Hacking My Process 101

This week’s focus was rewriting. After outlining the emotional arcs of my protagonists and figuring out the timeline, I understand what needs to change to improve my book. After last week’s discovery, (I don’t edit well in the dark), I decided to begin work earlier in the day to optimize editing time. I was only somewhat successful, but, thanks to my night-owl tendencies, I learned to work around the limitation… sort of.

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I started the week trying to edit the early chapters of my book. I was able to get work done, but not as much as I’d hoped, and when the sun went down Monday, I hadn’t finished my scheduled time for the day. I didn’t want to stop working without finishing my time, but I didn’t know what to do because of my mental block. Then it hit me.

One of the major decisions that I’ve made, in light of the timeline and emotional arc outlines, is to link Charlie and Sam’s experiences more closely to my own. Previously, one of the main issues in my writing was that, due to changes I’d made in my characters’ lives to make them different from the people in my real-life situation, my characters were no longer experiencing the same emotions that I had, which diminished my ability to write about them. When outlining Sam’s emotional arc, I realized an event that I experienced was informing Sam’s view point, even though she hadn’t experienced it herself. I knew I had to add that event in order for her arc to make sense.

The “event” that I am referring to is a six-month separation that my friend and I agreed to during our situation. My feelings of helplessness, combined with my determination to help, were agitating the situation and fights were breaking out between us near-constantly. It wasn’t helpful to my friend, and it wasn’t helpful to me.  We agreed to separate to give us time to heal, process, and figure out what boundaries needed to be in place for us to continue coping. The separation was hard, but I learned a lot and many of the conclusions I came to during that time inform Sam’s arc. Because of that epiphany though, I need to rewrite the last third of my book.

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I was hesitant to begin the rewriting process because I wanted to maintain the narrative flow that the “pantsing” writing style provides. But in light of my productivity problem, my new editing schedule gave me an idea: I have trouble editing after dark, but that is the best time for me to write, so my solution is to edit during the day and write/rewrite new scenes at night.

My productivity skyrocketed. I was able to edit two chapters per day (before I was doing one, and the quality would vary per chapter) and write new scenes without feeling pressured to focus on one or the other. Writing the new scenes is a bit tricky because they outside of where the story currently points, but I am creating a new foundation for my work, which is very encouraging. I am more excited about editing now, knowing that I can still be creative with this project, which inspires me further. All in all, it’s been a good week for work.

I am satisfied with my plan and will let you know how it pans out long-term.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

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Project Status: Currently, I have edited up to chapter 8 (of 30), and I have begun the rewriting process.
Note: I am looking for a professional editor.

Author: katiefortinwrites

A writer for 8 years now, I'm here to continue my endeavors and to share my journey and experiences as I work through my latest project: a book about depression, hope and overcoming. I hope you stay and laugh and cry with me as we go down this road together. Who knows what beauty we'll find there?

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