Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spread Your Wings & Fly or Before, After, Wow! What a Difference!

Here are the pictures you've been waiting for all your lives. The back of my head before and after my hair straightening. No, no, you don't have to thank me. I'm here to serve.



Um, sure, Debbie, whatever. You've finally cracked just like we knew you would.

What, if anything, does my hair have to do with writing, you ask? Plenty! I've done several posts on the difference between first drafts and final drafts, but the subject - at least for me - never grows old. These pictures of the back of my head represent "first draft" vs "final draft." For my purposes here, final draft means the point where you, as the writer, decide you're ready to submit your work to agents. From there, the manuscript is almost always edited further by both literary agents and editors at the publishing houses, so rarely is it ever the final, final draft.

The picture with my wavy hair represents the first draft. Every piece is there, ready to be teased and combed into place. However, it's a mess. It's gnarly, knotted, unruly, and not too nice to look at. My straight hair illustrates the final draft. It's perfectly structured, well-defined, and elegant. Months of focused, detailed, concentrated work is needed to transform the unruly mess into well-defined elegance.

If you're anything like me, getting to the point where you feel your work is "done" is one of the most difficult aspects of the writing process. I could literally edit my "final" draft over and over ad nauseum until the cows come home or until hell freezes over or until (insert your favorite cliche here) and never feel "done." So, when I got one request that quickly turned to three for a novel I'd finished months ago, I felt I needed to "review" my final draft before I sent it out.

Over the last 10 days, I've had the pleasure of revisiting my novel SPARKS FLY SOMETIMES: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCK PRINCESS. While it still needed editing, it was better than I remembered. I read through the entire manuscript, deleting unnecessary words, tweaking dialogue, and tightening scenes. It was a gift because it allowed me to see how far I'd come as a writer in such a short period of time, and because it gave me a chance to fall in love with the characters and story all over again.

And, I'm happy to say, SFS is complete! Until an agent or editor tells me otherwise, it's a "final draft." Like my sister, Laurie says, "Before, after - wow! What a difference!"

I've sent my baby off to those few select agents and, like a good parent, hope it will spread it's wings and fly.

And now it's back to the wild, unruly mess that is the beloved first draft. YA novel, look out, cause HERE I COME!!!

50 comments:

Ruthanne Reid said...

Exciting! Also, awesome hair. :D

DebraLSchubert said...

Ruthanne, What would I do without you? Many, many thanks. ;-))

Steph Damore said...

That's awesome. Good for you and good luck!
There's nothing like falling in love with your work all over again - AND at the same time having fun writing a new novel. That my friend is my favorite part, when you're writing your first draft and everything is new and exciting. Ah, the joys of writing are never ending.

DebraLSchubert said...

Steph, "the joys of writing are never ending." Absolutely! We writers are lucky people. We get to create characters and places and scenarios that effect, teach, inspire, and evoke all manner of feelings. What a gift that is!

Steph Damore said...

You're so right. We all know that writing is unlike any other profession. It's so much more than words on paper. To be able to change other people's lives through your imagination is magical.

DebraLSchubert said...

Steph, "To be able to change other people's lives through your imagination is magical." Perfectly said. ;-)))

Indigo said...

I've had those aha moments, rereading something and thinking,
"You wrote that?". And do I ever know what it's like to want to keep editing. I think the hardest part for any writer is letting the book go, saying done, finite. (Of course the editor may have other ideas but you know what I mean).

I also think that's what makes a good writer too, the ability to continue to improve on a written piece. So in that light, congrats on SFS final. Speaking of which I have to jump start myself for the next project. My brain however is begging mercy.

I'm truly happy for you dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

P.S. As for the hair, I would die for that kind of body. Mine is as thin and straight as it comes. (Hugs)Indy

Indigo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Best of luck :o)

DebraLSchubert said...

Indigo, I agree - knowing when to say "when" is brutal. There are ALWAYS more edits to be made! And, as far as my hair goes, yup it's thick. That's why I straightened it. For the next few months I'll be happy and then it'll expand to ridiculous proportions and it'll get on my nerves. I know. I shouldn't complain. Hugs right back atcha. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Ken, Thanks, my friend. ;-)

Pen Pen said...

I keep expecting to check ur blog and see ur "I'm getting published by Doubleday" post! I'm just very positive that ur stuff will get picked up...not EXACTLY sure why...maybe God is speaking thru me! SHE likes me! :)
Ur right with the before/after edits! I met this girl in college who had never really written anything, and she tried to pump out a short story like 3 hours before it was due. I was sitting next to her like, "...It's GONNA be crap! Even the FIRST "read thru" you do(which for her would be IN CLASS-in front of everyone) will show you big changes you should make. You'll regret turning in a first draft." I think I scared her a little, but I WAS right!! Her "Laguna Beach" MTV knock off was not only pointless, it had oodles of things that could have been refined with even one glance over the thing!
ALways listen to Penny! Lesson Learned! :)
OOH!I got an Agatha Christie first edition for my b-day last week, and it made me think of you! :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Penny, "I keep expecting to check ur blog and see ur "I'm getting published by Doubleday" post!"

I hope you'll turn to my blog one of these days and read that very thing! I'm glad She likes you. Put in a good word for me. ;-))

Karen Walker said...

Love the hair pics. And the analogy works. So wishing you good luck with those agents, Debra.
Blessings,
karen

DebraLSchubert said...

Karen, Your words are always so kind. You're like a quiet zen breeze (whisper?) that flows through my atmosphere. Thank you for that. ;-)

Fragrant Liar said...

So true. Nice analogy. And the hair, in particular, rocks. If your final draft looks as good as that, you'll be makin' the big bucks in bookstores soon!

Fragrant Liar said...

P.S.

That pic of the woman in the dark dress would be fabulous for Halloween.

DebraLSchubert said...

FL, Thanks. If only my hair could always look like that (that was soon after my appointment). And, yes, isn't that pic of the woman awesome? I think it needs to be on my book cover... ;-)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Lots of excitement for you! Kudos! Ah, the editing; is it ever done? I suffer from second-guessing disease with a side of "you can write this better".

Elspeth

P.S. Your hair looks wonderful. Jealousy abounds.

DebraLSchubert said...

Elspeth, I know, right? When are we ever really "done?" And, thanks. My hair won't look that good again until I have it straightened again sometime next year!!

mo.stoneskin said...

Is this your way of telling me that I need to get a hair cut?

;)

DebraLSchubert said...

mo, I wasn't sure how to tell you. ;-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm at the same point as you. My book is in someone else's hands and I'm ready to work on something new. Hello NaNo!

Maybe I should straighten my hair too...

DebraLSchubert said...

Sherrie, Good luck with your work! And, yeah, straightening your hair pretty much solves all your problems. ;-))

Jemi Fraser said...

Great analogy :)

I'm crossing my fingers for you on those 3 requests! I'm sure something good will come of it soon.

It is such a good feeling to see our own growth, isn't it? I did something similar with one ms a while back. Wow, is right!

DebraLSchubert said...

Jemi, Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot. I know things will be popping for you soon as well. All we can do is keep writing and support each other, and really, how great is that?? ;-))

Michele Emrath said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I just found your blog and it is beautifully designed. The stunning photography juxtaposed beside...your hair. ; )
Best of luck to you!

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

DebraLSchubert said...

Michele, I'm so glad you found me! Putting pics up of my hair was a stretch, but I loved the before and after ideas relating to 1st draft vs final draft. Blog post ideas are everywhere! ;-)

Pen Pen said...

I saw my video link on ur Twitter!! BEST moment EVER!!!! HUGS and KISSES!!!!! :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Penny, I loved your vid! You (and Jasmine!) are rock stars. ;-))

jdcoughlin said...

So much excitement going on with your work. You are definitely in the Feast zone and I am so happy for you. You have to be the hardest working writer writing, right! Don't know how you sleep! And love the hairdo!

DebraLSchubert said...

Judith, Thanks for the compliments, but believe me I could be writing WAY more than I am! And, glad you like the hair. ;-))

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great analogy, Debra!

I'm totally with you on the 'knowing when you're done with a draft' thing. I'm famous (and not in a good way) for writing my editors back and making corrections, additions, and deletions on something I handed in to them a week before! Not good. I'm trying to get better with the I'm Done feeling. Because I think I'm driving Berkley and Midnight Ink nuts.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

DebraLSchubert said...

Elizabeth, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks knowing when you're "done" is one of the most difficult parts of the process! You're lucky to have publishers to drive crazy. I hope to join you there one of these days... ;-))

WendyCinNYC said...

Wow, your hair looks great! Congrats on the editing, my dear. Fingers crossed for your submissions.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh I love the hair-straightening pics! I started straightening my hair just this past summer. And it makes a huge diff!

Exciting times for you! I hope you get some takers! That's awesome to have THREE agents interested!

Kasie West said...

EEeeeh, good luck with those requests. It's so exciting. Love your before/after pics. You're right, the subject never gets old. :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Just had to stop by to say I got an email from an agent who wants to talk to me later this week!

DebraLSchubert said...

Wendy, Thanks for the good wishes. I pray, one of these days, I'll have some exciting news to report... ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Jody, I know, isn't hair-straightening the best?!! I don't know why it took me so long (yes I do - the money!!). And, thanks for your support. It means the world. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, Each pic of you is cuter than the last! And, thanks. You've been with me almost from the start of my blog. It's fun sharing the writing journey with you. ;-))

DebraLSchubert said...

Caroline, OMG!!! Too exciting!! I can't wait to hear how it goes, and thanks for giving me the head's up. I'm sending positive literary thoughts your way. ;-)

Sharon Mayhew said...

Debbie,
Thanks so much for the blogging help today. I'm presenting you with an award. You can go to my site to pick it up.

I'm having a first draft hair day!

Catherine M. said...

What a beautiful post! Your words resonated with me...

We revise, re-read, send out, revise again...and we still feel we can do more with it. But at some point you have to set it free, and simply see what happens.

Sending you all my happiest, most hopeful thoughts as you wait to hear from those agents.

Thank you for such a wonderful blog.

Anita said...

Love the hair! I wonder how long it will last (not trying to be catty, but am seriuosly wondering).

Congrats on getting the second MS out to agents! Good luck! I know you'll keep us posted, right?!

DebraLSchubert said...

Sharon, I was happy to help - can't wait to stop by and pick up my blog bling! "1st draft" hair day is the new "bad" hair day!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Catherine, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It's true - for most of us, we don't know "when" to say "when"!! And, thank you for the kind words re: agents. If it's meant to be, it'll be. All we can do is keep on writing.

DebraLSchubert said...

Anita, That's not catty at all, it's true. It'll last approx. 3 months. I've done it once before. My hair is so thick and wavy and I like it straight. Of course! The hair is always greener, I mean better, on the other side. ;-)

Barbara said...

Debra, So funny that those with curly hair want straight and visa versa.... Both ways look beautiful to me. But glad you're happy with the final draft.

And you're so right about that. You have to let that book out of your fingertips eventually, but it will never be done. I still read my old books and wince, gasp and whine that I can't edit them one more time.... Ah, well....

Ann's Rants said...

Congratulations! On the book, but especially on the hair! ;)

Seriously, that is so exciting about your ms.

Ann

Like Button

There was an error in this gadget