Monday, July 23, 2012
I previously mentioned I don't feel like much of a writer, yet here I am talking about writing my book. Seems slightly nonsensical but the way I see it, Snooki isn't a writer either but if she can put out a book, so can I. I still stand by my previous statements.
With that being said, it took three ink cartridges but I finally printed out my entire book. I have already edited 126 8.5" x 11" pages and have 196 more to go. For the size book I want it to be, it's going to be 589 pages (holy crap) so that means I have to do some major cutting.
It dismays me to report, however, that during my vacation from work, I did not touch my book once. I wrote several blog entries and picked up The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Memoir and Stephen King's On Writing, both of which I also haven't touched, but as far as finishing editing the first draft, um...I didn't.
But from the editing I have managed to accomplish, I've noticed several problems cropping up. As I'm reading and editing, I'm thinking of more stuff I need to add to make it coherent. When I kept track of my first year of college through my blog and with personal journals, I didn't go into exact details on the events that took place. So, as I'm reading this book, I'm getting a lot of reflective chapters with back story tacked on. I have to take those tacked on events and put them first so the reflection makes sense. I think that will help the flow.
I don't like starting every chapter with, "Two weeks prior, this happened" or "she made that face because she still couldn't get over that time a month ago when I..." I feel the constant back and forth of shifting from past to further in the past makes things a bit murky. It's a lot like trying to put together a puzzle and that is tiresome.
I realized I also almost fully neglected to talk about my classes, except through reflection afterward. I have to find a way to talk about my classes first and reflect later.
One way in which I have been trying to cut down on the content is by removing a lot of my tendency to over explain what I'm feeling. I'll go off on an alliterative tangent and before I know it, I have a whole paragraph that says the exact same thing in different fancy ways. It's a style I've unconsciously developed over the years and something I'm really going to have to to try to cut out.
I also wonder if I should stick strictly with my time at college. I included chapters during my Christmas vacation and Spring break while I was at home. But even though I was at home, all I wrote about was school so I think those chapters are still important. I thought about taking those chapters and condensing them to the most basic point and sprinkle it in the chapters where I'm actually at school.
And I've noticed that I jumped right into my craziness in the first couple of chapters. I'm finding it hard to sympathize with me as a character in the book because it comes across like I'm devastated right when I step foot on campus (which I pretty much was) but unless the reader knows my back story, how excited I was for college and how it all blew up in my face, I don't think the reader will get it or will understand why I became so broken so quickly.
My last concern is the fact that I don't even know what I want this book to be. At first, I wanted it to be a book about my first year of college. Fine. But what is that comprised of? Is it more about me or the college experience itself? I've put in so much background information about myself, like my struggle with weight and religion and all of those topics come up during my time in college and, once again, for the reader to fully understand how I feel about each scenario, I feel I have to give some additional information. But that's additional pages.
Obviously, I need to get it together and figure out a proper direction for the book before I get in too deep with the editing. The truth is, I'm finding it hard to cut out too much because I feel like, even though it's entirely too long, everything I've included has some importance to the overall story and to understanding me as I am.
I suppose if I were to release other books, I could spread my back story out a little bit over the course of those books but I don't know if there will be other books. It's almost like I'm trying to tell my whole life story in this one story, cramming twenty years into just one year, like I'm trying to include college life and life in general and me breaking down and trying to build myself up. It's all encompassing and more than slightly overwhelming.
This is going to take longer than I thought.