#IWSG Blog Hop–Reworking an Old Story

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

March’s question–Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I believe in Stephen King’s advice of giving yourself permission to write a shitty first draft. I’m talking NaNo where chunks of unusable stuff is added just for word count. I’m talking every scene having ten billion characters in each one, trying to get my full attention. I’m talking the beginnings starting way too early, yet the endings stopping too abruptly.

Let’s just say, my first drafts are a hot mess…

I’ve pulled out really old stories to rework them. Case in point–I published Something’s Amiss in 2014. I had written the first draft back in 2011! I remember because I was working on it when I was teaching creative writing through the ACE (Adult Community Education) Program. A friend had recommended Author House after using the company’s services. I googled them and decided to stay far away! Too many red flags…

So, not really knowing how I could publish my story, I kept it on my flash drive and moved on until years later. I opened up my poor, abandoned, dreadful story and patted myself for not publishing it back in 2011.

There was massive head hopping between Poe and Oliver, scene to scene. I had a bunch of boring scenes (according to the critique partners I had found). I thought I had written a romance, but the romance readers would’ve eaten me alive. Apparently, Oliver wasn’t manly enough, and Poe wasn’t likeable enough.

After getting feedback from two critique partners, I decided romance wasn’t a genre I was interested in writing. I had to do a massive rewrite on Something’s Amiss, deciding women’s fiction was my best bet. No more head hopping. No more boring scenes. Just a man who loves a woman while mourning the loss of his cousin.

After creating my second draft, I found a new critique partner. Someone who liked the genre I was pursuing. She was great. She even gave me tips on how to write sex scenes. If you ever read my book, pages 32-35 are pretty graphic haha.

It was a fun challenge, bringing my story to life. If I would’ve given up on it because it’d be too hard to revise, then that would’ve been my loss. Looking back, I’m happy I didn’t self-publish in 2011 because I still had a lot to learn. Back then, it was a foreign concept to get feedback, then improve my work in progress. I thought a story was complete after I wrote ‘the end.’ It wasn’t until I found Absolute Write Forums that I learned the proper process of writing and publishing. I researched for two years, publishing my debut novel, One By One, in 2013.

Thanks for listening. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that out loud…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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I’ve Been A Busy-Bee

Sorry, I haven’t posted in a while. This is the first week where I haven’t touched my blog. What the–? In February, I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed (the bottom two pulled and the top two cut). Sore mouth, puffy face, itchy stitches and I still managed to write at least twice that week.

All I can say is that I’ve been a busy-bee. I’ve been focusing on editing, editing, revising, and revising some more on One By One. Only 4 chapters and an epilogue for Melissa to review–so excited!!! I want to have a decent final draft before letting beta-readers take a looksie at it. It’s been a challenge because usually I wait until I receive all the feedback before I start making changes.

I’ve also been creating character sketches for my comic strip. For my art blog (probably won’t come out until next year), I want to feature comics on there. A take on reality shows I’d like to see on the air. When drawing or sketching, it’s very time consuming, which I don’t mind because it’s another of my passions. It takes even longer if you outline with a black felt pen and color afterward. Let’s just say, my hands cramped up on a constant basis all this week.

Last but not least, my sensitive nature had me researching up a storm. Since I’m almost close to needing an editor then publishing, I’ve been looking up how to market and promote your work, how to write the back cover blurb, how to write press releases, structures of screenplays, etc. I want to learn all I can before publishing.

I feel bad neglecting my blog–especially since I’m about 30 hits away from 3,000–but I focused on other things. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled hee hee. Next week, I promise to post seven blog posts.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Second Draft of Romance Drama Completed!!!

Yea, I finished my second draft on December 10th!  I kept it at 12-point, Arial font with 179 pages and 44,808 word count.  It’s lower than my first draft, but at least I’m satisfied with the words on the page.  That’s always a triumph!!

I gave two supporting characters name changes, added a few scenes, and expanded on others.  I still have a lot to do to get my word count up unless I query as a category romance (would need at least an additional 11,000 words).  80,000 word count for a novel is looking like a dream instead of a reality hee hee.

To show that I enjoy my plot and characters, I’ve come up with two potential titles.  I like to name my stories after songs; first option, Though I’m Missing You sung by Brandy and second option, When You’re Gone sung by Avril Lavigne.

I like where I’m at now.  The setting is in Providence, Rhode Island.  Poe hasn’t spoken to her ex in a year, but he calls because her best friend, who is his cousin, dies, so she flies out there to attend the funeral.  The story is told through Poe and Oliver’s point of view dealing with the tragedy as well as trying to get closure from one another.

Death hits home for me since I lost both my grandmothers in 2008.  This story is a dedication to them showing how I dealt with my stages of grief.  Instead of the main character dealing with a loss of a family member, I thought it’d be more interesting to have it be her best friend.

Even though it deals with a funeral at the end of the book, I wouldn’t say readers would need Kleenex throughout the whole thing; it’s not overly sappy.  Then again, one day I let my co-worker read my 300-page Graphic novel, and she was sniffling at her desk.  When she finished, I asked her what part almost made her cry.  The part she told me about was sad, but it didn’t make me cry–maybe I’m just cold-hearted (just kidding).

That’s all I can say without giving everything away, so I’ll end with I’m proud of this rough draft.  People can read it without me flinching.

Now, off to join Ladies Who Critique or Absolute Write Share Your Work.  This process of revising my rough draft will vary depending on if my critique partner likes my writing style or has a lot to complain about.  I respect honesty, and I can take any criticism.

After that, my third draft will be completed, which I’ll take my critic’s opinions under consideration, as well as apply the rules from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.  Then, that draft will be sent off to Beta-Readers.  Wish me luck!!!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby