This post is going to be about revising. It will not be anywhere near as good as this post about revising, but I figured I’d give it a whirl anyway. I’ve gotten fairly familiar with how this process works for me, and as you all know by now, ’tis the summer of revision around here.

I started with my agent notes, both e-mailed and scrawled in my almost-illegible handwriting from a phone call. I read them. I re-read them. I highlighted specific things that really jumped out at me.

I talked to two of my dearest betas about it. I wrote down what they had to say. I read & re-read.

I pulled out my old notebooks, ones that dated back to ’08, and looked for things that I hadn’t used that I might be able to work with now. I pulled out a couple of pages worth of notes.

I took all of these notes, from agent and betas and the 2008 version of me, and transcribed the stuff I found most useful into a new notebook.

I started adding snippets of new scenes, bits of dialogue, hypothetical questions.

I made a gigantic timeline. I got a dry erase board to hang by the desk. So far it just looks cool and office-y, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy later.

I had more discussions with betas. I started having revelations. I began pulling possibilities from lists of ideas.

Now, I’m taking all of this stuff and developing it into full scenes. I’ve hit the writing stage, the really writing stage, after several weeks of this pre-writing process.

So far, I have not once looked back at the previous draft.

Why? Well, I already know what’s there. What I need is what’s *not* there yet, so I’m finding those things elsewhere, in notes and conversations and daydreams and at the bottom of cups of tea.

So I can take the new and layer it back over the old.

I’ve come to realize that I need to see it in my head as a different book, first. I have to find the shape of the new draft before I can mold the old draft into it. I can’t just go into the old draft and start pushing it around and filling in holes.

I have to develop the new draft and then work backwards. I need that picture, that vision of the new version, in order to get there.

This is how I revise. I have to get to the point where my brain can see where I’m going, and then it’s just a matter of writing to get there.

That’s not to say I know exactly how to get there, there are still hic sunt dracones parts of the map, but there is something resembling a map now.

I just got this beautiful book of Jerry Uelsmann photography. He does these gorgeous layered photos, made with multiple negatives in a darkroom, nothing digital.

It’s amazing stuff, and being in the head space that I’m in right now, it’s reminding me of how I revise. I’m finding new images to layer over the old ones. Not to obscure what was there before, but to elevate it into something else.

Invariably, whenever I go on internet hiatus I find something upon my return that reminds me why, though I may take occasional breaks, I do truly love the web.

This time around it was this blog: Stuff No One Told Me

Marvelous illustrated life lessons by Alex Noriega, and the blog is fairly new so it’s easy to catch up on all of them.

monday miscellany

Stuff accomplished during the week of no internet:

  • Finished three (3!) paintings. One is off to its recipient already, another is waiting for payment & the third is available on Etsy.
  • Got rid of my stupid summer head cold that I had hoped was allergies but was really just a head cold. I don’t get sick that often and that’s twice this year already, bah.
  • Went through two old notebooks that contained two years worth of novel notes, and pulled out several pages worth of possibly useful stuff.
  • Transcribed the possibly useful stuff into a new notebook.
  • Made strawberry frozen yogurt.
  • Sort of figured out the structure of the new draft. I think. Maybe. I have to see what it looks like when not scrawled on a spare piece of paper in magenta Sharpie.

So, not the huge dent in revisions that I’d wanted, but still productive. Am revising-o-rama this week, and I feel better about it having gotten the paintings out of the way.

Also, this weekend I bought a gigantic (2’x3′) dry erase board. I am a nerd, but I am a happy nerd. Hopefully it will help with structuring and time line and such. The kittens were disappointed that it did not come in a box. But it does have four different pens! And it’s magnetic! Oooh, I should get magnetic poetry for it.

Um, anyway.  It’s hot & humid out and the Kitten Flop Barometer is at Heavy Flop. Tessa is heavily flopped over the printer at the moment.

Back to notes and time lines and coffee for me.

tiny love letter

You can say anything with a Post-It.

I’m not entirely sure why that is.

Maybe the friendliness of the squares makes it easier. A square is nicely compact and less intimidating than a full page.

And they come in cheerful colors. Non-white paper is kind of inherently festive.

Or maybe paper that sticks feels more important than paper that can blow away.

(Though you can move them, if you need to put them somewhere else.)

They might not be as lasting as words carved in stone, but Post-It thoughts will stay.

For awhile, at least.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


Will be on internet hiatus until Friday.

Am checking my e-mail if you need to reach me.

Here, have a bonus photo of Tessa getting in on the flower photo action:


A very summery solstice today, with the kitten flop-o-meter already at a fairly flopsy flop.

Busy weekend, with my cousin’s beautiful wedding on Saturday. Photos are of the gargantuan floral arrangement we got sent home with, lots more photos on Flickr. I divided them up to put into vases and now the entire apartment is covered in flowers.

Discovered at said wedding that lots of my relatives read my blog. (Hi!)

Last night the boy & I went on a spontaneous date, first just for ice cream shakes at Sonic and then we decided to see if we could catch Toy Story 3 while we were out. We had perfect timing showtime-wise, though our theatre was full of teenagers who were having difficulty mastering that whole no talking thing.

Originally, I wasn’t that enthused about TS3 even though I love Pixar. But then the reviews were so good that I got curious, and I’m really glad we went. It’s wonderful. And the short that plays with it, Day & Night, is absolutely brilliant.

Back to the land of flopsy kittens and revising for the week. We’ll see how long the flowers last in the heat.


My dad collects and restores these vintage machines, like a hobby. Maybe machine is the wrong word, they’re like, weird geeky contraptions you find outside supermarkets and at tourist attractions, gumball machines and those ones that squash pennies into miniature pictures of historical landmarks or whatever.

I can never tell what he does to change them, even though I’ve sat and watched him dismantle dozens of the things and then, um, remantle them again. He doesn’t add anything, not that I’ve seen.

But they’re all different once they’re working again. One of the gumball machines gives solid gold gumballs now. They’re rainbow at the top in the fishbowl-looking part, but the one that drops down after you put in your quarter is always solid, unchewable gold.

Gold gumballs I can deal with, but the latest penny-squashing thing takes your nice, normal penny and squashes it down into a printed copper oval that describes how you’re going to die.

I thought it was a joke until last week. Now I’m worried.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.


You don’t get to choose your poppet. Some people like to say your poppet chooses you, but that’s silly. They’re just dolls, after all.

Matches between poppet and person are made by chance, not choice. You receive the poppet that you’re meant to have, because there are no other options.

Poppets are often returned. This is not what I expected, unsatisfied poppet recipients complain before they depart again, poppet-less.

But most are accepted gratefully, brought to their respective new homes and treated kindly. Given places to sit and kept away from dogs.

Happy poppets are the most effective.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

I have extensive notes from my agent (my agent, yay!) in hand and I am gearing up to spend the next several weeks in the Revisionland Hotel. A summer of tiki torch nights and umbrella drinks and writing writing writing.

And it will be writing writing writing, because more than “change this, take out that” which might be nice and simple in comparison, for this next round of revising I get to dig deeper and add more and elaborate on what I have already.


It is a combination of daunting and exhilarating. And I’m not sure how to do it yet, but I’ll figure it out.

So I am taking my own notes and pondering and mulling and trying to get things done while I note-take and ponder and mull, like the paintings I can finally start on because I have black paint again, and reading other people’s books (go read Rock Paper Tiger ASAP, it is marvelous and compelling and it will make you crave dumplings).

And today I got my latest BPAL order, which is always a happy occasion. I have moths & butterflies (bottles of Gypsy: Bourbon vanilla, Egyptian musk, tonka, white sugar, and cardamom & Paper Kite: Coconut, white sugar, angelica, and black pepper) and a Vanilla-based Chaos Theory, #95 to be exact.

Trying the chaos first. Beyond the clear vanilla the mystery notes are remaining mysterious. I think there might be white musk in there somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure. Overall, it is this gorgeously blended scent that’s bright and warm and creamy, even the vanilla that was so obvious in the bottle has calmed and faded into the background as a steady undercurrent.

And while I’m sitting here huffing at my wrists, I realize this is what the book needs.

The base notes are there. Maybe some of those bright top notes, too. But it’s those nuanced middle notes that take it from “that smells like vanilla” to “ooooooooh, what is that?” that it needs now. The in-betweens that tie everything together and make it richer as a whole.

Because I can make writing analogies about anything.