Friday, November 21, 2008

RANDOM PANIC - number two.

I told you I might have a few of these Panic posts. But seriously, is this going to be me, at age 80? Still writing my book, and still trying to sell it?? Please say no. Please say no. HAHA
She does kinda resemble me in my leather chair at the coffee shop...

So, lately, I decided that perhaps what I need is a good read of my story. Specifically the first 75 pages. So last week, after "Random Panic - number one," and before "Random Depression," (oh, we are sick) I emailed drafts to three people. The following day I received a call from Critiquer number one. She had so many great ideas and changes that I felt sick and overwhelmed with just trying to figure out where to begin. Because I really loved a lot of her ideas!

But then, within minutes, I got a call from Critiquer number two. (you gotta love these girl’s speed!) Her take on my story was almost the polar opposite of number one! Yikes! What to do? Panic set in fast. I decided to take a day off, and just think. But lately this is hard to do, because all I want to do is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. What do you do when you have such opposite advice??

After pacing the house a few hundred times, I got another call. It was my precious neighbor and long, lost, best friend. She said, “Hey Katie, I haven’t seen you in so long that I miss you! How 'bout you come over tomorrow night for a glass of wine?”

Ahhh - I thought. That’s what non-writer friends are for :-) a glass of wine and mindless chatter. SURE! THANKS!!!

P.S. I have since received a review from C3, and she had even MORE ideas. My brain is feeling heavy and explosive.

P.P.S. I got an iphone, and it is helping with the chaos :-) I highly recommend one!


Tyler said...


Weren't you just telling me how much you go over everything each time you sit down, and how much that slows you down?

Well, silly, of course everyone's gonna have a bunch of ideas for you if you have them read it! But if you keep reworking your first 75, you'll never have more than your first 75. I'm sure your friends ideas were great, and I don't mean anything derogatory by this, but IGNORE THEM!!!

At least, until you've got your first full draft done. THEN you can deconstruct your book and tear it to shambles and rebuild from the ground up. But ya gotta let that first draft run free, or you'll suffocate your characters. My two cents, anyway. Now go write, and don't stop! Good luck!

Katie said...

I am laughing Tyler! And rest assured that I am writing away.

I think you have assumed that the first 75 is all I have written. This is not so, my dear. I am almost finished. I am just editing these for a partial request from an agent :-)

So don't worry friend. But I DO have a very backwards style of writing - and so I DO sometimes edit before I create - which I know can be a problem for some, and so I am aware. But so far, so good.

In fact, I fear I have over written the first half and need to cut and get to the action quicker. Not sure. But I LOVE all of your encouragement and advice. THANKS!!!

Shelli said...

I assume I am either #1 or #2 _:)

here is what I had to do:
1) figure out what kind of book you want - mystery, drama, coming of age, etc.
2) once you have main theme it should drive your plot. ie - mine is thriller, more plot driven so I need it to be pacy. its not a romance and not a mystery per sae.
3) most importantly - take all the feedback and sift in through your gut. what resonates the most. It will probably be a little of both.

in the end - it is your book, you gotta follow your heart.

Hardygirl said...

Katie, I did NOT give you permission to put my grandmother's picture up on our blog.

Okay, kidding. I don't want to start random panic number three . . . Seriously, great advice from everyone.

Tyler, your advice totally applies to me. I'm bad about overworking and rereading the beginnings of my books--and I think it really shows when I go back and read them.

Here's my problem, I feel like I have to start at the beginning and read everything that I've written starting on page one to be able to write--so that I can get in touch with the flow of the story, the characters' voices, etc. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that I get bogged down editing and changing the first few chapters, and I wear myself out before I get to the later part of the book.

I just have a hard time opening up my computer to page 75 and starting to write "cold" without rereading what is building up to that scene.

I will say that Sara Pennypacker says that she writes in a similar way--somehow, though she's able to avoid picking her first chapters to death. Maybe I should read a PDF version of the first part of my book so I won't be tempted to edit as I go along. . .

Katie said...

Good advice Shelli. That is what I am trying to do.

SF - great description of why it's hard to just start on page 75. Like now, I had to go out to lunch with some people and now it takes me a few blog read, a couple of facebook comments, and some emailing, before I can mentally settle down.

And then I find, that I have to read a while, and feel the book, before I can jump right in. Laini had some good advice today for this problem.

But this is why it takes SOO long to really write anything. It's a matter of settling and focusing the mind. You know? It is probably only an issue for ADDers... huh?

I can't wait for tonight!!!!!! Squeeeeeee!!! (that was a squeal.)

Irene Latham said...

I left something for y'all at my blog. :)

Katie said...

Irene! Our first ever blog award!!!!!! I am so excited!!!


Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

This post made me laugh - love the picture, too! Nope, you are NOT going to be some ancient decrepit old lady before you sell a book - bah!

It can be very nerve-wracking to hear polar opposite ideas. I know you're eager to write, write, write, but just calm your heart, go for a walk, clear your head, then take an hour or two of serious pondering and weighing in a quiet place. Maybe even make a list of all the ideas and comments so you can *see* them in front of you. And then, in the end, go with your gut and what feels *right* for your vision of the story. You don't have to do all the changes right now, either. Do enough for the partial request and send it out. And YAY for you on the request!!! Fingers crossed for you.

Katie said...

Why thank you KGL, for those wise words. The panic has subsided and I am back on track :-)

Tyler said...

That's great you have a partial request, Katie! Now you and I can worry and wait together! Glad to hear you're back on track, and (if you're emailing your partial) good luck hitting that send button! It's tougher to do than you might think, haha.

And SF, the best advice I can give is to just write that awful first draft without a worry in sight, then go back and fix it. Heck, it's been two years of reworking for me to finally be able to say "done" on mine. And who knows how long that done will last. And trust me, that first draft was terrible. But also really fun, and a necessary experience. Although it's just about over, Nanowrimo is great for this. Forces you to just crank it out.

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