Wednesday, July 11

Knowing What I Do Know

by Ava Cuvay

Happy Wednesday, Wranglers!

We had decided to blog monthly instead of weekly in hopes it would provide us the respite to fill our blog space with more knowledge, wisdom, wit, emotional impact, etc… I can’t speak for the other gals, but mine seem to be just as much “oh, crud, what the heck am I going to talk about?” as ever.

On the plus side, I’ve been writing more.

Notice that I said “writing” and did not choose the verb “publishing.” Yep, I’m still “writing,” “editing,” “tweaking,” and “overhauling” my third book. Still not close to the “publishing” of it.

Which is a huge source of frustration for me. I know I’m not supposed to beat myself up over the pace my artistic muse takes me (although I do question whether there’s much “musial” influence--is that even a word?--this time around… it’s been a struggle from the get-go). And I keep reminding myself that Book One took four years to write and publish, and Book Two took two. I’m only slightly beyond the two year mark on Book Three, so I should consider myself right on track, right?

I don’t. I keep attributing the ease (Hahaha! I mean “relative ease,” right? Cuz there ain’t nuthin easy about the process) of the first two books to my beginner’s naiveté. Basically, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and the words flowed and the editing process was filled with wonder and a thirst for knowledge to be gleaned.

But now, I know what I don’t know... which is a lot. And even what I do know I know (so very little), those skills haven’t pushed my writing up any quality levels. It just throws up road blocks. In fact, I think my head is so filled with what I do know, that I’m getting in my own way. As I write, all those rules I do know are like a rude crown in the stands, shouting at the refs and stalling the game. What’s her goal, motivation, and conflict? He has too much back story! Watch your dangling participles! That’s a telling phrase, SHOW instead! No, it’s too soon for them to have sex, you have to build the tension first! Drop a red herring or the reader will get bored! This scene is slogging down the pace, you’ll have to fix it or delete it! Needs more dialogue! Don’t be repetitive! And Nooooo, why are you “checking Facebook for a just minute”?!?

How can an author possibly move the ball down the field with all this rattling in her brain? It’s bad enough when the characters are clamoring for attention, but the rules? Ugh!

So I’m still muddling through. Fixing all the rules that I do know, because even when they’re shouting at me, I still miss abiding by them. Like all the sentient body parts that are doing things. Eyes that are landing, hands that are clasping, legs that are flinching… If this were a zombie story, that might work. But not in Book Three. At least each pass of edits pushes the story that much closer to “Published,” but it’s been a muddy, ground-losing, hard-won-inches kind of ballgame with this book.

(Makes ya wanna pick up a ball and give it a go, doesn’t it ;-)

8 comments:

  1. Hang in there, Ava! We need to make up a name for this because it happened to me right around book 3 or 4, too. I kept getting in my own way and not letting the story through because I was trying to follow all the rules and make each sentence and paragraph perfect from the get-go. I don't have any great advice - I just wrote through it...every painful inch of it. Just keep pushing forward, you'll get there.

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    1. Thanks Kristi! There's a metaphor for giving birth in there, somewhere! ;-)

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  2. Oh, baby, you've so got this. Trust me, I've just been there and sent revisions back to my editor with great trepidation. Now I'm pacing waiting to hear back from her. Argh! Best thing is to just keep writing...really, what else can we do?

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    1. Your editor will love your stuff! And if I didn't write, I'd go crazy. So, it's not really an option, is it?

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  3. I think most of us STAY in our own way. I know I'm there now, too. And now I have a visual of a brain and rattling...

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  4. All those rules. Blah! A while back I gave myself permission to write a crappy first draft. Up to that point I was so intent on making the first draft "perfect" that I never finished anything. Once I got over that need for perfection, I was at least able to write "The End". Of course, I was left with a manuscript in dire need of revision. But I've learned to embrace revision, and I know now that's where the book comes together. My best advice to you, Ava, is to just write. You can clean it up in revisions!

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    1. Thanks! I'm on revision #4, which is exhausting to contemplate. But I just keep moving forward, one step in front of the other... ;-)

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