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.
Is it that I friended you (or vice versa) after the contest ended that I didn’t put two and two together about who you were? Your ears must have been ringing around the last weekend of July. I had drinks with Rachel and asked her about the progress on your critique, she was enthusiastic, but still at it.
Congratulations, again, and belatedly, but directly.
Speaking of belated, I’ve been putting some serious consideration into this post for, oh, coming up on two months now, and I think I finally have a game plan (hey, you said take our time). I’m now ready to respond without undue backtracking or ratification. Mostly.
I’m so glad you found the critique helpful! I’m biased, of course, but I think Rachel is just excellent at seeing where a story needs to be chaged in order to get the whole thing to fall into place.
And yay for Revision Girl! Keep her busy! :)
Oh, Rachel was fantastic! I had all these amorphous ideas about what was wrong and it was like she just went through and pointed, saying here, here, and of course here. Suddenly, I have some direction again ♥
Wow. Can’t wait to hear more about the feedback. I’ve got some serious soul searching to do about this concept of duality. Right now I’m teetering between Braindead Girl and Denial Girl. And I wouldn’t dare include pics of those, but your pics are awesome!
I’ll tell you all about it next week, by which point I intend–that sounds so optimistic–I intend to have the 3rd draft done (and ready to start querying?).
I’ve definitely had a nodding acquaintance with both Braindead Girl and Denial Girl, but in my experience, they are loathe to have their pictures taken and so I don’t have a lot of hard evidence lying around. Which is lucky, because both of them have fairly terrifying hair.