Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pages and pages!

I thought I was done. I thought the first draft of the Revisions book was finished and I could happily be on my way to whip it into Draft 2. Then, after reviewing the Table of Contents, I realized something: The manuscript is NOT complete! It doesn't give enough information in the first part of the book. It wasn't what I had envisioned from the beginning. It was not the kind of section that it should be.

In other words, I needed to write new chapters!

I didn't want to think about the demise of the few chapters I have in there right now. I could worry about them later. Or put them into a new section. Or see what the publisher says. (The publisher is the one who gets the final word!) Right now, I had to think of new chapters. And what these chapters would cover.

So I spent days, literally weeks, mulling over this. What should I write about? How should I organize it? How do I write these chapters without making them look like I was echoing what other authors have said on this subject? How do I make them my own?

I had to spend a lot of time inward, reflecting on how exactly I go about doing this thing. I had to recall the many instances I would tackle editing (not revising) my work. What did I look for? What were common mistakes I uncovered? What sort of dillemas did I trip over?

Finally, inspiration struck. Maybe it was all that time I've spent studying books and web sites. Or all of that reflecting I did. Or maybe it was finding a grammatical mistake in my article which I came across only after it was published. (Groan!) Whatever it was, it worked, because I was soon writing pages and pages of ideas for these new chapters. I started to remember everything that I struggled with when editing my work. All of the things professional editors have pointed out to me. The many sources of confusion I have had while editing my writing. All of it just flooded into my head, coming back to me at full force.

I got ALL of that down on many pieces of paper. Then I went to play with the baby. And I kept coming back to those pages to write even more ideas! I even started writing in the margins my questions and ideas, and soon those margins were full. (Sigh. Even marginal notes can only go so far.)

And after I was done, I was happy about the fact that I had not one, not two, but SEVEN new chapters for this section of the book! Woo-hoo! (If it gets to be too long, I might combine one or two of them.)

That done, I could only go over these pages feeling a sense of accomplishment that I finally figured out the new chapters for the Revisions book. I nodded my head and observed, "I have my work cut out for me."

I also have to figure out how to organize it all. But that will come later. After the writing is done.

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  • At 9:21 PM , Blogger colbymarshall said...

    You can do it! I have the faith! I have been on a hiatus lately, so hopefully I'll get going again soon!

  • At 10:17 PM , Blogger Frank Baron said...

    I sure as heck hope your organizational skills exceed mine.

    What am I saying? Of COURSE, they do!

    You go girl! :)

  • At 5:03 PM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Colby: Go for it! I think a hiatus is great every once in a while. If anything it will help you get back to the writing feeling energized and refreshed! And thanks for the encouraging words. It's all coming together pretty well.

    Frank: Thank you. :) Those organizational skills don't get mastered very easily. Mine are still a work in progress. :) Having some time to think it all out and use creative visualization helps.


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