Sometimes, it not only feels as if you are talking to a brick wall but also vainly pounding your head against it hoping a little commonsense appears. Unfortunately, the other person usually never understands and you end up walking away with a headache.
It is incredible how little that people know about the process of creating a manuscript. I am not discussing the machinations of a story, but rather the mental process of typing, editing, and revising one. For some strange reason, people believe creating a novel is the easiest thing in the world and anybody can do it.
It is not the easiest thing and not everyone can do it.
I am going to discuss two instances that have happened to me during the process of creating my manuscripts. I am sure several writers will nod their heads over experiencing the same thing during their writing adventures.
Instance number one: Typing
I have had someone get angry over the fact that they did not hear me typing nonstop from 8am to 8am the next day. Dismiss the facts that there are basic needs a person has such as eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom. However, there is this weird belief going around that if a writer sits in the chair to type a story, their fingers should type away without any breaks.
Um. That is not going to happen. I am going to pause on occasion to get my bearings on how the story is taking shape. This means reading what I have typed as I would make sure the paragraphs are taking the correct route without going off-roading into whimsical nonsense. Having plot holes is a BAD THING. Unfortunately, I had an occasion where I typed in something and stopped just to hear someone in the other room say, “And?” Then I would resume writing, stop twenty minutes later, and again another, “And,” would break the silence. It happened more than four times. Although I said nothing to the badgering, my thoughts were very vocal about it:
And I need to read what I have written. And I need to make sure what I just wrote is sufficient in carrying the sense of the story. And my fingers need a little break. And my eyes feel strained from staring at the glowing screen for so long. And I do not see you putting your mind through fiery hoops into creating a compelling storyline so everyone will find entertainment from it. And-and-and-and-AND!
Instance number two: Editing and Revising
I am combining these two since, in my case, I work on each of them in the same way. When I edit, I will do the basic once-over for each chapter before printing out a hard copy for a more thorough study later. Once I get toward the middle of the story, I will combine my editing and revisions at this point while trying to create the cleanest, most shiniest, polished work I can manage before creating the rest of the chapters.
This means that I am reading over my work. This means that I am using a red pen over the printed text and that I am making all corrections by hand. This means I am not typing, and we all know how upset people get when they do not hear the clickity-clacks on the keyboard (re: first instance).
“All she is doing is READING. She isn’t even working on her writing. She is just wasting time READING. How long does it take for someone to READ? It doesn’t take anyone this long to READ.”
The only answer I have to the above comments is this: It takes as long as it needs to take to craft a good story. Whether it is one month or six years, let the story flow out on its own. Never rush the imagination in forcing the ideas on the word processor page. You might miss something important if you do.
Besides, for me to be able to read the paper then there must be words on the page. For there to be words on the page, I MUST HAVE TYPED IN SOMETHING!!!!
If anyone is wondering how long it did take for me to complete the manuscript, it took me three months to write it - about two to three chapters a week. Then it took me an additional two months to edit/revise, with a one-week break because I thought my brain would explode and the letters were doing funky dances on the screen from the eyestrain.
Okay, so the letters did not really do a dance. Yet I did suffer from eyestrain as I had muscle contractions around the right eye. I definitely had to take a rest. Boy, I sure caught hell for that.