Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Edit Me Out of Here

I'm starting to discover an awful truth about myself.

Exactly a month from today, I'm heading to Austin for my very first writer's conference.  An author of several books I've enjoyed will be there, not to mention some prominent literary agents, one (who shall remain nameless) who's on my Top 5 Dream Agents list.  I've been excited about this conference for months.

You see, last fall I wrote another novel.  I spit out the first draft in about 8 weeks, squeezing in late-night sessions nearly every night with my slow-as-mold netbook.  When I found out about the conference, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally put one of my novels out there.

So I started studying, because of course I can never tackle any project without reading every book ever written on the subject.  I read books on plotting, characterization, structure, revision, finding an agent, writing a query, and on and on and on...  I read seemingly endless books on self-editing, even read one entire tome on crafting the first few pages of a novel.

Eventually I ran out of books to read.  So I read blogs, agency websites, Twitter feeds, and anything else I could get my hands on.  I joined organizations and critique groups. I basically immersed myself in anything that could remotely relate to young adult fiction.  I even replaced my netbook with a shiny new MacBook, a computer I've dreamed about since college (it's an investment in my future, right?).

Now, sitting here staring at the bright, unblemished screen, with no book left unturned and no Tweet left unchecked, there's nothing else for me to do but edit.

The awful truth is that I can't.  I can write the most complicated soliloquy about someone else's work, digging out the minutest meanings in the most minor of details, but when it comes to my own work, I might as well be illiterate.  All of my careful research may've gone to naught, and I'm looking at 82,000 words that might be total crap.

Or they might be a goldmine just waiting to be discovered.  I really have no idea.

Good thing I invested time collecting so many critique partners.  They keep me grounded, and make sure I don't spend all my time blogging or watching TV or just plain sleeping, instead of revising.

Think I can edit a whole novel in a month?  Self-edit, no less?

Stay tuned!

TJ