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Revise, Read & Then Revise Again!

It has been hard for me to sit down and track my writing progress. I think this is because I've hit a wall. My novel, this thesis means more to me than just a grade and/ or a graduate degree. I want writing to become my life. I always have. I started this journey in my early twenties. But I quit after my very first no. Instead of buckling down and honing my craft, actually becoming better. I stopped and went in he other direction. And now I am back. In graduate school with my eyes fixed my childhood, goal/ dream. The writing of my novel part is causing me frustration mainly because I haven't been able to find the time to revise my manuscript. I'm getting it done because I am literally hustling the time. I done through and revised my novel for a second time. And now, I'm stuck.

I couldn't put my finger on why, until now. I think it was because I was in the trenches. I was swamped with my creative ideas and the research that supports the notion that there is a place in the literary world for my manuscript. After sitting with all of the research I acquired over the course of the past few weeks. I wondered what I needed to do next. How and what do I use to get started on my thesis. But luckily, part of that research is reading. The writing can come later. Now I love to read for pleasure, obviously. So I put my research reading on hold then I went back to look at notes written in the margins of my manuscript. All of those notes called for me to pick up a young adult novel and study good writing. So, I picked up the book All American Boys by Jason Reynold sand Brendan Kiely. I looked for moments in the text where they author used show and not tell. I looked for ways to incorporate imagery in the text to give the reader a sense of setting. I marked up examples on page:



This helped me in identifying examples of imagery done well. I felt like I was preparing to teach a lesson on using this skill. I was able to go back and look at my work and look at my revisions through a different lens. When it comes to writing my manuscript I am so happy that I have help. My best friend and author, Tami Charles is my writing partner in my revision process. She read Misunderstood in its rawest stage back in October and now, she's helping me along through my revisions as my line editor. She doesn't want me to call her that, but she is. I've also enlisted the help of a two professional editors, Keslsy Kloster as my copy editor. And Mary Kole to help me with my first ten pages and as well as my query and synopsis letter. I believe that they will give me the help I need to push through to my final revisions needed to start submitting my work to agents.

Writing my creative work has been interrupted by the research aspect of my thesis work. Now more than every I wish that I was getting my MA in Creative Writing because the it has become so difficult to work in both parts of the brain. But I believe my work as an educator makes this easier to do. As I'm going through the creative process of revising the novel I look at through the lens of my research questions.

Why is a book like this needed?
Why does it matter?

I've been gathering my notes and jotting down my thoughts to answer this questions. I have started reading articles and watching different talks on story telling and keeping up with stories that are being  brought by publishing companies on the Publishers' Weekly Rights reports. It is important to me that gather all of this information from all angles. This helps me stay focused on my end goal and and my end of my graduate school program goal.

The good part is that I am still in the research phase of writing my thesis. So for now, I can continue to read, revise and gather notes that will help me write my thesis once I get to phase II.

Comments

  1. This sounds exactly like the way this should go, the narrowing and wider opening I mentioned in our call, like a bellows. That you are moving from the writing, to the research, to the reading/highlighting, to asking for feedback all tells me you are doing this right.

    And you have a lot, a lot of time to work through this.

    On my last plane flight I caught up on my Misunderstood reading. I'm totally drawn in to the way your writing brings Mya, her family, and friends to life. I'll toss in a few minor suggestions, but have been wary since this is so much your voice coming through.

    Take in all the things you can from research, from the notes in the novels you are reading, what people say, but keep true to what you are doing, and feeling for this story.

    It may be cliché but listen to your gut and your heart.

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