly** Hello new supporters!! I love that there are 50!! new cool kids on the blog. I'm going to have to do a contest next week, I'm thinking. Celebration time!! I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your comments and your time to read my little blog!! Ok, enough of the exclamation marks, but I want you all to know, you are the cooooolest!! And if you are reading, Mom, HI!!!

Also-I will have my interview with Heidi Willis, author of Some Kind of Normal, posted on Monday. I'm really excited and I hope you tune in because this is one heck of a gal! She's been working long and hard, often corresponding in the wee hours of midnight and after. Poor thing. But it's paying off and I can't wait to share all of the juicy details with you.

As you all know, I wrote my nano novel in the month of November, yay! I was incredibly happy and proud of myself and proud of my story. I walked on clouds for a week. A WEEK! I bragged and posted, called my mom and made my husband treat me to Taco Bell and Subway. (Though not at the same time, that would be gross.)

I found myself itching to get in there and start editing. I wanted to make this the best story ever. I opened my document and stared at the first paragraph. Then I went to the next one. I deleted the things I already had highlighted for me to delete. I went back and read the first paragraph.

Self: "Well, this is just crap!"
Kristi: What do you mean???
Self: It is, all of it, total and complete crap.
Kristi: But I was so proud!
Self: Sorry, it's not even salvageable.
Kristi: I was, like, totally high on novelling and now you wreck my dreams?!
Self: Crash time. This story sucks.

Are you kidding me?! What is this? I did everything right. I rewarded Self for writing long and laborious hours. I wrote from beginning to end. CRASH!!!  *Sigh* I closed out my document and called my mom.

"Mom, ya know that book I told you about?"
"The one you finished? I know, I'm so proud of you."
"It sucks."
"Really, totally and completely sucks. It's boring and passive and I wrote like crap."
"Kristi Faith!"
"You were so happy when you finished. I don't understand."
"Me neither, but I'm gonna trash it. At least I know I can do it now and maybe it will be better next time around." (insert dramatic sigh)
"I'm going to tell you this one time and one time only. You will regret it if you trash that story. I will throttle you if you trash that story because you ignored me for a damn month to write the stupid thing!!" (Mom doesn't mince words)

So, I closed the document and didn't delete it. I cried a little. I mean, a few little tears. I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably or anything. No, really. In the midst of my mini breakdown, I realized my story must go through this. It's inevitable. I now understand why authors tell you to let your ms "cool" after you write it before going through edits. It's not just about the brain drain you've experienced through writing an entire novel. It's about your "Self" too. Self needs a chance to rest. Sometimes, Self wants to create something new. Or do nothing but network and blog for a few days. That's no problem. I'm confident Self will jump right into the revision process as soon as I give her a break.

How about you?? Are you already on to revisions, still energized from November? Or are you letting things cool for a minute?


  1. Oh, I'm so glad you didn't trash it. I was going through this same thing the other day. I've been working on my current YA book since June and have over 80,000 words. I'm near the point of writing my queries and sending the manuscript into the world. And as close as I am to the end, my husband and friend had to talk me down from thinking it was total crap. It happens to all of us. Give it time . . .


  2. Let it sit!

    I enjoy stopping by so much.

  3. DO NOT DELETE ONE WORD. Copy it. You might need something from it for another book. Then go back and read the MS through. Really listen. And make notes in the margin.

    And letting it sit is a wise idea. Work on something new. Fresh perspective.

    And I've read some of your writing. Remember? So I KNOW it can't be crap. Tell this self person to take a hike. :)

  4. I am so glad you called your mother, because I would have THROTTLED you if you had deleted it!!! Do not, do you here me!!!. You may never ever delete a manuscript. In fact, you shouldn't even be working on the NaNo file. First) Take at least a month (maybe longer) off from it. It has to sit so you can look at it objectively. Objectively means looking at the stuff that needs work and being able to fix it instead of just hating it and crying (been there done that). Second) Copy the file, name it NaNo 2 if you have to, only enter your edits into the copied file. Every time you do a draft you start it in a new file. You will regret it otherwise (there could be some good stuff you are deleting). My YA fantasy making the rounds right now has five different files and I actually didn't follow that rule perfectly then (I would copy paste throwaway scenes into different files for the first couple of rewrites). Now, that works to, but the new fresh file (Save As function) works way better, because if I need something I can just go back to the last draft it was in. My space opera it's scary how many files I had when writing that script, but I'll admit it, 11 files, yep, I rewrote that sucker 11 times, and now I'm adding even more files since I turned it back into a novel (started as novel, turned into a script, and now back into a novel).

    When you vomit out that first draft (yes, I'm copying Ms. Nora here) you need to expect that the story is going to need some serious cleaning, but that's okay if that is the way you write. I know it's the way I write and I've made peace with the fact that I'm a complete pantser and that my first drafts always suck and will never see the light of day. :-) But in there is this great idea, these wonderful characters, and bits and pieces that I can shape and mold into something so much better.

  5. Hi Kristi, I just got a Google alert and discovered you'd nominated me for the Texas Sweethearts. Thank you so much. I had no idea! You are a lovely person. Have a great day.

  6. Yep, let it sit. I let mine sit for four months before going back to it.

  7. I think that is all so NORMAL!! I feel that way all the time. Even after I thought I had polished the heck out of mine, a year later when I was getting ready to send it to the publisher, I saw things I needed to revise to strengthen it still.

    Move on and write something else while you let it sit. You'll find your next one is even better. Then go back and revise this one! :)

  8. I don't dare delete mine. It will come back to haunt me! And yours will too. Mom is right. Everyone is telling you the truth, (respectfully and honestly). Just like clutter I find laying about the house, you could throw it in a drawer and deal with it later. In the meantime. This is December, after all. You've been sick. Take a breather!

  9. Thank you Angelia for the heads up on saving copies, rather than deleting all that creative work!
    Caroline: You deserved the nomination, I know you work hard with your book club/reading group of kids and I think it's awesome to donate your time like that.

    Susan and Heidi: Thank you! I'm glad I'm sort of normal. :0)
    Elizabeth: I love your comparison to clutter around the house and throwing it in a drawer-that I can do! :0) Thank you for your encouragement!

  10. You've got some great advice. Even though I'm still writing my ms, I can go back and look at the first few chapters and see that they are going to need a lot of work. I didn't see that when I was writing them. Let your ms sit for a few weeks (or a month) then go back. Take a break for now - you just pounded out 50,000 words in one month. You deserve to relax:)

  11. Take a month away from it and come back. It looks so different and you can always use much of it.

  12. Wow, my "self" told me my MS was crap every time I prepared to leave the house for writers workshop to read 12 pages. I have finally finished first, second and I think yes third draft and at times I still look and hear self telling me it is crap, but wait, it gets better, it really does. Self is full of s**t. But it is necessary, it forces us to, after we let it sit and settle, look at it objectively and ruthlessly to just make it better. You'll do it. Don't throw out a thing.


Your spotlight on R.A.W. :0) I strive to respond if you have your email address attached!