But MAN ALIVE! I didn't know how much I didn't know. The self editing workshop concluded today. It was a challenging, educational, and humbling (to say the least) experience. I learned that my raw material is good, that my instincts as a writer are important to my overall ability to tell a story (and tell it well), and that my mastery of the more intricate rules of grammar is sorely lacking (dangling particles and passive voice make my head spin). I will also need to be prudent in my edits. Unlike some people who have a tendency to over-write in their first draft, I tend to over-write in my edits. You might not think thats funny, but trust me, its hilarious.
I learned that as much as you wouldn't expect it, when it comes to words, less can definitely be more. The flip side oft that coin is you need to start with so many words that you have enough left to make an actual book once you have "killed your darlings". See, that's a fancy editing phrase that means even if the sentence you wrote is the most amazing sentence in the history if literature, if it doesn't progress the plot or slows down the pace of your story, you cut it.
*insert needle scratching across record here*
I know, right? I was bummed, too! I mean, how can I convince a publisher I'm the greatest thing since Vanilla Coke (which they don't sell anymore, but I'm totally not bitter, not at all) if I cut the very best line in the history of literature? What's that you say? Write a really good book? Oh, sure, you make it sound so easy.
But on all seriousness, I've become painfully aware of how much work it's going to take to get my manuscript ready. I completely terrified but also blissfully high on the fact that I'm armed with so much more knowledge now.
In completely unrelated news:
I'm adding a new feature. Let's call it "Bookporn Bloggy Time". I read books with the same ferver and gluttonous abandon that socially inept college boys watch porn. I read great books, lame books, and everything in between. I'll read well written books and stuff that makes me say, "well if THIS can get published...". I'm not terribly discriminating, I just need to READ. If you have a better name please leave it in the comments. I have a tendency to pick unusual names. Those of you that know me well enough to know my kids' name are fully aware that they are either going to love me for my immense creativity or change their names and disown me the second they hit eighteen.
Anyway, here we go. Short and sweet this week. I finished The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, today. I'm desperate to start the next book in the series, Catching Fire. If you haven't read these books, I simply don't know if I can be your friend anymore. Amazing. Go. Now. Run as fast as you can and buy the first book. You can thank me later.