Friday, 22 January 2016

When you want to throw your MS into the fires of Mordor

I am currently working on the second draft of my manuscript, Formulas. I'm sure I'm not alone here when I think it would just be easier to throw the thing into the fires of Mordor and be done with it already (because seriously, I'm beginning to wonder if not even Spider-Man can save this thing). 


I don't know if you can see this, but the little figure running
 up the side of the mountain is me lugging my MS in an attempt
to save the earth from its inexcusable horribleness. Source

I'm sure we've all been there. I typed my first draft out in a furious month or two (or four) then set it aside to simmer. A year later, I finally got back around to editing. First things first, I read through it, making notes of everything that sucked and ended up with my Edits List. When I reached the end, I kinda felt like Frodo when he said he'd take the Ring into Mordor. 

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!? 

Orcs are insane and want to kill me! These characters are so thin! Boromir is going crazy! This dialogue is so lame! I am only three feet tall! It's so bad that I don't even know how to fix it! WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS!?!?!?

Basically, I felt waaaay out of my depth. Sure, it's fun to write the first draft and say 'oh, I'll edit it later', but when it actually comes to editing it seriously feels like deciding to make that trek to Mordor. It's such an overwhelming job and I felt seriously under-equipped to make this journey. 

It got worse when I actually started. It felt that with each problem I fixed three more cropped up in its place. I'd open my document and stare at the screen, unsure of what to do. I'd stare at the cursor, scroll to infinity and procrastinate to no end. (I should be editing right now, but I'm writing a post about editing instead because logic.) However, slowly, I made some changes and fixed some stuff. It still sucks, (seriously, it still really, really, really sucks) but I can slowly see it get better even though editing it feels like having my arm melted off with acid. 



This is what I look like after an hour or so of editing. (My precious....) Source

There's only one reason why I continue. Hope. (And I know it sounds super cheesy, but stay with me here.) Every once and a while, I'll read a certain paragraph or a line or find a good word choice and I can see the book that Formulas could be one day. It can be funny and sweet and sad and thought-provoking and entertaining. Sure, it isn't now and that hurts but if I'm lucky I can see that it can be one day. It's that hope that one day, after I edit it, someone will read it and fall in love with my characters and their stories.

Hope is the only reason I'm able to write stories.


What gives you the strength to write your stories? Do you ever want to shred your MS into a million pieces, burn whatever is left and bury the ashes on the dark side of the moon? 

6 comments:

  1. *gives you coffee* It's always so awful reading through that rough draft and making notes. I love editing, but even I really don't like that step. But hope is a good motivation. I think I'd say that's what motivates me as well (along with, you know, stubbornness). Trust me, though, your novel will be wonderful. *nods* Good luck with editing!

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    1. Well, stubbornness is a great motivator, too :) Re-reading that first draft is just terrible, though, but editing is still fun when it isn't awful. Thanks, and you too!

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  2. First off: This post is hilarious. I'm now going to liken editing to traveling to Mordor.
    Secondly: I feel your pain. But I guess it's a good thing that it sucks that bad, because at least you can only go up. =) I'm currently completely rewriting a 390 page novel because it's so lost that editing just isn't enough. What keeps me going is that I know that the idea is solid and will be helpful to other people once I can chisel all the junk out.
    Keep pushing through! I'm cheering you on.

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    1. Hahaha, thank you!! I had a lot of fun writing it.
      True, that's a great way of looking at it. It can't exactly get worse. Good luck with your editing/rewriting! I'm sure it'll be great in the end. Thank you!!

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  3. This post is so insightful for readers to understand the mental turmoil that goes into creating a story and making it work! Makes me appreciate my favourite novels so much more. When you publish, I will be reading your books, and I know I'll love them as much as your posts!

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    1. Yeah, it's not exactly like in the movies where the writer sits down and write the entire novel in a montage of cool music and sunsets. It's more like sitting at your computer for six months to three years, banging your head against the keyboard and yelling WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

      Ahh, thanks Kate! That means SO much to me.

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