Doing Your Story Justice

Happy New Year!

With a brand new year upon us, it brings about a chance to not only reflect on what happened in good ol’ 2011, but what we want to achieve in these upcoming months. What do I want to achieve? I want to get this darn book finished. But there’s a little something standing in my way.

I need to do a complete re-write.

The realization stings a little. Throughout the month of November, in which I participated in NaNo WriMo, I managed to complete the first draft of my novel. It’s an achievement that I couldn’t be more proud of because, despite the fact that it’s flawed, I did it. Upon re-reading, I discovered that I just was not happy with the outcome of the story. The plot is fine. The characters are fine. But the mood….the mood is just wrong.

This is when I believe I stumbled along a blog post at exactly the right time. I make no secret of my adoration for author Maggie Stiefvater. Her Wolves of Mercy Falls series is, in a word, amazing. As I was perusing her blog right around my mental breakdown at the beginning of December, I came across something that I truly think I needed to hear in my frazzled state.

She posted a rather large archive of her posts about writing, revisions, and inspiration. In her post More Wind, Less Snow: Revising for Mood, it was almost as if she was speaking to me. Crazy, yes, but it was just what I needed to read. I think that one of the reasons I love her writing so much is that, in a way, our styles are somewhat similar. Maggie’s words are clearly filled with emotion; she writes with her heart. She digs deep into her characters’ souls and pours all that she can into her stories. Essentially, the tone makes the story. It’s what draws a reader into the work and really makes him/her care about the characters. It makes them care about what happens with those characters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book, and couldn’t have cared less about the outcome of the lead character because the author gave me nothing to grasp on to.

Her post is what made me realize that, while some people look at me like I’m insane when I tell them I’m re-writing an entire novel, I’m not entirely nutty. Maggie admits to throwing out the first draft of Forever because it just didn’t work. It’s not necessarily about being a perfectionist or what-not, but more along the lines of doing your story justice. When you care about your characters, then you want to tell their story in the best, most accurate way possible.

With that, I wish you all a very happy and fulfilling 2012. Let the good times roll.

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