Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Put DOWN the Axe!

I have discovered what The Best Thing Ever is (at least in terms of writing), and it is this:

Adding things when you revise.

I know what you're thinking. "What is this adding you speak of? Are you confused? Do you perhaps mean subtraction?"

To which I say: "Why do you have a fake British accent in my head?" And also: "No, I am not mistaken or confused." I'm saying that you finish your manuscript, you get some revision notes, and you discover that instead of trimming the fat of your sorta chunky but still totally lovable manuscript, you have to beef it up. Feed it some cheeseburgers. Generally make it look more like a healthy, well-rounded...word document.

I know this sounds easier than the other way around (chopping the MS down). And it's so exciting! Because I get to sit here and think of new ideas and develop my characters more and build this world that I love, but here's the problem: I almost always write too much. Therefore I have well-developed axe-ing muscles. If you want me to, I'll flex them. Okay, no I won't, because they don't actually exist, but you know what I mean. I have put a lot of time and effort into developing my chopping abilities, only now they are completely useless. I'm sure they won't be useless forever, but still.

I am confident that I'll be able to add stuff to the manuscript. That isn't the problem. The problem is getting started. Right now I'm staring at this blank document thinking of my manuscript as a mostly-completed game of Jenga. If I add ONE MORE JENGA PIECE to the top of this thing, I feel like it's all going to topple. My mother says something along the lines of "the hardest part about art is knowing when to stop" (sorry if I butchered that, Mom!), and I think that has taken root in my mind even though it is currently not relevant. I thought I knew when to stop. I stopped too early. And it's not like I can't go back and take things out again.

So even though it's totally irrational, and even though I've made a list and I know exactly what needs to go into the manuscript, I am experiencing. Blank. Terror.

(AKA: the word document that just can't seem to be filled with words.)

My current plan of action is to go for a run, then come back and reread some of the manuscript, take a deep breath, brew some tea, listen to the Divergent playlist, and get over it already.

Anyone else have solutions to The Blank Terror that I should know? Or that the world should know? (You know. Because the World checks my blog. I promise.)


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