Editing, Happy Friday, personal, revising, writing

Happy Friday #27 – Birthday, Query, Thank you and Other stories

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

Birthday: Last Saturday, I turned 31… My day started out with a wonderful birthday concocted by my husband – which including French Toast, potatoes, bacon and some bubbly…YUM! During the evening, we went to a restaurant (where I enjoyed a very nice cocktail) and we went to see The Crucible at the English Theater in Frankfurt. It was just an amazing day!

Birthday Breakfast
Birthday drink

Query : So query writing has been kicking my butt in the past weeks. I´m still revising my book, but I thought it was high time to start seriously thinking about my query. After participating in Sara Megibow´s webinar, I knew it needed more work.  I´ll tell you more about my query writing process and Sara´s webinar next week but after a lot of work, I have a query that works I think and which actually sounds like my book!!! 😀

Reading and revising: This week, I started reading those two wonderful books to help me in my revising process (highly recommended by Sara) and they rock!

Great books

THANK YOU!: Thank you to everyone for the good wishes on my birthday and on our anniversary. Thank you for the lovely comments on my posts! Thank you for helping me with my query (especially thanks to Christa and Ian, who´ve really been super patient and kind with me during the process)! Thank you to my CP extraordinaire and my beta readers! Thank you for being just wonderful. All of you! This week, it felt like this:

Today, hubby and I are off to France to see my family and our newborn niece for the first time 🙂 I´m super late to reply to comments but I´ll get there, promise!

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Books, Editing, revising, writing

A “Tada” moment or saying goodbye to my darlings…

My first round of revisions mainly consisted of changing:

  • the tense (I only figured out in Chapter 22 that I needed to write this in present tense – my novel has 25 chapters, oupsie)
  • the first name of my main character (how did I even think of calling her Laura? She´s an Erin through and through!)
  • one subplot of my story…

It was tedious but necessary. However, it wasn´t painful and when I was done, I thought: I´ve done it! I may have some more changes but nothing too too major. Yep, I had not yet realize what revising could really entail.

 
 

William Faulkner said: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” and Stephen King added: “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings“.

While I accepted this at face value, I didn´t realize what it really meant. I spent two years with that novel already. Scary. While I tried my hand at other stories, it´s the one I always came back to. I rewrote it, I changed some of the subplots along the way but the more I worked on certain parts, the more they became engraved in my heart. Some dialogues, some images, some parts of the story just needed to stay…until I came to a “Tada” realization: my story sucks.

Ok that was dramatic. It doesn´t suck. At all. Actually, it´s pretty great. But the way I was tiptoeing around it, afraid to hurt it had more to do with the fact that I was afraid of hurting my own self-esteem. What I finally saw was how much better my story could become if I actually dared to change it a bit. I am not rewriting the entire thing but I am deleting the first chapter (Tarah´s feedback on it helped with that…I finally saw my story more as a reader than as a writer…), I am changing the curse a bit to make it 1) more dramatic and 2) more coherent. I am adding one or two layers to some of the characters and I am taking the story to another emotional level. It will be a lot of work and it will not be the end of it (since I know more changes will probably come once it´s going through the beta-reading). but it will be worth it.

So, basically, my story with revising has been a bit like this:

 

Source: pinterest.com via Elodie on Pinterest

And even though, I fell on my butt the first time around, the important thing is that I still managed to go back up and transform it into a “Tada” moment 😀

How about you, did you have any “Tada” or “Aha” moments in your writing/revising recently?

Editing, Observations, revising

The beauty of words or the pulchritude of morphemes?

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

This famous quote by Shakespeare reminds me of two things 1) he didn’t use any big words, he could have said: “woody perennial of the genus Rosa” but he didn’t, 2) reading Shakespeare for a class at the university in the US was a lot of work for me (which involved using a dictionary very often).

As I go through the process of revising, I worry much more about little details which don’t cross my mind when I write.

Most of you know that English is not my mother tongue. French is. I used to write in French. I could show feelings in French, I could create metaphors easily, I could either use simple terms or play with the so-called “big” words. Since I lived in the US for so long, studied at the university mainly in English or German and now use English pretty much all day, I cannot do this any longer.

I write in English. It comes naturally to me and I love it.

However, I sometimes wonder: is my English good enough?

(for some reason, I just experienced a Zoolander flashback)

Stephen King explained in his book On Writing (by the way, thanks again Sara for organizing a discussion on this book in April 😀 You should join if you already read it or maybe are planning on reading it):

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”

This made me feel better somehow.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy reading novels with big words. I know that the more I read, the more I learn. My vocabulary expands naturally but I cannot force big words into my work. It doesn’t feel right. So I will listen to Stephen King on this and promise to him (and mainly to myself) that no I will never say “John stopped long enough to perform an act of excretion” when I mean “John stopped long enough to take a shit”. (hmm yes I just used the word “shit” and yes it kind of feels weird to have that word on my blog :-)…).

Do you sometimes doubt your vocabulary or your grammar? Do you consciously use big words?

Editing, Giveaway, Happy Friday, reading, revising

Happy Friday #8: Giveaway, Books and Thanks!

Yay it’s Friday…and it’s Happy Friday 😀

My fingers have been itching to type this post but I had to stay longer at work so it´s a bit later than usual…Ready? Here are some of the reasons why I smiled this week…

My “I love reading giveaway”: This giveaway is to celebrate my love of reading with all of you. There will be one winner (but I probably will repeat this in a few months) You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with. If you’re a teenager, that’s one for you and one for a friend or somebody younger than you. The giveaway is international (open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to). Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

Revising: Two weeks ago, I sent my first chapter to Tarah…I was anxious to receive her feedback. How would I react to the possible criticism towards the words I put on paper? What did she think about it? Was it awful? Was it good? and wow, I never thought I would be so happy to see her many comments on this chapter. Tarah: again THANK YOU! She not only took the time to read it but she gave a lot of thoughts to it. She edited some and pointed out where it could actually get “tighter”. I am very grateful because I just have the feeling, that thanks to her, my story is moving forward. It´s getting better. I´m excited to dive into the story again!

Reading: I started reading Incarnate at the beginning of the week. I was not sure what to expect…but I was in for a treat. I had plenty of time while waiting at the French consulate to finally change my papers (got married in August and only getting around to it but that´s another story). I will probably do a full review soon but let me just say that Jodi managed to make me miss my piano even more. I also really enjoyed the world-building, the development and the romance. Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying Amy and Roger´s Epic Detour (thanks Jaime for pointing this book out to me some time ago :D)

So tell me what made YOU smile this week?

Editing, personal, Query, writing

Don´t be scared…

That would be me hiding away on Friday after posting my draft query to be reviewed. I thought “hmm sounds good…let’s get this baby rolling”…After receiving some very constructive feedback, I realized “hmmm that sucked

The wonderful thing about feedback is that it helps to make us better and stronger. Plus, I realized there was something positive in my very crappy-I´m-even-wondering-if-I-should-not-delete-the-message-on-forum-first-query (somebody liked my voice in that mess :-))

I also appreciated something else which for somebody a tad perfectionist can be difficult: I will not be perfect at my first-go. This will take time and it’s ok. I am swimming in unknown waters. Finishing the first draft is just the first step in a looong process. On a brighter note, I started editing and even though it is kicking my butt, I can see my story getting to a better place 🙂

Now, tell me 🙂

What do you do when you just want to put your paws (huh I mean hands) in front of your face?