Climbing the Next Hill

Pixar: For the birds
Pixar: For the birds (Photo credit: Colin ZHU) Maybe they are scared of their next revision.

My revision of Shadow of the Archon finished, I updated my progress bar to show 100% this morning. I even left it there for a whole 30 minutes while I started on the next revision. Now, it’s back to 1%.

As I set out on another revision, I’m reminded of Nila’s post on Pixar Rule #18: “You have to know yourself: the Difference between doing your best and fussing. Story is testing, not refining.” Of all the rules so far, I think that one has had the widest range of interpretations in the comments section. I don’t think anyone really gets the ‘testing’ part but clearly there’s a worry about spending too much time on a project. Sometimes you have to move on.

I’m trying to be better with this project. After the first draft, as planned, I did a major revision and polish, then had some readers look at it as an ‘alpha stage’. Post that feedback (and some soak time while I worked on other things), the next part of the plan was to mark up a printed copy, revise it, do one more pass on-screen to ‘polish it’, before having another set of eyes on it. After that, we’ll see. I like the story but we’ll see what the feedback looks like.

As I reset my progress bar this morning, I was reminded of my school days: my fellow students and I worked up from 1st grade to 6th grade in elementary, from 7th to 8th in Junior high, from freshman to senior in High School and so on into college. It was bottom rung to top rung, with the reward being getting to start at the bottom again. I actually loved school so I don’t mean that in a negative way but it was funny going from high to low at each major step. Sort of like finishing a revision only to start another one (or a new first draft).

4 thoughts on “Climbing the Next Hill

  1. Congrats on getting to the next draft!

    It seems never-ending, huh? I definitely feel that way sometimes, too. And I’m prepping myself to tackle the novel I trunked at the end of last year. I feel I have the distance to view it objectively now. It means I have to re-write the whole damn thing, but I think I’ll end up with a better story. No – I know I’ll end up with a better story.

    So, yeah, are we fussing or testing?

    Hard to say. I guess we just have to go with what our guts are telling us (or those spicy tofu-balls). 🙂

    (By the way, my first name is spelled Nila (like knee-la). Nylae is cool, but I’m not that cool. But I suspect you know that. 😉 )

  2. Sorry about the name! 😛 Nylae is kind of a cool spelling; maybe I can use it for a character name sometime 🙂

    I’ve learned to not trust my gut when assessing my writing. It’s been wrong way too many times. In the end, I’m not writing for me, I’m writing for a market place and I’ll have to live with what the market says. Of course, there’s the flip side: what if one more revision or one more submission would make it widely successful? And thus hope (and sweat) springs eternal…

    Good luck on your project. I’m considering doing the same thing with my earlier project, too: a complete re-write. We’ll see. I’ve got at least a for more months on this one plus some shorts to do. Might look entirely different in the spring.

    1. I would be interested in reading the completed version next spring (if you want my opinion).

      And it would be great if you named a character after me (even if the spelling is off)! Please do. 🙂

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