When you are sitting next to your writing partner in a coffee shop and you use some combination of meaningful awkward eye contact and gchat to communicate why the current dialogue no longer works in the scene.
We made garlicky baked fries, watched episodes from Season 6 of Doctor Who, and then read the first three chapters of our novel aloud to each other with barely contained joy, laughter, and a smidgen of pride. Next up: wait, spoilers.
So far, I’d call that a fairly fantastic Sunday.
If this is what living with your writing partner is going to be like, then yes please.
Time for an update.
We finished the third draft of our YA fantasy novel, Bindrunes. We edited the query letter and sent it out! We wrote the synopsis. We sent more queries. One of us (read: me, Sunshine) made a gigantic and altogether unenthusiastic move to the Midwest. Check out our updated information and our new theme!
Now, we’ve started the second book. We’re getting back into the swing of things after a period of tremendous upheaval and ruthless procrastination, and we’re super excited about life because life can sometimes be super exciting.
“Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly.”
― Anne Lamott
“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?”
First, we have updated our “About Us” section! Hillary was concerned that it made us sound old. We are only mid-twenties, though. But maybe that is old.
Secondly, we are nearing the end of our second extensive round of editing. Our first draft was complete at 124,500 words. Our third draft currently clocks in at around 102,500 words.
Our goal was to cut the MS down to 100k, and we may yet reach that! But it is a painful process. Cutting lines sometimes feels like picking which of our children live and which must die.
When the barista gives you the stink eye for sitting five hours on a single cup of coffee.
When you don’t actually care all that much and still go up and ask for your free refill.
When I make the decision to run to the bathroom, I feel like I’m playing some weird version of russian roulette - leaving my laptop among strangers like an idiot, knowing that it’s my own fault when it eventually gets stolen but still somehow unwilling to pack it up and drag it to the bathroom while awkwardly eyeing all my neighbors like, YOU WERE GOING TO STEAL MY LAPTOP WEREN’T YOU?
there was a thing last night I was going to try to not forget.
So, in the process of editing, Hillary and I have come across these phrases that we wrote that are highly ridiculous, mostly having to do with anatomical impossibilities.
At the time, of course, they seemed at least, like, suitable, if not entirely brilliant. We had this motto where, whenever we were stuck on a difficult bit, we’d tell each other, “FIRST DRAFT. JUST DO IT. FIRST DRAFT!!!” The implication being that we would re-address the nastiness when we went back to edit.
Here are some of my very favorites:
“He threw up his hands.” / “He threw his hands up.”
- …like, as in, he vomited his hands? Is that what’s happening? Is..how did we…really? That seemed like a suitable phrase at some point?
“He met her eye.”
- JUST THE ONE, YOU GUYS. JUST THAT ONE EYE. HE MET IT, FACE TO FACE. EYEBALL TO EYEBALL, IF YOU WILL.
“Harper turned her neck to look at him.”
- Is she trying out for a role in the exorcist? SHE TURNED JUST HER NECK…and then threw up her hands.
“He was his mother’s arms.”
- Granted, this was a typo. He was IN his mother’s arms. But, still, the visual. Hilarious.
“Andrew swallowed hard.”
- So. I mean, I know. I KNOW. We know. Totally. It’s not meant…but, come on. It kind of…I mean, you have to consider…just no.