Monday, July 8, 2013

It's A Matter Of Time

Okay, so I think I'm one of the most impatient people on the planet. This, mixed with the snail's pace of publishing, is not really the best mix.

Or maybe it's my snail's pace of revision that makes the months melt into years. Just when I think I've got the story figured out, there always seems to be something else suggested or discovered that makes total sense. You know those moments where you go, "Why didn't I think of that?" Especially after you've worked on a novel for several rounds.

Yeah, that's about where I am. I enjoy the process of revision. The tightening of character and plot, the re-imagining of scenes, the weaving together of story lines.

But every once in a while, there's a little voice in the back of my mind that whispers, "I wish you'd just gotten it right the first time. Then we wouldn't have wasted all these months."

Sometimes I listen to that voice. I feel a little bit anxious about the pace of publishing -- or my perceived pace of those publishing around me. I worry over things I can't control.

Sometimes I just tell that voice, "Sometimes it's just a matter of time." Sometimes I need time to think on a book, it's plot and character. Sometimes I need time away from a project. Sometimes I need time to work on a project. And none of it is wasted. I hope that in the novels I write in the future, I'll remember some of the lessons I've learned through really working on a novel for an extended period of time.

How about you? Have you ever spent so much time working on a novel that you're entertaining voices in your mind? 
(Ha!) Is it really just a matter of time until you get things right? (Please say yes!)

16 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Oh Elana. I work forever on a book. The last month or so I haven't been sure if I even know what a plot is. ;)

JeffO said...

I would love to be faster. I'm doing some revision work on a novel now that I'd hoped to be querying by now, but it's not ready (maybe by the end of the summer, hopefully sooner) yet. I started it 1.5 years ago. Ugh.

The thing is, I suspect that even if I crafted each and every line the first time, so that it was perfect and didn't need this current revision pass, it would still take as long, maybe even longer, because it would take me longer to really discover the story.

Angela Brown said...

I wish I could tell you no, it's not a matter of time...but it is. Sometimes, you write, craft, develop and design but it's time, more experiences and more observations that can bring those moments of unexpected epiphany to really enhance the story.

And sometimes, the voices in the head can be a bit irritating lol!

ilima said...

I have one that I'm putting to the side AGAIN because it needs a rewrite and I must think think think on it for a while. Too bad it's my most favorite book I've written, because I'm gonna keep at it til I get it right, dang it. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I have forced myself, with every single ounce of self-restraint, to not query before I did two good revisions. I'm glad the second is going faster than the first, but...yeah.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I find that the time is necessary for me to find those inconsistencies and plot holes and problem areas in a manuscript. If I whipped out a story, passed through it quickly a couple times, and then uploaded it to Amazon or something, all those problems would still be in it.

Working over a manuscript over a period of months is the only way I can really produce a polished piece!

Jemi Fraser said...

Voices in our heads has to be normal... doesn't it??

I feel slow as a snail with a couple of broken legs most of the time, but I definitely do need that time!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Oh yes. I can so relate to this. But I've learned so much during the years I've revised my first manuscript. I'm hoping the second one won't require so much revision. If I could just get the first draft out quicker.

mshatch said...

I know my first drafts are better than they used to be but I still need time to revise and polish. Eventually it will get there.

Taffy said...

I think what makes writing/editing/publishing sooooo slow is being asked if you've finished writing your book yet OR if it's out yet. Then after a a year or so, those people seem to give up on you. Sigh

Kelly Polark said...

Yes. A picture book that I've revised for YEARS is finally coming out soon. It's had so many changes, but you want it just perfect.

Time consuming but well worth it!
Good luck with your revisions, Elana!

Jen Daiker said...

I have such fun kicking off my shoes, putting on my bunny slippers and sharing conversations with my inner thoughts. Crazed hair and crazy conversations... isn't that the whole reason we write books as long as we do?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I totally believe it is just a matter of time, and as frustrating as that is in our fast-paced world, the book is better for it.

Julia said...

Oh my goodness, those voices! How many times have I let them talk me into starting all over again with my books! But I think it is a challenge to just get that first draft done, knowing that there will be a lot of changes! Great post!

KQuintana said...

Wow! I just found your blog and I really enjoy your posts. I'm the same way, I think I'll always find something that needs to be fixed, something that can be improved upon. When you figure out when you know it's done, please let me know! Otherwise, I can't wait to follow you on your journey!

onlinephduk said...

It is amazing that making one minor change in a novel can create numerous, seemingly endless changes to the story. A story is like a person, it is never perfect. But there is a point when it can be good enough to say to yourself “Yes, I am proud to have written this.”

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