Today I Love My Story

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I feel wonderful today. I had a good day at work, I went to the gym, and by the time I got home I was dancing and singing. Did you know, I used to hate dancing? Now since I’ve dropped about 18 pounds I actually like wiggling around to ridiculous music like “Shake it Off” and “Gangnam Style” (actually, I filmed me dancing to that in my chair when I’d had a little too much editing wine… if you shower me with comments and praise, I may consider posting it for you, if you’re into that kind of thing).

Anyway, I digress. Basically today’s video is about a conversation Frankeh and I had about our stories and how it has restored my faith in me. Now, riding that wave of encouragement (which is invaluable… everyone should have a writing friend like Frankie. I would totally be lost without her, no joke), I’m going to drink coffee ALL. FUCKING. NIGHT. Tentative goal? 3 pots. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Let’s get this editing thing behind us and move on with the next chapter, shall we? Aren’t you sick of hearing me whine about how tedious it is? Because I am certainly sick and tired of vlogging about it. It’s part of the process, though, and I want you all to understand my suffering. We’re all in this thing together. When you write a book, you have to edit it. Thoroughly. Don’t send some halfassed attempt at a high school homework assignment to an agent and ask them to back you. That’s disrespectful. Show your story the love it deserves. Make it gleam. When you think it’s beautiful, ask someone else if they think so, too. Make it SPARKLE. It’s like taking an uncut diamond and teasing out all of its many brilliant facets. It takes time, a careful eye, and a heart that throbs for the end result.

Furthermore, I just kind of want you to understand that it takes a long time. At times, it’s painful and slow and–as Stephen King says–a little bit like murdering children. You have to take a fearless axe and start hacking up your baby. You can’t be afraid. The mantra I keep repeating to myself is “Don’t leave a single word in here that you don’t need.” I’ve cut a LOT of:

That, Very, Much, Had, Has, Though, And, Would, Were, Was, and adverbs.*


*a lot of publishers hate these, I guess? I love them, but only if they CHANGE the meaning of the verb. Don’t use them as plot fodder. “Smiled sweetly” is okay. “Said slowly,” not so much. Just use a different verb. ‘Smile’ you get stuck with. There are only a few verbs for a smile–grin, smile, smirk. That’s about it. You have to use adverbs to change a smile. But said? You can do better. Drop the adverb.


So far, I’ve snipped out an ENTIRE thread (poof! Plot garbage begone!), rewritten an entire scene, and completely cut about 3 scenes that didn’t add anything to the story. I’m actually proud of me for that. Myen and Heike are proud of me, too.

Oops, I better go. I’m starting to act like my characters are real people again, which is a sure sign that my brain needs to be in their world, not mine. *waves* Enjoy the video, kthxbai.

Maybe I’ll do a video about my take on editing tomorrow, and how it should be done.

Please note that my blog posts shouldn’t really be accepted as a sample of my writing. I spend more time editing my actual work than worrying about my rather informal goofy-ass blog. I edit my stories 6-15 times. I don’t edit my blog posts even once. *shrug*


By the way… our audience has been interacting more, and I, for one, and LOVING it. I’m very pleased that watching us suffer and geek out a bit is inspiring to someone. That definitely accomplishes more than we ever dreamed.

Keep writing, you beautiful people. ❤

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About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on December 19, 2014, in Sam Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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