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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap

Major Revision/Rewrite of Violets & Violins
Status: 71,000 words out of 100,000

Words added/rewritten this week: 3,000

Did you notice a change?

My work-in-progress has a name.

Violets & Violins made its debut in cyberspace this week. I received a call from Georgia Romance Writers with the good news that V&V is a finalist in The Maggies. My story is one of six inspirational finalists listed on the GRW Web site. The bottoms of my shoes haven't seen much wear the past few days.

If you read my Five on Friday post this week, you know I had a rough year following my Golden Heart finals during which I battled doubt, discouragement and a few of their cousins. This final goes a long way in restoring my confidence.

I'm excited about writing again, and I think that's coming through in my work. I like to think the rewrite is taking a good story to a new level.

I've read many blog posts advising new writers not to rewrite. Instead, we're encouraged to begin a new story. I can see why. Rewriting takes courage. We have to admit that our stories need work and be willing to make the necessary changes.

The new beginning I added to the story forced me to rewrite the first 50,000 words of V&V. There was little of the previous version I could use. However, I knew my characters and felt they were strong enough to carry the story. However, the plot was weak and the conflict not big enough to sustain the story. I attacked those problems head on.

Since I'd written five books (six if you count the one I shelved) and have been steadily improving my craft, I chose to return to what was originally called Playing on Heartstrings. I think, in my case, this was a good decision. I'm having fun and am happy with my story. That's every bit as important as any contest finals in my book.

• • • • •

What do you think of the advice given new writers that it's better to move on and start a new story than to revise/rewrite an old one?

Have you rewritten a story? If so, do you think it's harder or easier than creating a first draft?

When do you think it's time to set a story aside and move on to something new?


Laura Frantz said...

Congrats, Keli!! So happy for you! Love your title. I'm looking forward to hearing more...

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Laura. Good news is always nice, isn't it? You've certainly had some. I'm looking forward to reading your debut novel!!!

Anne Barton said...

Yay, Keli! Your name looks great on the GRW website. :) You're getting close to finishing that story, and I can't wait to read it!

I've never rewritten a whole story . . . but I've rewritten many parts. Come to think of it, if I add them all up, yes!

Congrats again on your final and on rediscovering the joy. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Anne, I have you, my awesome critique partner, to thank. Your comments really made the first chapters shine. You rock!!

Jessica said...

Oh yes, I think it's definitely harder to rewrite. I'm glad you're having fun with your story because the one I'm rewriting is dragging for me.

Congrats on the final!!! That's so awesome. :-)

Cindy said...

Congratulations! It's fun to hear news from other writers.

For new writers, I'd say starting something new is probably a better idea most of the time. Rewriting is a challenge and it helps to have a better grasp on the craft before you begin something like that. So clearly rewriting is difficult. I completely rewrote something I'd done awhile back. It turned out better I believe but it was harder than starting from scratch.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessica, I'm sorry to hear your rewrite isn't progressing as well as you'd like. Hope things pick up for you soon and the joy returns.

Thanks for your kinds words. Sharing the hills and valleys with other writers is special. You know how hard the writer's life can be at times and understand how much the encouragement means.

Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words regarding my good news.

I agree that rewriting can be tough. While writing a first draft, I can remain in my creative zone. However, when I'm rewriting, I have to walk the tightrope between creating and editing. In addition, there's the pain of taking an honest, objective look at my work, seeing the story's strengths and weaknesses, and cutting parts I may really love but aren't moving the story forward.

Jill Kemerer said...

Congratulations!! And I love the title! Woo-hoo!!

I think writers should wait until they've written more than one book to go back and rewrite something. Otherwise, it's just too easy to get caught up in a circle.

I'm preparing to rewrite a book I wrote last year. The time is right. It's a good book, but the concept isn't a hot-seller. I know I can tweak it to meet the market's needs and I think it's a good learning tool for when an editor takes a chance on my work and asks for rewrites and resubmission.

Good luck and keep us posted!!

sherrinda said...

Wooohoooo! Way to go, Keli! That is so incredibly awesome and I am so glad your writing has been validated that way! Not that we need validations all the time, but it sure feels good. (at least, I imagine it would! lol)

I am taking a "forced" break after finishing my book, as you know, and will return to it in another month or two. I would imagine that the hard work is just begininng! :) But I'm up for the challenge and will use your as my example in facing it head on!


Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, thanks for celebrating with me. Your support means a lot!

I like to take a break from a story before I begin at edit. That way I'm able to return to it with more objectivity. I hope that will be the case for you and that you'll be ready, and even eager, to incorporate your dad's suggestions when you being your revisions.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jill, thanks for your comment regarding the title. I like it, too, but I know a publisher may change it. Until then, I'm enjoying Violets & Violins.

I like your view of revisions as training for the day we're working with our editors. My first rewrite of this story took place after I received a request for a full from an agent. She passed, but the experience of incorporating her suggestions was valuable. I agreed with her on the area she saw as a weakness. I've since seen others, which is why I'm rewriting--again.

I do know when to stop, though. After this revision, I'll start on a new project.

Susan Hollaway said...

Congrats, Keli! Way to go!

When I first started to write last fall, I began my first story. Then it was like -- no matter how hard I tried to write it -- it just wasn't happening. I thought, this isn't the story that's trying to come out. I need to rewrite this story completely. I shelved the other story and began this new one and it's going so much better. At least the story is coming out and seeming to blend together anyway. I still have a long way to go to get it finished.
Again, congrats! I'm so happy for you!