Part Thirteen of You Will Find Your Way Giselle can be terrifying when she wants to be.
With her chest heaving from exertion, Dallas rolls from her stomach to her side so she doesn’t smother herself in her pillow. She narrows her eyes at the dimness as the guy from the bar climbs off her bed, searches around for his t-shirt which—
Somehow ended up behind her empty dresser.
“Not into cuddling, are you?” Dallas chuckles as she sits up, drags the covers back over her lap when the sweat cooling on her skin makes her shiver.
He looks over his shoulder, and she can barely see his face in the shadows, but she does see his half-shrug, “I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I’ve got an early meeting tomorrow,” he says. “Swear it’s not a line.”
“I wouldn’t blame you if it was,” Dallas brushes her hand through her hair, and then frowns when she feels the burn of his stare, sees he’s stalled getting dressed with his arms pushed into his sleeves, half-holding the shirt to his chest. “What?”
One unedited sentence from an upcoming Saturday serial that is definitely not a fairy tale, but does contain numerous fairies.
She rolls her eyes, “Whatever you say,” she purses her lips together, looks like she’s thinking pretty hard and Fallon feels like she’s looking straight through him, which is more than a little disconcerting and something he hasn’t felt in a very long time. “Well, dream or not, do I get your name?”
Giselle waves the hand that has her now-tangled headphones wrapped around her fingers, “I had a feeling she’d be bringing someone by, hence the headphones,” a wicked grin spreads across her face at the sheepish look. “I’m well aware that she’s vocal.”
Also known as my fourth draft of the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale manuscript.
Since I first started writing this novel during the summer of 2015, I’ve pretty much consistently gone from draft to draft to draft (including the one draft that I decided to scrap and accidentally deleted completely and had a minor meltdown about), writing, editing, and re-writing this story between all of my other work-related obligations.
And sometimes sleeping.
On August 29th, I started tearing apart the third draft and finished the fourth on October 11th.
And then I STOPPED.
I did not pass go. I did not pick up $200. And I did not start working on Part Two for the 2016 NaNoWriMo like I originally planned.
And it remotely wasn’t easy.
I had been so entrenched in these characters and this universe for so long that it was difficult to want to stop thinking about the manuscript and all the ways I can keep making it better and better.
It’s really exciting, and all I want is to get all the words swirling around in my head for book one and the rest of the series onto a word document because A) I have a lot of words to get out, and B) did I mention that it’s going to be really awesome? Because it is.
But for a lot of reasons, I needed to stop.
For one, I finished the fourth edit the same week I decided to make an epic change to my life—see: leaving traditional employment.
As of today, it’s been two weeks, yay me!
For two, I had a lot of things happen from October to December at work, and it was all I could do to finish my responsibilities there, and also remember to do important things like eating and sleeping. Also, the holidays happened.
For three, I really needed to take a step back from the manuscript, and everything that happened in the above sentence helped force me to back off.
And now that I’m going forward with my fifth round of edits, the break has helped me gain some objectivity. I see things a little clearer, see some pretty blatant errors, see some convoluted sentences, see some character inconsistencies, see some more scenes that get in the way of the plot and need to be removed.
So the adventures of making things better continues.
I have just over 96,000 words to get through (and hopefully cut down to low 95k by the end of this), and so far I’ve gone through just over 30,000 words.
An optimistic goal would be to knock out 5,000 words a day until I’m done, but sometimes things happen.
One day I only got through 2,300 words because I was sick, or last night when I got through only 3,200 words because one of my childhood friends needed a place to crash since her connecting flight was cancelled and she was stranded in Arizona for the night (and thusly I needed to go through and clean my apartment because it was NOT ready for guests).
Some days, I was a LOT more productive. Like last Wednesday, when I knocked out 4,400 words while hanging out over by Arizona State (yes, the place where I used to work. They can’t keep me away so easily), or today, when I knocked out 4,500 words in the three hours that it took to get my oil changed and rear brakes replaced. And I’m not even done with today’s count.
Crossing fingers, I’ll be able to get through my edits by the end of the month, start working my way through my submission packages, and start querying.
Part Twelve of You Will Find YourWay Dallas isn’t about to spend the night freaking out and staring at her bedroom’s four walls.
By the time the sun sets behind the hills lording over the other end of the block, Dallas has had enough of staring at the walls of her attic bedroom. She stalks downstairs, tugging at the hem of her short skirt and calls out to wherever Giselle is, “I’m going out!”
In the living room, Giselle pops up from the middle of a maze of boxes piled three high, “Really?” Her brow arches as she takes in the spiky high heels in Dallas free hand. “So soon?”
Dallas drops them on the floor in the foyer, toes at them until they’re facing the right way and shoves one in, then the other, and gains a few more inches in height, “I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me so long,” she shoots back. “Don’t wait up.”
With a roll of her eyes, Giselle goes back to organizing her reference books, “Text me if you’re not coming home.”
Back when Dallas was a freshman—before her life was unceremoniously ruined—her sorority sisters and every other upperclassmen she ever encountered, would talk about the bars around the corner from campus. They always carded and could spot a fake ID a mile away, so the underclassmen never bothered trying to sneak in.
Plus, it’s not like they needed to when there was always so much free alcohol at the fraternity bonfires.
Dallas shudders at the thought of the party that ruined—or maybe even saved—her life, crosses her arms over her chest as she stalks in the opposite direction, toward those ever-famous havens for those who could purchase alcohol legally. Since it’s still late in the summer, two and a half weeks before the beginning of Fall Term, there’s no reason why they should be crowded.
‘I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, find my big green eyes crusted with sleep. I brush my beautiful brown hair and check my flawless skin for pimples, but of course I don’t have any, so I don’t need to put on any makeup. Then I walk over to my closet and put on my school uniform shirt and skirt, check my reflection one more time. Then I head down stairs for a delicious, filling breakfast.’
Obviously that paragraph is insipid to the point of hyperbolic, but it’s not like writing like this doesn’t exist.
Remember learning the concept of “show, not tell” back in elementary school?
Yes, it’s still (and always) super relevant.
Breaking out of the rut of the easier opposite, “tell, not show”, is difficult, especially when you feel that you have so much information about a character that you feel you NEED to get to the reader, or they won’t have the image of the character that you want them to have.
Let’s start with the harsh reality: your readers are definitely not going to have the image you want them to have, so don’t worry about it.
And anyway, describing your character down to the most minute detail isn’t going to draw your readers to your character. They want to see their motivations, their emotions, their actions. They want to see what makes them ache.
If you’re writing a full-length novel, you have all the time in the world to show a full picture of your protagonist, antagonist, or anyone else in your cast of characters.
Don’t give your readers everything at once, and don’t give them features, give them emotions.
Click the Continue Reading button for two thoughts on the matter.