Thursday, June 10, 2010
How to unstick your Gladiator
Then I read a post today on Christine's Journey that mentioned revisions.
I read through some of the links on her site, commented on a couple, but this one stuck with me: Guide to Literary Agents.
I'm not sure the link works, but let me give you the gist: The author wrote a story, found an agent, the agent shredded the story and insisted on a near-complete rewrite, whereby the author obliged and wrote a novel that resulted in a three-way bidding war between publishing houses.
How's that for success!
But it tickled my revision bone, which has been tingling and tickling these past few months as I challenge my method.
Here is my short-story method: Write it out, fast, go with the flow. Re-read, and rewrite. Often, I nuke the entire story and write from scratch. The end result is almost never what I began with. I have a ton of short stories, some of them pretty good.
My novel method: Agonize over the plot. Write the first chapter. Rewrite it. Eventually find a hook and agonize through the middle and on to the end. Revision is limited.
See the difference here?
My short-story method is the one that ~works~. The novel method is the one that ~fails~.
Remember that in the olden days, writers used pen and ink, or a typewriter, and a draft was a draft, while a revision was a rewrite.
In other words, there were no revisions. No cut-n-paste, no delete, no spellcheck and modify. You had to rewrite and retype the whole damned thing!
I am going to try this on my latest work. I am going on a backpacking trip tomorrow and won't be writing. I'll ponder my story in the Arkansas mountains (Ouachita Park), and then when I get back, I'll plug out my first draft, non-stop, as if on a typewriter or handwritten, and then rewrite the whole dang thing, all 60kw.
You are my witnesses. This is how I will unstick The Gladiator's Son
If you're stuck, how will you unstick yourself?
PS: Post responses will be delayed as I will be playing the banjo in the AR backwoods.