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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Facing the Ugly

Facing the Ugly

Last week, I worked through the copy-edits on THE CAGED GRAVES and mailed the manuscript back to the publisher.  I know there’s still proof-reading to go, but this is one step closer to FINISHED! It was so exciting to see the book worked over to the point where it’s shiny and polished and elegant!

My book looked like this:

But then I had to turn back to my WIP, and it looked like this:

Unformed. Messy. Ugly.

I wanted to hide my face and run away.

It’s hard to remember that THE CAGED GRAVES once looked like that.  In fact, it would be easy to convince myself that it NEVER looked like that and this manuscript I’m working on is a colossal failure.

Anybody who’s been around my blog for awhile knows I’m a pantster. And that I hate first drafts. Outlining doesn’t help. My characters refuse to follow orders.

But I love revision. (Even when I moan and whine about them, I love revisions.)  Because revisions are what turn the Gangers (Doctor Who, Season 6) into Jean Harlow and Clark Gable.

First drafts are allowed to be ugly and unformed. And sometimes one of the hardest things to do is face the ugly and keep working at it, especially after you’ve spent time hanging out with elegance.

What does your WIP look like right now?

19 Responses to Facing the Ugly

  1. Linda G. says:

    I know just how you feel–I love revising. In fact, I have a tough time not stopping to tweak all the time during a first draft. I sort of rewrite as I go.

    Right now I’m in the “imaging” phase of book 3 — I’m just thinking about it in broad terms, letting possible scenarios bubble up in my head. (I recently sent book 2 to my editor, and I’m waiting to see what she thinks of how I ended it before I set anything in stone for book 3. Since it’s a series, I have to make sure it “follows” appropriately.)

  2. Sarah says:

    My Wip is practically an embryo. At this moment, I want to hide from it, but it’s due in 6 weeks. Basically, right now I need to write ALL THE WORDS.

    HUGE congrats on getting those copy-edits off~what an exciting time!

  3. Discarded wrapping paper on Christmas morning. That’s what it looks like right now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Tonja says:

    I like editing too for the same reasons.

  5. I remember chatting about this last week. You are such an inspiration. Keep at keeping at it! (say that 10 times fast…)

  6. I also can’t do outlines, I figure out my plot by what my characters want to see and do. My new work right now looks like a Christmas tree ready to be decorated but because of work there are only a few bulbs on it at the moment.

  7. Southpaw says:

    Those pics are perfect. Mine looks a lot like the second pic. :O

  8. Perfect visual representation! ‘Face the ugly and keep working at it’ I love that.

  9. Those pictures made me laugh out loud (not just lol ;)) I’m the same way. Editing is painful but that’s where the beauty of my book comes together.

  10. Julie Dao says:

    Bahahha! All of my stories look like the second picture. *sigh*

  11. E. Arroyo says:

    I so needed to hear this right now. My current wip is in shambles. Notes on cards, notebooks, computer…now I gotta make sense of it all. =)

  12. I’m basically placing the bare bones down with this WIP. I haven’t gotten much done on it this week but I’m enjoying where it’s taking me. Outline or no outline, the thing does what it wants:) I’m enjoying getting to know the characters but for the first time, I’m actually excited about the revisions I plan to do once the first draft is down.

  13. Your picture comparisons made me laugh at my desk! Too funny. And too true.

  14. DL Hammons says:

    Referring to Sarah’s comment above, the sperm of my WIP hasn’t even found the egg yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I love revising too. It’s the best part of writing, outside of that zero draft, where everything and anything goes and you get to just WRITE with freedom.

  16. Feeling the same way about my WIP and my current novel.

    It’s scary to think someone might see it in this stage, but if they don’t read it when it’s bad, how will it get better?

  17. JEM says:

    Two things: LOVE the Doctor Who reference, those faces freaked me out.

    And I’m so glad you wrote about this, because I’m struggling with my new story and “getting it right.” Now that I’m so close to finishing my personal revisions on the manuscript I’m looking to query, I seem to think that writing it was “easy.” (Yeah, right).

  18. Rachel says:

    I, too, am working on revisions. And it is making my book so much better. (Here’s to hoping an agent likes it too!) I had a hard time making changes to my novel/work before this and now I see that it NEEDS to happen – it makes the novel stronger and helps you learn for future writing. Great post, Dianne.

  19. LTM says:

    LOL! What a perfectly timed post, Dianne! I just finished a revision, and I was shuddering to look back at some of the stinkers that were still lurking in that one. Now it’s closer to CG & GH! Love that picture, btw. And yes, here’s to revisions! Even when we’re fussing about them! :o) <3