But more important than that, I have a deadline. I applied to be part of the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Program participants are matched with a mentor who will work with them for six months (six months!) to get their MS on track.
I'll know by August 1 if I've been accepted. If I am accepted, I'll have to send my mentor my MS within a week of the notification.
So, I've been hauling though my MS, revising the new second half that I wrote last year. This is not a pruning, polishing sort of revision. This is digging in, up to my elbows, so I can extract gems from the rough draft and arrange them in some sort of compelling order.
I'm halfway through, but it's been exhausting work. Several times I've finished revising a chapter and not been able to tell whether it's been an improvement. I'd lost my vision, which is a big part of revision (six letters, by my count).
My tendency is to push on through, to show the MS who's boss, but Steph mentioned a piece of advice that Alisha Niehaus gave her: if a scene is giving you trouble, write a few scenes past it, and then come back to it.
Yes, it is ridiculously simple, but it has been saving my bleary-eyed self. When I get tired, I lose perspective of what's working, what's necessary. Every time I've worked a few scenes ahead, it's given me a better idea of what needs to happen to set up the scene I've moved ahead to. Then I'm able to return to the difficult scene, weed out the unnecessary, and emphasize what's working.
So, for those of you who are working hard, who (like me!) will be as pale at the end of this summer as you were at the beginning, consider skipping ahead when you hit a wall. I'd also love to hear any other tips you might have for tackling a difficult stretch of writing.