Tag Archives: writing

Revision Breakthrough

Another breakthrough. Or at least one that’s making sense and gets me excited to actually do it.

I grew out my eyebrows so I could start with a clean slate. I’m HispanicLite, so I have some amazing eyebrow powers.

It was torture growing them out. They get so big and bushy and the most terrible discovery, I have grey eyebrow hairs!!

I finally got them waxed yesterday. I’m feeling pretty bitchin’ today:

An "uh oh what does she know that we don't?" selfie #selfie #smirk #fresheyebrows #feelingpretty #plumtree

A post shared by Mona Trimble (@tremblingtrimble) on

As I was putting on my facepaint this morning, I realized waxing my eyebrows is like revising my novel. Yeah, it hurts and I cringe and my face gets a bit red and puffy, but I feel better and I look better. And we could have this whole talk about the patriarchy and beauty standards or whatever, but, it’s nice to feel nice.

And as far as the novel revision goes, yeah, it’s hard and it hurts sometimes. But you rip off that strip of wax and all these stray words come off. It’s clean and sleek.

This revision of Canary is coming along. I am ripping out so many stray hairs. I’m still using the big strips of wax. The tweezers will be coming out soon. But for now, I’m looking at it in a new way. And, while it hurts, I can see an end product. I’m feeling it today.

And, like eyebrows (mine at least), if I rip too much out,  just give it a little time and it will grow right back (or maybe just check my Trash folder in Scrivener. It’s all the same 😉 )

And my enormous eyes are terrifying and hysterical at the same time, so I’m going to leave them 😂🤣😂🤣

PitMad!

PitMad is next Thursday. I’m trying to get Canary in shape for it. But it’s such a slog. And I’ve been in a funk and blah blah blah.

It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s scary trying to get it ready by then. I don’t get many external deadlines in my little writing world. There’s no one saying, “Do this now!” I was the worst procrastinator in high school and college. The fact I even managed to graduate from either is kind of shocking sometimes. Like, how’d I squeak through?

So I’m working and the inevitable this is hard. Do something else. You still have a week to finish is clambering all over my head and face.

But. I know I can do this. I know I want to do this. And if I want my dreams to stop being dreams and starting being goals, well, dammit. It’s time.

(and I don’t know how many times I have to say, “It’s time to stop being scared” but it looks like I need to say it another time or two)

Any other PitMad preparations going on?

Learning Hurts Sometimes

Over the past year, with my writing group, I have learned so much. My writing buddies have discovered I have a hankering for terrible books and every time they run across one, they’ll tell me about it and I’ll read them. Or, at least the first third when I’ve had my fill and have to set it down shaking my head. I’ve run across some doozies.

The upside of this, I have recognized so many problems in my own writing because of it. I’m revamping my Upcoming Titles page. Those titles I just swooped off the page were pretty terrible and not just Impostor Syndrome terrible. Legit garbage.

In any case, I might have a stack of eighteen manuscripts, but most of those deserve to stay there. I wouldn’t say it hurts, quite, to scuttle them. I’ve been KonMari-ing my house and it feels so good to clean out a junk pile. It feels good to put those manuscripts aside and know they’re done. I might rewrite them someday because I still love their characters, but that’s that.

From that stack, I think six are good enough to revise. Some of that might be my Impostor Syndrome, and some of that might be “Oh, I think I read something like that in one of those terrible books my friends throw at me.”

In any case, I’ll be updating titles and teasers. I’m curious to see where my writing career is going, but until I get to it and start working at it like work, well, it’s just going to stay right here.

I’m glad you’re on this journey with me.

Little Kid me Would be so Jealous Right Now

When I was a kid, I devoured books. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved getting into an author’s head and universe and having an adventure.

I’ve been critiquing a friend’s novel and I think the younger me would have just shit her pants at the privilege. Playing in another author’s world and pointing out flaws or the raddest shit ever and actively helping make a book better? It’s just amazing. I am transported to being a kid and reading Stephen King for the first time. It’s that level of amazement I feel sometimes as I’m critiquing. It’s seeing the world a new way. It’s fun and delightful.

I tend to be a very curious person and ask so many questions. My kid hates it when we’re at the zoo and the keepers are out because I just love to learn so much. “Mom, c’mon!” *hand tug, hand tug* 😀 But being in a dialogue with authors is so much fun. Every question I have, everything that doesn’t make sense, I ask my questions and find out. I like my certainty. And even if something is ambiguous in the story, I’ll ask my little questions and find out.

Anyway. I was making a cup of chai before getting back to my writing session and I realized how rad this all was. I hope your day is just as rad.

Courage

I’m not brave. I mean, it’s pretty obvious. I was that weird, quiet girl hiding behind a book growing up and I’m still that weird, quiet woman. Nothing has really changed. Maybe I’m better at hiding my inner weirdo, but she’s still totally there.

Anyway, there’s this popular little bit of self-help/stoic advice. What’s the worst that could happen and how bad could it really be? For a lot of men, the answer is, I lose my business and things are hard and weird for a while. But for women, the answer is: some man kills me or stalks me or sends me rape and death threats.

And it’s not like this is clear out of left field. It’s not like this is something that hasn’t happened. Women are killed and raped by men all the time.

And the last thing I’d like to do is bring this sort of craziness down on my family.

I know this is very unlikely. But this is one more stumbling block in my way. I can’t not think about this. But I can think about it and work through it and have some contingency plans.

Anyway, this is the thought I’ve been playing with lately. I’m working through my feelings about it and how to deal with it. And I think once I’ve either decided the risk is low enough, I’ll move forward.

I wonder how many of these stumbling blocks are of my own creation? I suppose I’ll find out as I cross them off.

Truth Bombs

Recently, I told a friend to pull a title from Amazon. I read their book and was a little o_0 over it. The title was pulled and I was both relieved and felt terrible.

My critique partner and I were talking over breakfast the other morning and LuLo came up. It was my first real effort at a novel worth publishing and it did not go through a very stringent vetting process. The ladies in my moms group, who I love and adore, were much too nice about my book and well, it sucked. Like a lot. So, I pulled it. There are so many reasons why it sucked, which I can go into at length, if you’d like, but… Anyway. My critique partner was still much too kind about it and didn’t come out and say it, but I kind of wish she would have.

It’s nice to hear your story is fun. It’s nice to hear it’s well written. But if that’s not true, you are doing the writer a disservice. High five for the cold, hard truth.

The more writing I’m doing, the more work I’m putting into it, the more I want to hear honest critiques. I don’t want to hear it’s good if it’s dog shit. I think I’m coming to a new place in my writing, where I’m feeling brave. Where I can send out queries. Where I can get the feedback I need. I’ve been doing more research on the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think I’m getting better at this and I can judge my own abilities better. Or maybe I’m still as hopelessly hopeless as I was before ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We report. You decide. heh. or something.

In any case, I feel like I’m taking steps forward. I don’t feel as scared. I’ve written some really terrible stories. And that was that. Nothing bad happened. As far as I know. But, I don’t feel so frightened of sending my books out into the world. I’ve been working through my revision block. And now, this. Things are moving forward and I’m feeling like a new, stronger, braver person.

Revision

I’m back in Khazad-dûm. And it’s really not so bad. I outlined the Defiant Canary in my notebook and it’s really quite pleasing. It’s nice to have a path and know where I’m going and what I’m going to do.

The strangest thing about this book, I’ve made each POV switch its own chapter. I have a tendency to head-hop, but with three POV characters, it’s hard to keep it all straight. So, each is labeled with its respective owner.

Having the outline has made a world of difference. I cut out all the weird little half page POV snippets before I ran across them with a blue papermate. I can’t even tell you how demoralizing it is to be on a good clip with the revision and then finding there was all this weird work to do to get it into shape.

I think I have to have a set system for revision. I can’t just hack at it pell-mell as I usually do. I think the first step is to write down the outline and weed out all these weird half-page POV barfs. Do all the major structural stuff. Then use Suzanne Johnson’s excellent monster revision workshop. Like oh my god, take her workshop. It’s incredible. Her plotting workshop is rad af too. I think if I outlined, I wouldn’t have to take this first step of doing this structural step. But outlining is so meh in my brain. I’ve used her plotting ideas and melded them with my pantser ways to keep things organized better. Everything I’ve written since taking that workshopping class is in such better order and will be easier to revise. Anyway.

I’m feeling real good about this. I’ve been sending chapters as I revise them to my beta readers. It’s a fun story and there’s cultists and Cthulhu-esque whales and all manner of nonsense.

I think I have a real good chance of releasing this by June. That’s my plan. And then I think I’ll release Mort the month after. And then… I’m not sure. Probably The Washed Up Astronaut. Anyway. I have a ton of work all lined up. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m getting excited to see where this will take me. The more I write, the better I feel about what I’ve been writing. Anyway. I’m feeling super hopeful and excited and rad.