Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Armed with a Red Pen

I've been in a state. A frenzied up-until-2AM-ordering-Chinese-food-letting-the-TV-babysit-the-kids writing state.

I think I have a book, folks. The companion to EDGES.

So why am I blogging? Well . . . I've just allowed myself the pleasure of printing out another draft of my WIP, and I didn't think I could do it, not after I had the husband read my manuscript on Monday and KICKED MY ASS!

I thought that I was almost ready to send it to my agent, but the husband was tough on me. The pacing was too slow, and in order to make one of my characters more likable, his character arc was weak.

Then at 10PM Monday night, after much discussion, I knew what I had to do. I had to rewrite and restructure the ENTIRE first half. Introducing an important secondary character earlier, would change the pacing of the story.

I also had to start with the first scene that I ever wrote, which somehow gotten stuck in the middle. (How did that happen?)

Jaw clenched too tightly, I started working, well into the night, not wanting to lose my energy and focus. I worked all day and evening yesterday, (in between some Writopia office work) drenched in my manuscript, lost in that world - the desert of Southeastern Utah - vaguely remembering that I have to pack up an entire house and move to the suburbs in three weeks. I was up until 2AM, fixing the first half. Then this morning, I reworked the second half, and I'm sorry trees, but I just had to use more paper!

I will arm myself with a red pen and get back to work: I can't promise that this will be the one I send to my agent, or even that it will be published, but I can promise that I won't give up and that there will be more revisions!

Writing is hard work, but we wouldn't have it any other way, would we? Perseverence is how we get better. Read and write on!


  1. thank you. i needed this.

  2. You are my hero! I'm desperately trying to squeak out 50 more pages and Just. Can. Not. Do. It. At least not in 2 weeks or one sitting! Lost of good energy to you and the big move. It's a lot and you are amazing for doing it all at the same time!

  3. Hooray for you, Lena. I have to admit that I love revision more than any other part of the process and it sounds as if you've had some of that writer "high" too.

  4. isn't it amazing that that first scene ends up being the first scene after all! good luck, lena!

  5. You guys are lovely for responding so quickly to my frenzy! I heart revision!

  6. This was inspiring. I've been feeling kind of depressed about my lack of writing lately (blah, school is taking all my energy), but maybe tonight (after class...or during, if class is boring enough), I'll start writing again... (I hope!)

    And yay Writopia!

  7. My husband loves this post. He read it over my shoulder, and I think he believes your husband is a good role model for him. As always, thanks for the post.

  8. Wow Shira, I'm glad you were inspired! And Kristi - I have to use my husband sparingly and judiciously - just because he is so tough! (The double-edge sword of living with another writer!)

  9. Purple pen providerJune 3, 2010 at 12:30 AM


    I want you to flush the red pen down the toilet.

    Please go do it now. Red is so harsh and purple is so much more unique-ey and will accomplish the editing work in a less bloody (couldn't resist lol) way.

    You must go to the mailbox after this weekend. A purple pen will arrive. If you wish, it can become your trademark as it has become mine. You will come to embrace purple and many hugs from Chicago will embrace you.



  10. Ah, the joy and torment that is revision!

  11. Maryjo - you made me giggle and made my morning! PURPLE is fantastic! And Beverly - "joy" and "torment" are spot on!

  12. I am so impressed by all that you do.

  13. Wasn't your gran's husband her harshest critic? I think you're lucky to have someone who will be that honest with you.

    What is character arc?

  14. Hi Anna! I AM lucky! The character arc is one of the most important features of a story - it shows some kind of psychological shift, or change in viewpoint. I will do another blog on character arcs - thanks for the idea!

  15. How about a green pen? I use that on the rare occasion I get to write. I used it when I teach too. I remind that Dante placed green as a HOPEFUL color. It is the "go ahead" color... think it again.. kind of going in circles here.. but it is fun to contemplate.

  16. Green - love it! Well, I hate to say it, but I was forced to mark the ms up in mere PENCIL! But it's all prettied up for now, and off to the agent! (Until I get it back and then it will be marked up in purple or green for sure!

  17. I really like your article, hope to try harder, I will always support you.I hope you continue to creation, I have paid attention to you. webstagram


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