Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm kind of loving editing

NaNoWriMo has now come and gone, and I'm left with a manuscript of which I'm rather proud.  However, it was also a very messy manuscript, thanks to its evolution over the course of the month, and the anti-editing philosophy of NaNoWriMo.  While it was a good thing to concentrate on getting words on the page, it's also a relief to me to now be able to go back and fix those parts of the novel that were so incongruous they were setting my teeth on edge.

I'm happy to say that I have now edited around half of the manuscript and am more pleased with it than ever.  Now that the first half all makes sense, I have an even better sense of the flow of the narrative, and I really like where it's going.  I feel like the pacing is good and that the character development is coming along nicely.  While everything I've ever written is special to me because it has all been the result of blood, sweat, tears, and passion, I have to say that there is something magical about this one.  It just feels so intensely right.  This may have something to do with the fact that I was stepping way outside of my comfort zone when I decided to shoot for YA dystopian fic for NaNoWriMo that there is immense satisfaction is seeing that things are working out far better than I'd hoped.  Though I have a tendency to freak out a little when I face a challenge, I find that the intrinsic rewards of succeeding at a challenge to be extremely gratifying.

I've also been flying high all day because, last night, I returned to the writing group I'd been participating in, but have missed for several months due to various and assorted reasons.  It felt so good to be back with a group of like-minded people, sharing our work and offering one another feedback.  For so many years, I was deathly afraid of showing my work to anyone.  The very thought of participating in something like a writing group was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat.  Now I find myself wondering why I waited so long.  Not only do the people in the group offer very good feedback, they are a wonderfully supportive bunch, and everyone is genuinely interested in helping everyone else succeed.  More than that, everyone truly believes in everyone else.  It's a fantastic environment, and I have learned so much from everyone there.

I brought a two-page excerpt of my novel and volunteered to go second.  This time, I didn't really even have that nervous flutter.  I was actually excited to hear what everyone had to say, whatever it was they had to say.  To my delight, they were very complimentary about the excerpt.  I've often heard that writers should write what they would like to read, and I have always adhered to this philosophy.  However, I think this also engenders insecurity about whether it's something anyone else might like to read, so I was very happy to find that the others seemed to enjoy it.  It's more than just validation (though the validation is very important and wonderful!), it's knowing that my work may actually have a chance of finding an audience.

As much as I've love writing, it is a very solitary experience for the most part, so to be able to find a group of people with whom I can share this passion is a wonderful thing.  It's an amazing feeling to be in a roomful of creative people who are bouncing ideas off of one another.  I'm extremely grateful to the members of the group for boosting my confidence and inspiring me to continue on with my work.