Don’t remember if I mentioned it, but I’ve been in the middle of some serious novel rewrites for the past couple months. First, it was a novel and now it’s the sequel. I’m super relieved to say that the first one is in the proofing stages at long last (I was beginning to think it would never make it after 2 years). The other is still in the rewriting process, but I have successfully reached the end, it seems.
A few years ago, I wrote a novel about a girl who goes off in search of her “other half.” Now, if you take a look at most YA, dystopian novels, this is no new idea. So many YA novels feature a girl who goes off in search of a man because oftentimes, girls may feel as if they need to be loved to be worthy of something. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the notion, but a lot has changed since then and I’ve learned a lot (most of which has made me even more cynical than I already was, but hey, what can you do?) and now I look back on my novel and wonder how I can change it to make it better fit my ideas about that sort of thing.
I feel as though I discuss deadlines an awful lot on here, and most of the time, it’s about how to actually meet them, but I have a confession to make: I’ve been seriously slacking lately. Isn’t it clear enough given that this post is three days late? Can’t even make my own deadlines. How sad.
I happen to have a deadline tomorrow that I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss – or at least, what I turn in won’t be as far along as I wanted it to be at this point. I was given less than a month to completely rewrite a novella, and from 40k words, I’ve only managed to rewrite 25k of it. I could give you the excuses (for some reason, we always decide we need to remodel something right in the middle of my deadlines. This time, it was the bathroom) but excuses don’t get stuff done, do they?
Tips and tricks are all well and good but sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you aren’t going to make a deadline, so what do you do? There are a couple options to fixing the deadline crisis.
- If you have an understanding editor, you can ask for an extension. You might be granted some more time.
- You can turn in what you have and see what they think. This can be helpful especially if you’re stuck (in rewriting especially rather than just editing).
- You can write like hell and hope to meet the deadline. I will be doing this tomorrow and praying I write enough to make sense.
The downside to doing any of these things is that you often don’t have enough time to review what you’ve written and heaven knows what you might be sending off. Hopefully you have an editor who understands and can help develop your mess of words into something beautiful. So when you feel like giving up, just remember that the deadline is coming and one way or another, it’s going to get done.
My sister and her husband have this habit of “grading” their food, new recipes especially, and the other night at dinner, my brother-in-law couldn’t believe my sister gave only an 8 out of 10 to the meal (marinated and grilled Chinese chicken with rice and fried vegetables). One thing led to another and I asked her what her most memorable meal was. For a moment, she paused and couldn’t think of anything, so I said, “If you can’t even think of one, then it can’t have been that memorable.” She came up with one two minutes later. My most memorable meal happened in France, about three years ago, on a day trip to Amiens with some friends. We stumbled upon a little restaurant that served nothing but baked potatoes. Normally, I’m not a fan of baked potatoes, but the potato I had that day is one I still dream about. That leads me to my question, what makes something memorable? What is going to make your writing memorable?
Every one of us has a list a thousand miles long of books we’d like to write or plots we’d love to see written (just maybe not by us because, oh my god, writing takes so long, you guys). So I thought we’d have some fun today and come up with books I’d love to write but either a) don’t have the time, b) don’t have the proper imagination to bring to justice, or c) may write at some point in the future.
The easy answer to this one is to simply participate in your hobbies! Of course, easier said than done. We probably all have hobbies that we don’t take the time to do. Other things come up and we spend hours on the internet instead of reading or knitting or racing video game cars. I’ve talked about the importance of hobbies in the past in regards to writing, but I thought we’d go into more on how to develop them.
I saw something the other day on Tumblr about the average lengths of fantasy novels. They ranged depending on the type of fantasy and I think it’s something important to talk about. As you may know, NaNoWriMo purports to have people write a novel in a month, but at 50k words, it comes in more as a longer novella. Generally, novels range between 60-80k words, especially for a first try. So what length should you be aiming for? Well, that depends on a few factors.