Last night I finished this round of Revision Hell for Act 1 of Riven. There’s a fair chunk of new material in there, so I don’t expect this to be the last time I have to touch it, but it’s a lot closer to where it needs to be. My shero was just…flat in the first version. I feel like I’ve got a much better handle on her now, so I’ve been rewriting stuff injecting that personality and upping the conflict considerably. Also better seeding/tying in some plot details I didn’t think of until the second half of the book.
I spent some time last night outlining the total rewrite of the next scene. I’ve taken to grabbing a legal pad and doing these little outlines by hand (and then immediately transcribing them because my handwriting is really questionable–if I wait, I might not be able to read it). I’m not sure why it’s different, just that it is. It’s something I read about in Rachel Aaron’s From 2k to 10k and I think it really does help untangle the knots. The caveat I’ve been making for myself is to do it the night before so that I have some time to let the concept gel in my head before actually sitting down to write it.
I’m behind where I wanted to be. I’d hoped to be through Revision Hell by end of June, but I’m pretty sure it’ll take a bit longer than that. And, you know what? That’s okay. Because I’m taking the time to make it a better, stronger (and evidently little bit longer) book. Probably it’ll take one more pass after this, but I expect that to be shorter, devoted to tightening things up, livening language, excising passive voice and excessive use of “that” (and whatever other words I was stuck on for this book). So maybe end of July.
Yesterday, I read an interesting article about 10 Principles of Work on Purpose (not as in intentional purpose but as in finding yours). The bit that jumped out at me were numbers 8 and 9:
Fear Means Go
Distinguish between healthy fears and the kind of barrier fears that stem from your insecurities. Your barrier fears are signals that you need to GO…not away from that which scares you, but toward it.
Gall to Think Big
Give yourself permission to try out smart, untested tactics, models, and ideas, even if you aren’t 100% certain you’ll succeed. After all, failure is one of life’s greatest learning tools and can be proof that you are thinking big. (In fact, if you haven’t failed in a while, ask yourself if you need to take on bolder challenges!)
Both of those apply to my next project. I’m thinking big and it scares me. By these standards, I say that’s a green light!
And then THIS morning, I read an article debunking the myths of happiness. It’s really interesting stuff. The psychologist being interviewed talks about hedonic adaptation–this idea that people are really good at getting used to changes in our lives–which was great from an evolutionary standpoint when a change in the environment might mean some kind of threat or be a signal for a reward, but which isn’t so great in a modern context.
But the downside of hedonic adaptation is that when a relationship becomes familiar—or when a job becomes familiar, or when your new car becomes very familiar to you—then you start taking the spouse or job or car for granted. You stop paying attention to them, and that’s when we have adapted.
I’d hazard a guess that combined with our obsessive and constant need for input courtesy of technology, this makes for a great deal of dissatisfaction. But what actually struck me is that this is one of the AWESOME things about being a writer. Because that job doesn’t ever really get familiar. There’s always a new book, new characters, new challenges. It keeps that boredom at bay. And I think that’s one of the huge reasons I love it. Food for thought.
Today’s lifetrack, Training The Supersoldier from Captain America–because sometimes you just need to feel like a superhero.