EDITING TO ADD: The entry (mentioned below) is UP. Check out Secrets & Second Chances.
I’ve been confronted with a depressing reality this week. Everything I’ve written in the last four years has been rough draft. Even the work I *thought* I’d revised is still rough. Bumpy, choppy, hairy, rocky, unshorn. (I’ll explain this overload further down.)
You see, this week I took a crazy pill (or it might have been that turkey burger) and decided to enter the Mills & Boon New Voices 2011 competition. I know what you’re thinking.
“What was she thinking?”
Trust me, I’ve asked myself this same question. Still waiting for the answer.
I didn’t want to use the current WIP because that would be too easy. (Okay, there are other reasons.) That left another story I started a couple of months ago and set aside. The inkling of an idea that has floated around in my mind for a few years.
Fortunately, I had the rough draft of chapter one done. Unfortunately, I had to revise it into something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to post. This meant finding all the right words. The powerful verbs. The fresh metaphors. The most descriptive descriptors.
I’ve spent three nights and most of a day revising less than 2200 words. Why did it take so long? Because I had to check the thesaurus four times per sentence to find the right words. (Slight exaggeration. Slight.)
I’m not looking for words I don’t know. I’ve been speaking English for nearly forty years. I’m educated. I’ve been a reader for more than thirty years. But for some reason, my brain gets halfway through a sentence and it’s IRK…. speed bump.
The word is right there. I know what it means, how it would sound. It’s perfect for what I want to say. And yet the word escapes me. It’s official. My brain is a colander. Tiny holes allow everything I need to slip through while disturbing memories and 80s song lyrics never go anywhere.
I’m now considering adapting my “vomit it out” first draft policy to include more editing along the way. Because at this rate, editing an entire MS could take me years.