Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Have pen, will edit #amwriting #amrevising


OMG! I just looked at the calendar. Do you realize we’re halfway through January already?! And I feel like I haven’t gotten nearly enough done yet.

‘Course, that seems like every day.

So, as I’m waiting for beta feedback to come in, I’ve been working on my police procedural, which I haven’t read for, hmm, a couple years I suppose now, since I didn’t do much writing in 2020 and last year was full of Book 2.

There’s something to be said for distance from your work. It was like pulling out a notebook you had forgotten about and reading that scene you wrote forever ago, back before you knew what the hell you were doing (as if I know what the hell I’m doing yet ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Some good stuff, but oh boy, talk about needing some restructuring. When I went through the story, I could see where the problems were: the first half of the book focuses on character development, and the second half on the mystery.

Yeah. I know, right? You gotta spend time with the characters before getting to the bulk of the good part? Not very balanced. So, I did the ol’ index card process of putting each chapter or scene on an index card and arranging them. I like to use a story timeline as a guide, kind of like an outline, but not really. I reorganized the timeline with the cards, and now have to make some scene revisions so it flows properly.

Hoo boy. Actually, it’s not too bad (better than rewriting the whole thing!), but still. I should have seen that problem a long time ago, but as with any other writing, you need to get some distance from your work to see it a little more objectively. Usually not years, though!

So, a takeaway? Set a project aside for a few weeks or longer (a couple of years?), let it (and you) cool off for a bit, then go back and look at it. Those little things, like sentences you don’t need, or scenes in the wrong place, or a different character as the mysterious spy, will be more noticable.

Stay warm! We’ll be welcoming highs in the single digits above zero next week. Gotta love winter in MN!

Throwback – Kitten Nyx and Kitten Tibbers being adorable!

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

14 thoughts on “Have pen, will edit #amwriting #amrevising

  1. Sush, some of us are trying to procrastinate while our wip glares at us from the other screen. You hit the nail on the head with your comment about distance though. I managed a 70k draft for NaNoWriMo 2020 and I’ve taken a machete to it since then.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re so right about sometimes needing a bit of distance from a manuscript, Julie. I’m just finishing edits now on my novella, and it didn’t start to happen until I’d walked away from it for a bit. I think it helps to give one some perspective on a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just what I needed to read this morning, Julie. For the first time since I started writing (books, anyway), I had to put aside my half finished WIP. I simply wasn’t happy with what I’d done. It felt forced to me, so I decided to shelve the project (my 4th Riverbend book) for the time being, and work on the first of a Wake-Robin Ridge spinoff series of novellas. I figured that would be a good change of pace, a much shorter project, and hopefully an easier on. Rabbit usually dictates any story involving him, so all I have to do is write down what he tells me. ๐Ÿ˜ That’s the plan, anyway. Hopefully, by the time I pick up Riverbend 4 again, the way forward will be clear.

    Good luck with your reorganization and the index card technique. Sounds like you’ve got it well underway now!

    Oh, and mid-January is still not too late to wish someone a happy new year, so … Here’s to a very happy & productive 2022! ๐Ÿงจโœจ๐ŸŽ‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Marcia! Sometimes I need to work on a different project when I get tired or frustrated with one. That index card method helped me see just how back-heavy the story was (color-coding is great ๐Ÿ™‚ ) So great that Rabbit dictates! I wish Sierra would dictate to me; I would have saved 7 reboots of Book 2 ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck with Riverbend 4 and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I recall that manuscript of course, and I know you’ll make it work and be happy with it. The topic you’re tackling is unique in the mystery/suspense field. Good luck! I’m flailing away on my own mystery novel and a picture book. There’s always guilt involved when I work on one thing and leave the other one alone. These manuscripts become living beings, don’t they? Good luck, Julie. Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait, you flailing?! No. Way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I suffer some guilt, too, especially after almost 3 years since I last worked on DoP, but the good thing it I could see what needed to be done with it. Now, if I can finish up Book 2 and get back to Spring Brook …

      Happy Writing!


  5. I so want to be that couch cushion those kittens are lying on. But you already knew that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I know the feeling of looking back and seeing with horror what a lousy writer you were. On the plus side, it’s nice to know that you’ve improved! The question is: when do you get to the point of no longer realizing you’re a lousy writer? ๐Ÿ˜› This is me talking to myself–not to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Distance from a project definitely helps. The last two I’ve worked on have had the benefit of lots of time between start and finish, LOL. And my next planned project was a NaNoWriMo mess from 2019. Nothing like looking at something with fresh eyes.

    Aww, those kitties are adorable. I love the throwback pix!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I had to use one of the cute kitties pics because, you know, kitties!

      Yes, looking at something after setting it aside for a while really helps the whole “fresh eyes” thing. Of course, then there’s the risk of hurting oneself after all the “what was I thinking” head-slapping ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy Writing, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

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