The manuscript of Dancing Between the Beats is back in my hands. It spent July through September with Joshua Cochran: published author, poet, and current head of the English department at Pima Community College (PCC). He read through most of the draft for a general developmental/content edit. His input was, as expected, invaluable.
As I work through Joshua's notations, I find everything from a confidence-boosting “wow” in the margins, to “ground us in setting”, “refine delivery”, and even few eagle-eye line edits. I am paying attention to all. He also pointed out that I overused the word just. I think overused is a gentle understatement. When I searched the document, I found 533 iterations of just. If I use this word in speech as often as I did in the draft of my novel, you have my permission to slap me the next time you hear it coming out of my mouth.
Between input from Joshua Cochran and in-depth critiques from my writing group, Vista Writers, the hard work of revision can now seriously begin. I'm still working through line edits before delving deeper. Next will be the more time-intensive process of major revisions: grounding the reader in setting, tightening the tension, using more internal dialogue to add depth to characters, and killing my darlings (as per William Faulkner). I’ve created a revision outline to help me stay on track and plan to stock up on coffee.
The hardest part of the revision process is the self-discipline involved. I'm anything but a person of routine, but to tackle the task on hand, I will have to set a writing schedule and avoid distractions. Did anyone say squirrel?
As of early this summer, my novel manuscript is undergoing a professional content edit. Based on input from this critique, I will make additional revisions.
I hope the publication process for DANCING BETWEEN THE BEATS will begin in 2019.
Since this is my first post on my new blog, I thought a bit of an introduction might be in order—not to my writing, but to me. We never see ourselves the way others see us, so my perception of “me” might come as a surprise to those whose vision is otherwise.
I believe I’m an introvert trying hard to be an extrovert, which by the way, can be exhausting. Most of my pastimes are solitary: writing, photography, gardening, reading, perusing Facebook…. But, I also love to cook for people and entertain, so friends who have called me “the hostess with the mostess” are shaking their heads in disbelief at the word introvert. Well, here’s the thing about being an introvert; it’s easier to be the hostess of your own party than a guest at someone else’s. Seriously, think about it. You’ve chosen the guest list so you know everyone; you don’t have to make “so what do you do?” small talk; you can stay busy smiling, refreshing drinks, and making introductions. Even the shyest among us can manage that. The flip side, which just occurred to me, is that being more comfortable running the show might mean I’m a bit of a control freak. Hmmm. This might require a bit more thought.
I’m also introspective to a fault, if you haven’t picked up on that already. This, I believe, is the underlying cause of my insomnia. I analyze past conversations and interactions ad infinitum, often beating myself up for something I either said, or should have said, or should have done. I’m self-conscious and insecure, which often conflicts with the image I project. Sometimes I over-compensate. The truth is something as simple as an initial coffee date with a new acquaintance completely intimidates me, and I’m never happy with how I come across. A lifetime of being who you are expected to be can leave you unsure of who you are.
I’m more comfortable sending an email than picking up the phone. I can backspace, correct, and rethink an email. Chatting on the fly is another story. My mind goes either blank or I’ll blurt something out and bury you in too much information. With most people, an eye-to-eye chat is more within my comfort zone. Facial expressions and body language help keep me in check.