I have finished my third read and my manuscript evaluation spreadsheet! Woohoo!
It is a very daunting thing to see your whole book mapped out in a spreadsheet of scenes, but it feels ridiculously good to have a visual of what works and what doesn’t. Do I dare color code it? Still playing with that idea.
I learned a ridiculous amount about my book going through this process. Mostly, just how much of my book worked and didn’t work with the original idea/theme threads that I wanted to portray. When I was originally drafting my novel, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to show in this book from and emotional and thematic standpoint — feeling lost, isolated, not knowing your own potential and moving to understanding yourself more, finding balance, and ultimately moving on with your life.
My first draft (aka the second draft from my first attempt at revision) did not accomplish that. There will be a lot of rewriting and reconfiguring to make this work out.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT I can still use. A lot of scenes can be reworked, repurposed, or even just one line savored in some form. Even an idea from one can float through to the rewritten scene if nothing else.
Treats are important!
How did I treat myself? It was Halloween! There was a full bowl of candy sitting there for the taking and not that many trick-or-treat-ers. I had my treats and I enjoyed them. (Now I need to eat way less sugar this month but that’s not the point). I also read a book that’s been on my shelf for over a year because I wanted to read it during the “spooky season” so I read it on the spookiest day of the year. And I enjoyed it too!
Always treat yourself for your wins. Even if they’re small and may seem insignificant in the grand scheme. Your Creative Self needs to know it’s doing good things. The Critic will inevitably try to tell you that it’s not an accomplishment, so lavish your Creative with treats for those wins to show that it is. Also, who doesn’t deserve a treat every once and a while?
What have been your wins? How are you making the process enjoyable?