So I woke up Sunday morning last week and sat for a good half an hour in front of my computer with my inner critic on a rampage. I was so unhappy with how my revision was going (or not going) that I was ready to give up on the entire story because it wasn’t good enough.
But you see, this story is my tripwire. I put my last story away because I got stuck in the exact same place, the muddle in the middle. Just like with that other story, all attempts to shove and muscle my way forward caused more and more angst.
So after I let myself wallow my my negative thoughts for that half-hour, I told myself ‘This is not working, it’s time to take a step back.’ This is a lesson that the universe likes to keep throwing at me, and I’m finally starting to learn it.
Then I did the only thing I could think of and went back to the revision slides from my DIYMFA 101 class and started from the beginning. The answer slapped me in the face six slides in.
You see, Gabriela, the instigator of DIYMFA, had helped me come up with a revision plan using her revision pyramid and she said that characters or plot can be the base of the pyramid, dependent on which you are stronger at. I was confidant in my character development, so I decided to put plot and story first on my revision schedule.
Well when I took that step back, I realized that I am great at character development …on all of the characters that I have been working on for years. However, the story I am revising right now has been in existence for less than five months, so of course the characters aren’t well-developed yet.
I spent the rest of Sunday filling out character questionnaire for all of the important characters. And then I spent the rest of my time this week poking at Tabitha in a few scenes again just to see what came out, and she seems much happier when I’m not trying to simply shove her after plot points.
So as for my specific measurable goal from last week, I failed to achieve my goal. I instead discovered that I had my revision plan in the wrong order. As such I am reordering it:
December 6 – 31 (3.5wks): Extract an Outline
January 1 – February 7 (5wks): Plot and Story
February 8 – March 5 (4wks): Main Character
March 6 – 26 (3wks): Secondary Character(s)
March 27 – April 2: (1wk) Plot and Story 2
April 3 – April 23 (3wks) World Building
April 24 – April 30 (1wk) Dialogue
May 1 – May 14 (2wks) Description
May 15 – May 28 (2wks): Theme
May 28 – June 3 (1wk): Line Editing
There is a yoga aphorism that is very common around the barn where I ride that goes like this:
Do the work,
Reflect on the work,
Release the results.
I am doing the work required for this revision (taking into account honoring my reality), and I am reflecting on the work, which has basically become the job of his blog, and while part of me wants to be upset about the fact that my timeline is pushed back, I just have to look at what has happened and release the result. Good or bad, the result cannot be changed so I take what I can learn from the process, and start it over again.
So now for my new specific measurable goal! This week I am going to write an outline for Tabitha’s character arch, and then go through my folders focusing only on the pieces of the story that deal with her character arch. My goal is to get through the first six folders, which shouldn’t be hard as she’s fairly well-established in them already. Folder 7 is where I started running into a wall.
And since this post is getting close to too long, see you next week!