Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 10, 2013

Slogging Through

Last week I discussed the “black moment” of writing, and Greg Frost commented that author Maureen F. McHugh said that the dark moment was followed by “slogging.” Well, my black moment has passed, and I am thoroughly in the midst of the slog.

My first 7 chapters needed the most revision. Luckily, my husband and preschooler went away for the weekend, so I was forced to move past my dark moment and jump into editing with both feet. No time to wallow in self-pity when you have childless writing time available!

Thus the slog began.

I have been slogging ever since, plowing though a chapter at a time, making sure everything fits with the revised first 7 chapters, as well as deleting repetition (a big one for me) and unneeded inner monologue (another biggie for me). I also need to deepen some setting and make my protagonist’s reactions a little more relateable in spots. So, a long way to go (238 pages as of this writing).

The good news is, having taken the plunge with those first chapters and wrestling them into shape in a 10-hour writing marathon, the slog is getting easier. It’s less like plodding through waist-deep mud and more like wading along the edge of the ocean. My feet are getting wet, sometimes up to my knees, and the water pushes and pulls at me, but it’s more pleasant than torturous. Finishing those first 7 chapters has made the revision of the rest of the book much clearer. I can see the focus of each scene better now, see why it works or doesn’t, and how to make it forward the plot strongly.

So I made it through the black moment and am making progress on the slog. And at the end of it all, I will have a stronger, more marketable product. But most of all, I will have completed the work to the best of my ability–and that is a victory in itself.

Where are you in your project? Slogging or soaring?

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