Friday, August 7, 2009

The things you learn

I meant to blog yesterday, but I didn't. I haven't been very productive today, so I think blogging is the least I can do.

First of all, congrats to Kody Keplinger on her book deal for her debut novel, The Duff! For more info on that, you can go to one of several different blogs. And since I don't think I ever said so (on my blog) congrats also to Kirsten Hubbard for her deal for the super amazing Like Mandarin. You will all be missing out on some major awesomeness if you don't buy both of those books when they come out.

And in unrelated news, Michael is exactly fifteen months today! Not like it's a birthday, but since I happen to be blogging today, I might as well mention it. He may be starting the terrible twos early. But it's alright, because he's very adorable while he does it.

So, on to the reason I actually meant to blog: I finished my editing, and am about to start querying Unthawed! Prepare for a long winded explanation of all the fun things I figured out for myself while writing/editing this beast.

Rewriting: not just for parts where the plot needs to change. Alright, so I haven't been under a rock, and I was aware that rewriting existed. But I had never before thought to rewrite something just because it didn't quite work for me. There was one chapter about a third of the way in that I felt was just not giving off the fear that it needed to. The characters had just stumbled into a situation where they should've been terrified, but they were way too calm. I tried editing the scene I already had, adding in more fear from Emma, the MC. But I still wasn't happy. And then I realized something.

If I hate the chapter, how can I expect anyone else not to?

So I made a list of the important things that needed to be revealed in the chapter, set aside the original, and wrote it completely from scratch. It's so much better now.

It's true, you can cut a lot of words without those redundant sentences. I had plenty of them. Sentences that drove the emotion home just a little too hard, sentences that stated the obvious. My manuscript went from about 72,500 words down to about 68,500. Part of that was cutting some unnecessary chunks, but I definitely think I cut at least 2000 words just from getting rid of useless words or sentences.

First chapters don't always come out like crap. I usually have a huge problem with first chapters. I'm never satisfied with how my first chapters come out. But after all my revisions, I actually feel happy with this one.

Imagery is awesome in the Arctic. I may have had too much fun changing my cliche type sentences (eg. butterflies in the stomach) into not cliche sounding descriptions that drew from Emma's arctic surroundings. It's surprising how much untapped imagery there is if you give it a lot of thought. Which is something I'd never bothered with before.

I have the best beta readers in the world. I could not appreciate them more. Everyone who read this for me is so amazing, and it would not be what it is without them. *Hugs beta readers* Anyone who tries to polish their writing without the help of super awesome people like these is insane.

So that's about enough, although there are probably thousands of other things I could say. I'm excited to start querying, and no matter what happens, I love this story and I'm glad for the last few months I spent working on it.


Michelle Schusterman said...

*hugs back*

Can't wait to read the 2.0 version of Unthawed! :)

Madeline-Rose said...

I'm happy for you Kaitlin. I always seem to have trouble with first chapters as you already know lol. But I'm happy for you. Your story sounds amazing, something that I can't wait to read.

Sarah said...

Yay! I didn't know you were a member of the rewrite team. I feel you though on those pain chapter.

Amanda Hannah said...

Cannot wait for you to start querying! This story is so great.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

aw, thanks so much for the congrats -- and I'm thrilled to hear unthawed is ready to release into the wild! hooray for ruthless revisions!, back to mine.