Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Re-writes, New Scenes, and a Very Chatty Muse

I am currently elbow deep in the rewriting process.  I purposefully stopped when I knew I had about three or four scenes to go (i.e., "The Big Climax" and "The Ending" bits), because I wanted to go back and flesh out some things, add in some snippets and hints, write some new scenes that I realized would improve things, and then I decided that I wanted to change the perspective from Third Person Past Tense to First Person Present Tense.  I felt like it would lend more intimacy and immediacy to the story.  So I guess I have my work cut out for me for a while.

I had re-written the first chapter and then, while driving in to work this morning (which, by the way, is one of the prime times that my Muse gets chatty), this new scene flashed in my head in an instant, fully developed!  I scrounged for a pen and a bit of paper and jotted down the important bits while at stop lights (because friends don't let friends write and drive), and then I hurried in here to tell you all about it.

My Muse, Calliope (a/k/a "The Chatterbox")
My Muse has been a bit of a chatter box lately.  Apparently she has a lot of ideas about the story and the characters.  Trust me, I am not complaining.  Due to some schedule changes on the ol' home front, I should gain an extra two hours (swoon!) each night to devote to the book, which should help move things along nicely.

I have also been busy serving as a beta reader to a fabulous young writer (and if she is reading this, I want to assure her I will have my notes to you by the end of the day tomorrow!).  Her work has been a joy to read, and her skill and word-weaving are inspiring!  (I should also warn her that I hope to have my first chapter to her in about a week or so for her to beta read!)

Also, on the subject of beta scares me to death.  No, not me reading other people's work, but letting them read mine.  I know, I know!  How on earth do I expect to be okay with putting my work out there for purchase if I feel nauseated when I hand over something to a beta reader?  The short answer is:  Um, well, I guess I will have to develop some really thick skin really fast! 

Don't get me wrong.  I can take criticism.  I really can.  And I really want my beta readers to "sock it to me," because it is much better to find mistakes, plot issues, etc., when there is time to change them rather than in a review, or a ill-tempered comment, etc. 

My wonderful (and patient) friend and "first reader" received a draft of my first chapter (minus the above referenced scene that I described above, what with me not having yet had the inspiration for it), and I am afraid I blatantly stared out her the entire time she read it (note to self: give beta reader the chapters, then walk away!).  I must remember to try harder to not scare my beta readers off.  Trustworthy beta readers are hard to come by, after all.  Luckily, not all of my beta readers are subjected to such behavior...only those that have known me ten years or longer and whom I see on a nearly daily basis. 

I am hoping that it gets easier the more I "let it go."  At some point, in some ways, the book will no longer be mine.  I will make the last few changes, decide it is as good as I can make it, and I will offer it to the world.  (And then I will alternate between wanting to throw up and obsessing over purchases and reviews, or perhaps I will multi-task and do both at once.) 

Until then, I will keep marking off the days, and listening to the Muse, and sharing my journey with you.  (And I will obsessively check  my blog for your comments which, quite honestly, make my day.)