Monday, July 20, 2009

Rewrites, Part Two

Thank you to everyone who commented last week on my post about rewrites. While it was reassuring to discover that my method -- which, to me, seems rather piecemeal -- is similar to how a lot of you rewrite, I especially enjoyed hearing from those of you that have a method completely different from mine. I hope I can use that knowledge in the future.

I took yesterday off from writing (I submitted a short story instead) but I'm through the first three chapters and so far I'm liking it. I'd forgotten how intense this one starts out, and I'm making it deeper by adding a lot more introspection. Each chapter is only about five pages long, so really, I while it doesn't look like I've done much, it feels like it. This book will take more mental energy -- both beforehand (while getting "into" it) and while writing.

How do you get yourself mentally ready for pieces that are more difficult, mentally, to write? And if you don't write, how was your weekend?

31 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

I get what you mean about "mental energy." I think I've lacked that, the stuff that gives it depth, in a lot of my longer works, and I'm working as hard as I can with it on my current WIP. I think it'll really make the difference.

Go you! How long is this one now?

JLC said...

Usually I have Hugh come over to give me a head massage and play with my hair. By the time he is finished, I have all the mental energy anyone could ask for! :P

Actually, a little caffeine does the trick for me. I'll either have a soda or some chocolate, then blast two or three rock songs and dance a little to get the energy flowing. It almost works every time.

Good Luck!

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, I agree that it makes a difference. A lot of the feedback on The Other Side (from betas) mentioned that I do a good job developing characters, so I hope that means I'm doing something right.

On top of this, I'm switching POVs -- that's why the chapters are short -- so I have more than one head to examine.

When I stopped at the end of November it was 63K and I've added about 1500 words so far. I have at least five chapters to write at the end, so the larger incresaes will happen then.

Melanie Avila said...

JLC, now why didn't I think of that? :P

I don't generally drink caffeine after my morning cup of coffee, but I do find a good couple songs can really get me going. I put together a play list when I was writing this in November, so maybe I should go back to that.

LurkerMonkey said...

I have to psyche myself into hard scenes. My worry is that I'll forget threads ... and then once I get into the scene, I almost always find out that it ends up differently than I expected anyway. Silly me.

And I'll need time. A few hours at least.

Stephanie Faris said...

Ugh. I need to read other readers' responses because I struggle with this as well. I'll procrastinate difficult scenes because I feel like I have to be in a certain frame of mind to write them but actually I've found if I just sit down and do it, no matter what the mood, it comes out somehow.

Melanie Avila said...

Lurker, yes, psyching myself up is definitely part of the problem. For example -- I was all gung ho to edit this morning when I wrote this post, but by the time I went to the gym, cleaned the house, had breakfast, etc, it was 90 degrees in my house and I'm no longer in writing mode. I know I need to just force myself...

Melanie Avila said...

Hi Stephanie! I'm a big procrastinator, made worse by the fact that I have a lot of free time.

Check out the comments in the post I linked to -- there are a lot of good ideas there.

EriCan said...

Hi! Sorry I was gone for a bit- had a week vacation and got behind!

Personally, I just plow through the scene. I make sure that I have some good music on, something that is inspiring, or deep, then I tell myself not to edit (it's hard to do).

I do however, seem to be having a problem getting in the mood to write at all these days. In fact, I'm afraid of deleting anything I've written, even if I know it's crap. I guess I'm kind of answering both the rewrite post and this one. Sorry. I would love to scrap this draft and start over, especially since the story changed a bit, but I can't seem to let go.

I love the beginnings of stories! Sounds like the story you're writing now is going well! Yay:)

Nadine said...

If it's a difficult scene, I put on a song that makes me feel in that mood and write the scene. Once it's over, I put on a happy song to get me back to normal :)

Melanie Avila said...

Erica, it is actually going well, thanks. :)

One thing I do when I'm afraid to delete anything (after saving another version) is keep a separate file open and paste those sentences and phrases in there. I keep them in order so that I can go back and find them easily. Maybe that will work for you.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, that's a good idea. It really amazes me how strongly music can affect our moods. For this part I need to be in a slit-my-wrists mood, so I have to pull out the songs that make me cry. I like the idea of a musical upper afterwards.

Christopher Goodwine said...

Hi!

I've been on temporary hiatus from writing on account of moving and I spent my weekend cleaning! (Well, I guess I wrote a bit since I blogged about it.)

TO get through those difficult sections, I need nothing less than complete isolation. My former library had desks tucked away in discreet and quiet corners that served the purpose very well. There I can focus and look deeply into myself for the words and feelings I want to assemble and then punch through it. I can revise well enough under normal conditions, once I get the original material down, which I think is important because I don't want too much "telling-not-showing" internal monologuing by my characters.

Melanie Avila said...

Hello Christopher!

I crave sneaking off someplace where no one can bother me. The closest I can get is first thing in the morning before the neighborhood wakes up.

I commented this morning that I think I need to start getting up at 5:30 because it's cool enough to work comfortably and DARK. I have a hard time being creative when I'm sweating and the sun's a' blazing.

Christopher Goodwine said...

The early morning is one of the best times for me to write too. Unfortunately, I will be starting a job for which I'll be working during that time. Ah well.

Is there a place you can go with A/C in your town? Hehe.. Maybe you should make friends with a local butcher. You could set up a desk in their freezer.

But then, I guess you have to deal with sides of beef looking over your shoulder o_O

Melanie Avila said...

ROFL!! Have you SEEN the sides of beef in foreign markets? It's literally half a cow just hanging out where people walk. And heads. Cow and pig and goat heads.

I think there's a coffee shop in town and it might have AC, but we've never ordered anything there because of money issues. We watch every peso. I've used my husband's laptop on occasions, but for the most part I'm trapped at my desk.

Melanie Avila said...

Oh! And that's too bad your job will encroach on your writing time. Hopefully you'll be able to adapt.

Christopher Goodwine said...

Thanks! Yeah, I'll just have to figure it out. I guess that's writing though: One obstacle after another.

Melanie Avila said...

I peeked at your blog and saw you're in Hawaii. Very cool. :)

Robin said...

I'm making a book on tape for a friend, now. It's pretty fun. I don't do much to prepare to write. I just wait for a quiet moment, grab my laptop, and snuggle into the corner of the couch. Oh, and make a cup of green tea. Fun.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, that settles it. I need a laptop.

Robin said...

You'll never look back.

Melanie Avila said...

Except for when I do design and need my 21" screen. :P

It's nice seeing everything so BIG!

Christopher Goodwine said...

I splurged and got an Eee for myself. Cost me $350 and was just as good as my 5-year-old VAIO (dinosaur!). Now I use the VAIO hooked up to a 21" monitor at home and take my Eee with me everywhere I go. It got me through my last term at university, and has been an extremely rewarding investment for writing.

http://eeepc.asus.com/global/index.html

Not cheap, but certainly cheaper than an iPhone or whatever. It's all comparative.

Pink Ink said...

Good luck with the short story!

When I have something "difficult" to write, I am both terrified and excited.

Excited because I know there will be something juicy to cut my teeth into.

The only way for me to do it is just to take the plunge and go for it.

EriCan said...

Thanks for the advice Melanie! I'll try that, maybe then it will ease my mind:)

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks for the info Christopher. I'm a Mac girl, though, so I don't know if I'll venture down that road. :P

Melanie Avila said...

I hope so too Erica!

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, once I force myself to get into it, I'm fine. The words flow, I'm able to go deeper than what I initially started with, and overall I've been happy with it. But afterwards, man, I have been drained.

I like the anticipation of something juicy -- I'll have to keep that in mind. :)

Benjamin Solah said...

Wow, so many comments!

I find those real important stories intimidate me so I need to be really mentally ready to tackle them, and the rewrites (rather than edits) I need to do to get them just right.

I get so intimidated that I can't start and I've worked out that it's my brain's way of letting the ideas percolate over and over until they're boiling out of my head.

Melanie Avila said...

Benjamin, that's a good point about being intimidated. I had that problem with my MS that I'm currently submitting -- I knew a scene was SO important that I'd freeze up, which certainly doesn't help.