Over the past weekend, I received my contest critique and I’ve got to say, it’s opened the current revision up like a chest-spreader. Not shocking or earth-shattering exactly, but confirming everything Syl pointed out, shoring up all my own convictions. Suddenly, motivation is high. I know what happens next. I’m on it. I knocked 7k off the opening in less than an hour.
At the risk of sounding fractured, it’s funny how a given situation can dictate your persona, your requisite set of traits. All my life, the girl who shows up to work each day has varied depending on her function. Now, looking at urban-fantasy-agent’s (specific—beautifully specific) comments, Revision Girl is back with a vengeance, and I just keep thinking, it’s about damn time.
“It must be hard, though,” my dad said, “to cut things.”
“Not really,” I told him. “I mean, if it’s not doing anything for the story, it doesn’t matter if it’s the most lyrical little scrap of prose ever. It’s still not doing anything.”
But that’s Revision Girl talking. She has no nostalgia, no sentimentality. She doesn’t have time for second-guessing or screwing around. She doesn’t feel things out. Give her a red pen and everything bleeds.
Revision Girl wears too much eyeliner, too much lipstick, likes a shot of espresso in her drip coffee. She once worked thirty hours a week while taking a credit overload and interning, only slept four hours a night, loves Rob Zombie. She scales nine-foot fences while wearing a miniskirt, only cares about the bottom line, lacks sufficient judgment to be afraid of things. Her sleep schedule is bizarre. She would mainline caffeine, eat nothing but Rocket Pops and beef jerky. She shines under duress. She always gets it done. I haven’t seen her much since graduation, which is fine, because frankly, she sort of scares me.
First Draft Girl is a completely different creature, soft like a bunny, wears too much pink and wouldn’t be caught dead smoking a cigar. She works in the garden and cooks elaborate meals. People think she’s from another country. Sometimes, when strangers compliment her fluent English, she thanks them automatically, without realizing that she ought to correct them. She always appears slightly confused, at odds with her surroundings. People ask her what’s wrong, because it’s in her nature to look worried. When she gets a flat tire, men pull over to change it for her, despite her ability to navigate the lug wrench and the jack. She loves flowers and animals and babies, journal entries and old photographs. She’s been around constantly for over a year, making little notes, having Grand Ideas, getting in the way of every serious overhaul, every attempt at cutthroat progress. She’s compliant, observant, polite. She makes up stories, but Revision Girl is the one who finishes them.
So now, I’m about to go to work on this and the work is going to be valuable and real, actual forward motion. I can’t quite express how relieved I am. Things are finally about to get done.