A new type of writer's block
When I began this rewrite of an entire series of 11 books, I did so for its betterment. I hadn't realized the difficulty I would encounter. I truly hadn't.
When I wrote Restraint back in 2012, I was naive- ignorant, if you will -and I'm not ashamed to admit it. While it's wonderful to see such growth, it's a complete and total nuisance in the present. Restraint wasn't my first work. But since its predecessors never saw the light of day, they didn't necessarily teach me anything.
Truthfully, I don't feel as if I was actually learning my craft until after Integrated was published. I took a step back and evaluated the quality of my work. Not just the editing, formatting, and overall professional polish of the product, but the writing itself.
It took me a handful of weeks to write Restraint, but it took me almost 5 months to rewrite it. I found it so much more difficult to rewrite a book than to write it from scratch. I encountered obstacle after obstacle. My naivety was coming back to haunt me. While I could draft a better sentence, edit and format to create a semi-professional appearing novel, my hands were tied on the plot.
I want to confess, if I wasn't fighting the 10 books released after Restraint, I would have deleted the entire manuscript. I may not have even developed the story at all. It was written by a writer who didn't know how to write. It was told by a storyteller who hadn't come into her own yet. & the writer I am today, the storyteller I am today, had to deal with the consequences.
With that saying, I believe in the story and the universe I created, or else I wouldn't be trying to fix what I can. I feel a deep connection and affection for each and every single one of them. I have stories upon stories to tell, as their voices never cease to communicate with me. The characters of M&M are not old friends, they are essentially a part of me.
While there are threads in the foundation of the series I would have written differently, or not at all, I'm doing my best to slowly tweak it over several books. This is most difficult when reading past and present reviews (I really shouldn't do that) because they note the things that I wish I could change but I cannot. It is so frustrating. I have to grit my teeth to stop myself from saying anything. I have to do everything in my power not to spiral down into a self-defeatist attitude where I punish myself for my lack of knowledge over 3 years ago.
New readers reading the Restraint of today may be turned off by those same issues that are plaguing me as I rewrite the series. But I cannot help that. I take full culpability for every reader I lose, and I appreciate every reader who becomes a fan. The only comfort I can take away from this experience is that at least they are reading Today's Restraint, not the Restraint of the past. At least it makes more sense than it originally did, and it's not riddled with errors, shit writing, and plot holes so large you could sink into them, never to escape.
Yes, Restraint is too wordy, but I forgive Katya as she is a book publisher. We lovers of the written word don't know when to shut up, even in our private thoughts- especially in our private thoughts. Yes, Katya has an endless stream of cognitive thought. Yes, I had to do that in order for the reader to understand her actions and reactions, as how else was I to write why she was doing and saying what she was? Still to this day, I am baffled at how else to write that.
Restraint was the foundation, so the issues I have with it, the very issues readers take with it, had to be that way for two reasons. One: my hands were tied. (I hate admitting defeat and a sense of powerlessness) Somethings, no matter how badly I wished, I couldn't change them, because to fix it was to ruin what made the series what it is. Two: the book would have felt incomplete if the reader had to guess the entire time. Which also made a good canvas for Unleashed, as Katya's inner monologue is at the bare minimum. We know Katya, so we can accurately predict her actions and reactions, so therefore I didn't have to write it at all. (Thank goodness for that!)
So this issue leaves me to where I am currently stuck. I have approximately 1/3rd left to rewrite of Unleashed, and I really enjoyed rewriting the first 2/3rds. I thought it flowed well, made sense, and with just a few minor tweaks in every scene, as well as restructuring every single sentence, I am proud of the result. But the last 1/3rd is a complication.
On the rewrite, I finally know my characters inside and out after writing them for 12 books. I have information I didn't have 3 years ago when I didn't know shit about anything. So the characters in Unleashed do not read like the characters of Integrated & Hero, or the newly rewritten Restraint. The last 1/3rd of Unleashed, the actions and reactions of the entire cast of characters do NOT read like them.
In this, my hands are not tied. I refuse to be beholden to this for the entirety of the series. Whether old readers reread to eliminate the confusion is up to them, but I cannot chance turning away new readers, destroying any future I have as a writer by leaving well-enough alone... because it's not well enough for the Erica Chilson of today.
I read a scene yesterday that I previously loved, even three months ago, & I highlighted the entire thing and pressed delete. To say I felt sick is an understatement. I refused to have that work attached to my name, which is why I feel sick with grief.
It's a loss. It's a death. It destroys my confidence as a writer. But after I pull myself back up, which takes some time to feel alive again, I feel the results are a 1000 times better. Then I have my confidence until I hit another brick wall where my hands are tied. (I kick myself in the ass multiple times a day, metaphorically speaking)
I'm now at a precipice, having to reevaluate every scene in the last part of Unleashed. But in doing so, I have to determine how it affects the 12 books to follow between Unleashed and Empowered. Even the most minor of tweaks has to be carried through the entire series to avoid contradiction.
I have list of a dozen things I have to change, major plot points, in the last 125 pages of Unleashed. I've rewritten new chapters from scratch, only to delete thousands of words, and then I do it all over again- including the deleting.
Flashes of insight keep happening. "Do this instead, Erica!" & then I see how it works so much better, how it ties it all together or removes the issue.
Trudging forward at a fast pace makes it so I am not receptive to these flashes of insight that make a book a better reading experience. & I fear the regret I will feel once I've finished a book to only have a flash of insight I will never be able to put in use.
Right now, I am operating on fear, regret, shame, & a self-defeatist attitude. All the while, I'm trying to maintain a positive outlook because I've grown exponentially in my craft over the past few years. But new readers reading Restraint won't know how much I've grown if they don't give the next book a chance, because I couldn't show that growth in Restraint. Not really. I call my rewrite of Restraint a band-aid. I will forever regret it, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change that fact.
This is the part of me who wishes she wasn't in charge, who wishes someone would step in and tell her what to do... but I am the one in charge, and only I can make these decisions.
Yes, I realize there is major emotional fallout for someone who spends their time inside their imaginations versus reality. Yes, I realize all of my doubts and fears are self-created, yet I'm not able to push how I feel to the wayside. Yes, I know no book will ever please everyone. I am utterly thankful when one person connects to my writing, sees it as it was meant to be seen.
But right now, the pressure is suffocating me, and it's a very real thing. The pressure to rewrite these books, not only so I can give the readers something new so they won't forget me, not only so I have a backlist of titles for sale since this decision has left no money trickling into my bank account, but so I can write something new.
Creation is at the very core of me, and this tedium is murdering my muse. Rewriting ruined prose while wearing the hats of an editor, graphics designer, publisher, and promoter is not exactly conducive to the creative process. It's draining me of life. (I'm not complaining, or making excuses, for I know I deserve this hell I've descended. I'm explaining where these emotions are emanating)
If you are a writer, you will understand to a certain extent. Even after writing and publishing a book, when everyone assumes you are ecstatic, a cloaking type of depression descends- one that is only combated by writing another book, where you subject yourself to this lunacy all over again. (However, I cannot write another book, as I have to continually rewrite what I had previously destroyed)
For my readers, I'm not asking for attention, or pats on the back, or for you to kiss my ass and tell me anything negative is because they don't 'get' me. I'm simply trying to impart the impact of not only writing a book but how living it can be on the writer. The more real the characters feel to the reader is in direct correlation to how much the author felt of them while writing the book. The larger the cast of characters, the more insane the author feels.
What I really need is for this pressure to be removed. I want to start from scratch, to write a new book with a minuscule cast of characters who haven't been created yet, with stories that need to be told, and I want to do it as someone other than myself.
Betterment of the Series
Erica's demanding schedule:
Week 1 of January: Restraint will be reread again while I'm on vacation, as will Unleashed, with errors noted.
Week 2 of January: Restraint will be uploaded to create the print edition while Unleashed is with the betas. Dexter's rewrite.
Week 1 of February: Organizing Restraint's Relaunch while preparing Unleashed for print.
Week 2 of February: Restraint's Relaunch. Dexter's beta read. Dalton's rewrite.
Week 1 of March: Unleashed's Relaunch. Dalton's beta read.
Each rewrite will take approximately 3-4 weeks, depending on length, with the shorter books taking less, depending on difficulty of the changes, and the lengthier books taking a considerable amount of time.
Each beta read is exactly 14 days, with another week to process the changes.
Guesstimate: Restraint - Dalton will Relaunch every two weeks, with a lag for the Queen, since I will not release Jaded & Queened until Checkmate and the Omnibus edition are ready. I will be rewriting this three-book omnibus edition as if it were one book, giving myself a two-month time frame for completion, and a 3 week beta read as the betas will be reading Queen as a whole, not the individual books. Queen's tentative relaunch is set for week one of May.
I do not foresee significant changes to the books following Queen, other than heavy editing, a few added scenes, and any and all contradictions to the previous changes within the series removed. Don't quote me on that. Meaning, King, The Hunter, and Integrated should go quickly on the rewrite and subsequent beta read, but will still take an average on one month per title for my betas' comforts....
.... and then there is Faithless. Outlook, three months, with the end product as long as the Queen Omnibus, which in its current state is 1,224 pages in length.
"I won't rush. I will not rush. ERICA, YOU WILL NOT RUSH!"
I've repeated this mantra for the past few months, trying to slow myself down, remove the anxiety, and go at a steady pace as this is most definitely a sprint, not a marathon.
No one understands the impact of what I had to do this morning. I had to remove all of M&M from sale in both Amazon & B&N. I had 16 books for sale, contributing to my financial stability, and as of a few hours ago... I now only have 4, all offered at bottom-basement prices.
Regardless of the anxiety, the stress over making such a monumental decision, I believe it was the correct path of action. Not only for the M&M series, but for me as a writer as well. I don't want my current abilities to be judged on my past ignorance.
It takes a humble yet strong person to admit defeat, to pick themselves back up, and regroup. I will be a stronger person for this. I'll be more proficient in my writing, and my readers will thank me for amping up the entertainment value. But most importantly, my creations will be as I envisioned them.
On December 14th, M&M of Restraint will be taken off sale until each are ready for re-release. If you wish to get a copy of the originals, you better do so quickly, as the current prices will be changed upon re-release.
M&M of Restraint is going through a transformation. Aside from proper editing, both for content and proofreading, the first four books in the series are getting updated covers. All books will be receiving a new synopsis, as well as expanded and changed storylines. All titles will be available in both ebook format and print.
I will use Restraint as an example of the massive transformation underway:
Edition #1, released April 24th, 2012: 42,000 words, with 16 chapters & an epilogue.
Edition #2: released July 1st, 2013: 96,000 words, with 36 chapters & a prologue and epilogue.
Final edition: 151,000 words, with 41 chapters & a prologue and epilogue.
The reasons for the books being taken off sale:
1: Erica Chilson is embarrassed by the 'unpolished' quality of her works.
2: If a new reader's standards were high, even when buying a 99 cent title, they would take a pass on Ms. Chilson's books in the future, missing out on a highly engrossing series.
3: Most readers do NOT reread. Any NEW readers who get their hands on a fresh Restraint or Unleashed, will immediately dive into Dexter, and then they will be confused beyond measure with the contradictions and inconsistencies by reading the Final Editions, and then the original editions of subsequent titles.
4: The author has developed story threads sooner than before, expanding greatly in the character development, and has removed egregious editing errors: grammar, punctuation, discrepancies, plot holes, and story threads the author was uncomfortable with in her books.
5: The author feels the books were rush-written. Therefore, not at their best.
6: Erica Chilson has matured emotionally, as well as growing exponentially in her craft.
Lucky #7: Because M&M deserves it. Because the readers deserve it. Because Erica deserves to feel proud of her work, even if this has been the hardest decision she's ever had to make.
Important information for purchasing readers:
You will NOT have to re-purchase any of the titles. You will be able to update via Amazon, and the author will be posting a form to update directly from her via direct-to-kindle download, with proof of purchase.
Please stay tuned for more information: blog tour signups, review copies, release date schedules, giveaways, and books signings.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this highly stressful time.
Edit. Edit. Edit.
Erica Chilson has written, rewritten, and rewritten Restraint some more, until it no longer resembles its original edition.
In an earlier posting, she listed the chapter amount and word-count difference. In tonight's post, she's sharing the errors found AFTER the beta copy of Restraint. The beta copy is the final draft, already been read and edited dozens of times. After the author received the Betas' findings, she fixed those, and then she loaded Restraint on her Paperwhite for another read-through for the final ebook edition. The next to the last read-through.
Erica Chilson will have to read Restraint one more time when she does copy-edits on the Print Proof, where whatever is found will also be fixed on the ebook edition. Just one more read-through... le sigh.
Erica Chilson has grown exponentially in her craft, and this is the main reason she had to take the M&M of Restraint series off-sale and rewrite it in its entirely... and this is why.
As proof of what was found in the Beta Copy of Restraint, here is a list of all errors spotted, from both the betas and the author herself.
*Intuned x 3. (I swear to God, I fixed that, but managed to use another doc to copy and paste right over it. Smdh) <Jacki, Linsey, Liz, Sandy>
*Threatening (Threatened)* <Jacki, Alexis, Alicia, Liz, Diane, Shelby>
*Supportive bra is remove(d) <Jacki, Liz, Sandy>
*Aaron rip(s) <Jacki, Alicia, DI, Liz, Sandy>
*Gun(remove *-*)metal <Alexis>
*Reevaluating/re-evaluating* I have no idea if this is correct or not, as I get conflicting responses on Google, says both are correct. Shrugs <Alexis> Any guesses which is correct?? Anyone??
*PWNT* (Snickers) <Alexis, DI, Liz, Sandy>
*Forcing me wraps (forcing me to wrap) <Alexis, Alicia>
*Gone/Went* (Kick my ass. LMAO. I suck) <Alexis, Liz, Diane>
*I actually feed (feel) pretty dang good. <Alexis, Alicia, DI, Diane, Darcy, Sandy>
*Disclaimer not including the word rape* (That is a no-no on Amazon. Great way to get blocked. Dubious consent was used in its place. <Alicia>
*Alecia* (Alicia. I also made it Alicia P (unless you would like it to remain B?) <Alicia>
*Tessie* (Tassie- apparently I was drunk that day. LMAO. Two misspelled beta names. smdh) <Tassie>
*F(f)riendship* <Alicia, Linsey, Jonelle>
*Human(remove space)Kind* <Alicia>
*I reminds(remind) us* <Alicia, Darcy>
*I think (thank) the heavens above* <Alicia>
*There are monster(s)* <Alicia, Liz, Diane, Jonelle, Shelby>
*floor to sit(s) next to Monica* <Alicia>
*I've never see(n)* <Alicia>
*I(t) has nothing* <Alicia, Liz, Diane, Darcy>
*It will always (be) your decision* <Alicia, DI>
*toe(s) curl* <Alicia>
*to(at) home (Hillybilly me says to home, not at) <Alicia>
*He sound(s) content* <Alicia>
*lend me strength(.)* <Alicia>
*This is why I stopping (stopped) feeling* <Alicia, Darcy>
*To trigger(remove s)* <Alicia>
*plural/singular hand/palm* <Alicia>
*I would have feel(felt)* <Alicia>
*only touch woman(women)* <Alicia>
*seductive growl(s)* <Alicia>
*burier X 2 (barrier)* <Alicia, Linsey, Liz, Diane, Sandy>
*I(It) will be like...* <Alicia, Liz>
*in in (flow disruption. While correct, I rewrote sentence* (right alongside the adult decision of what my college major would be) <DI, Jonelle>
*what she says next stop(s) my heart* <DI, Darcy>
*another instance of 'to' versus 'at' home times two* <DI>
*Tuesday(s) afternoon...* <DI, Liz, Shelby>
*play around on (with)* <DI>
*rent (too much his-ro coming out of me* <DI, Alicia>
*bringing you (your) friends X 3* <DI>
*clearer-headed (more clear-headed) <DI>
*when he speaks (to) his son* <DI>
*Awkward sentence about Alec* <Tassie>
*which (who)* <Linsey>
*Welcome to (the) Restraint* <Linsey>
*Restraint membership, reworded to remove brackets* <Linsey>
*as sex (awkward. Missing a word earlier in the sentence)* <Linsey>
*effecting (affecting)* <Linsey>
*always (replace with almost)* <Linsey>
*subtly (subtlety)* <Linsey, Sandy>
*(A) Spork* <Linsey, Liz, Darcy>
*chose (choose)* <Linsey>
*chose (chosen)* <Linsey, Liz>
*never imaged (imagined)* <Linsey>
*hope (wish) them the best* <Linsey>
*(a) baser level* <Linsey>
*redundant 'outside'* <Liz, Sandy>
*too (to) keep* <Liz, Diane>
*bare (bear)* <Liz, Diane>
*redundant myself* <Liz>
*anymore (any more)* <Liz>
*Intoxication (intoxicating)* <Liz, Sandy>
*messages (messaged) me* <Liz, Diane, Darcy>
*in (a) just a* <Liz>
*exactly as he says (said) X 2* <Liz>
*just came (come)* <Liz>
*awkward sentence* <Liz>
*anyone (someone)* <Diane>
* punctuation x 12* <Diane>
*Traveling (to)* <Diane>
*weight (weigh) more than* <DIane, Sandy>
*accidently (accidentally) x 3* <DIane, Sandy>
*shaper (sharper)* <Diane>
*it *them)* <Diane>
*comma and (instead I added a comma and a yet) <Diane>
*(H)is very presence* <Diane>
*bark of laugh(t)er* <Diane>
*missing is* <Diane>
*missing to* <Diane>
*Jipped (Gypped) X 2* <Liz, Diane>
*un(in)escapable X 3* <Diane, Sandy>
*Utter (Udder) (I'm LAUGHING SO FUCKING HARD I'M CRYING!!!!!!!!) <Diane>
*(a)waking hours* <Diane, Sandy>
*by (be) lying* <Diane>
*chauffe(u)r X2* <Diane, Sandy>
*(h)ears* <Diane, Sandy>
*I yank you (her) closer* <Diane, Darcy, Shelby>
*(a)way* <Diane, Sandy>
*Pussycat* <DIane, Sandy>
*dam(n) breaks* <Diane, Sandy>
*Next (time) we meet* <Diane, Darcy>
*(pro)perspective* <Diane, Jonelle, Sandy>
*high(-)handed X 2* <Diane>
*on (an) average* <Diane>
*then (than) X 2* <Diane>
*package(d) deal* <Diane>
*Dexter get(s)* <Diane, Darcy>
*O(f)f* <Diane, Sandy>
*Em(im)bedded X 3* <Diane, Sandy>
*in reverse than (then)* <Diane>
*threated (threatened)* <Diane, Sandy>
*Around & round* <Jonelle>
*awkward sentence* <Darcy>
*remove and* <Darcy>
*that (than)* <Darcy>
* tights (thighs)* <Jonelle,Darcy> (That was a horrific error. Damnit! I feel like a moron)
*belong (to)* <Jonelle>
*more redundant 'myself'* <Jonelle>
*then(than)* <Jonelle, Sandy>
*payback(')s a bitch* <Jonelle>
*repetitive use of force in a paragraph* <Darcy>
*Aaron mumble(s) <Darcy>
*remove as* <Shelby>
*Three of them w(h)ere very young* <Shelby>
*Fairytale versus Fairy tale. I googled it and found both on different dictionary sites. No clue which is correct.* <Sandy>
*Sandy suffers from a condition which gives her a great loathing of the hyphen. Forever when I use a hyphen, I will think of her. & determine if it's necessary* <Sandy>
*You instead of ya* <Sandy>
*NIN should be typed out* <Sandy>
*awkward sentence* <Sandy>
*as-is (I found both on a search, but for Sandy's sanity, I removed the hyphen)* <Sandy>
*Jenna Jam(e)son* <Sandy>
*re(-)enters* <Sandy> (The irony is not lost on me how Sandy wanted me to use a hyphen)
*Quacking (quaking)* <Sandy>
*beached (beach)* <Sandy>
*Tipoff(don't kill me. tip-off is correct)* <Sandy>
*Me (my) heart & soul (I'm channeling my ancestors. Kris usually spots my "ME")* <Sandy>
*Not an error. But I will explain right here. Ironic that Ava chose Hillbrook on her own, without knowing it was where her father attended. Fated* <Sandy>
*bit(e)able neck* <Sandy>
*Note to Sandy: the reason Roman Alexander & Dalton & Daniel Whittenhower II have plaques on the doors is because they were already Masters of Restraint by the time Kat comes there. Kat is the newest member, even as of Integrated. Aaron eventually becomes a Master. Queen is training him and Roman during Checkmate for Marcus(happened around the same time as Kat)
*good(remove space) bye* <Sandy>
0% - 20%
Error: (remove possessive) Master Ez’s had on me clears with his absence.
Error: Upper-arm (remove hyphen) *every hyphen had Sandy's beautiful face on my mind *
Error: possessive on a proper noun (Boss's) (remove the s)
Error: wrong place and (at) the right time.
Error: Dexter's deep voice (the sadist's) *Dexter's name hadn't been given yet* Uh-oh!
Error: child size (child-size)
Error: I feel like (a) part in a game
Error: its charm (is) another crown.
Error: flashes of moist pink (is) an...
Error: fear that (the) reality...
Error: for many reason: (reasons)
Error: 21 punctuation errors
21% - 37%
Error: I never want to hear those words (uttered) from your mouth
Error: 27 punctuation
Error: 41 word replacements
Error: (about) how one-sided...
Error: I need (to have) answered
Error: to (take a) shower
Error: 3 capitalization.
Error: or (the) brush of my mouth
Error: like (a) predator
Error: (with) an inborn instinct
Error: every time we meet (we've met)
Error: redundant myself
Error: 5 missing (I) when dealing with then (then I)
Error: time (for) you (to) get properly acquainted
Error:9 missing ANDs
Error: and (for) no other reason
Error: told (to do), like a good girl
Error: to (too) depend (dependent)
Error: (Enter to unbury dialogue)
Error: rearview (mirror)
Error: after (when) ... settles (settled) I (I've)
Error: But I'm sure there might (must) be sweetheart sociopaths.
Error: (in the) opposite direction of me
Error: he sound (sounds) content
Error: feel (feeling) as if more is going (on) around me
Error: preventing (preventative) measure
Error: and release (by releasing)
Error: my own (ONLY) barrier
Error: loses (his) patience with me
Error: with (remove THE) brutal force.
Error: his face (comma) like (the one) he wore...
Error: stalker in your (my) room
Error: but my heart (is) beating (so) loudly in my ears, (it) removes..
37% - 61%
Error: 19 punctuation errors
Error: 7 'enter' to make new paragraphs to unbury dialogue
Error: 5 italicize specific words
Error: this (firsthand), but I've taken care...
Error: 11 words turned into contractions
Error: 3 deleted 'that'
Error: 14 word replacements
Error: 8 pronouns replaced with proper nouns
Error: 4 hyphen removals (Sandy)
Error: 2 hyphens added
Error: days (when) I want to act like a skank, skank panties do not manifest in my dresser (drawers)
Error: further than (from) the truth
Error: paying (close) attention
Error: trashy, skany (skanky) pose
Error: 4 word order (word moved in the sentence)
Error: fiance (fiancee)
Error: 2 (cum) changed to come. (Cum as the noun is valid. Cum as the verb is not) Despite my heritage, if it's ME cum, it's wrong. If it's MY cum, it's correct. 'me come' 'my cum'
Error: wouldn't need two(,) or (else) he..
Error: 2 'tense' errors
Error: 6 reworded awkward sentences
Error: sleep if (IT) off
Error: (as) an added bonus
Error: (Supportive hand disappearing), Master Ez just walks away
Error: 3 singular to plural
Error: 6 remove unnecessary, redundant pronouns
Error: is in (within) arm's reach
Error: 4 'and' replaced with 'to' (instead of a chain of events, it's denoting an action- verb)
Error: (to) accidentally moving (move) the pieces
Error: pull his fingers from my hair (pull my hair from his fingers)
Error: removed 2 more gunmetal eye descriptors for Darcy.
Error: pursuing (perusing)
Error: persecute (prosecute)
Error: it's (is) proof-positive
Error: asked (me) to have sex
61% - 78%
Change: He's very (highly in place of very) skilled and controlled
Error: (by) being born in a small town
Error: 17 word replacements
Error: 28 punctuation errors
Error: 9 restructured sentences
Error: 11 word placement (move a singular word in a sentence to another part of the sentence)
Error: 3 word replacement (redundant use/click the thesaurus)
Error: 6 'enter' to break up paragraphs and to unbury dialogue
Error: (the) both of us *3 instances of this*
Error: 7 pronouns changed to proper nouns
Error: 11 contractions created
Error: 2 compound words (I feel like I'm writing the 12 days of English Grammar... ♫ 1 brain dead author ♫ )
Error: 4 tense errors (... and a partridge in a pear tree ♫ )
Error: 6 removed hyphens ( ♫ because I love Sandy ♫ )
Error: kept (to) his word
Error: 3 singular/plural
Error: The masters earned their own room(s)
Error: a door in the back corner of the comfort side (,) beckons (remove to) me (add forward)
Error: 4 italicized words
Error: my eyes slips (slip) shut
Error: we don't have to (do a) scene or anything
Error: and (the) others
Error: palms smooths (smooth)
Error: the wood (woods) on a rampage
Error: his hand (hands) trying
Error: I shouldn't be (left) alone
Error: My eye (eyes) are glazed
Error: SHIT (we all missed this time and time again. I found it while reworking a sentence) SHIRT. It's a mofo SHIRT!
Error: appeared (to be)
Error: A (remove a) disappointment
Error: I thought (being) gay meant
Error: why are you (being) so mean to me?
Error: one (who's) playing a game with you
Error: with (the) direction the conversation is going
Error: saw (him) on the street
Error: 4 remove that
78% - 100%
Error: failure to NOT indent on the first paragraph of a new chapter
Error: 17 'enter' to break up paragraphs and unbury dialogue
Error: (out of) from (remove from) my mind
Error: we comes (come) to rest
Error: 7 word replacements
Error: 21 pronouns replaced with proper nouns
Error: (to) in (remove in) the chest
Error: 9 delete unnecessary words
Error: 14 word order (rearranged the sentence)
Error: 11 change the tense
Error: 23 punctuation
Error: 2 remove unnecessary profanity
Error: 5 uses of the wrong pronouns
Error: 3 awkward sentences restructured
Error: 6 contractions
Error: please bring (in) our misbehaving...
Error: toes (tips) of his shoes
Error: or it needs (to) not be at all
Error: 2 italicized words
Error: 4 uppercase/lowercase
Error: Cort warms (warNs)
Error: the bird (birdS) and the bees
Error: 4 'that' removed
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Look in the Mirror
There are times when you have to take a step back and look at yourself: your self-image, your mental abilities, your confidence.
In the world of selfies, where people post images with captions, “I look like hell,” but post them anyway, it makes you take a closer look at self-evaluation. If you really thought you looked like crap, you wouldn’t post them. Obviously the poster likes the way they look, and then I wonder if they have a higher opinion of themselves than they should.
Wow, Erica! What a horrible thing to say!!!
Bear with me, here. I’ll get to my point shortly.
Anyone who has paid attention to my postings in the past month or so, knows I’m rewriting my Mistress & Master of Restraint Series- FROM SCRATCH. What a humbling, crippling experience. So I will explain my self-evaluation and a false sense of confidence comment.
Erica has taken a step back and did some major self-evaluation these past few months. In the now, you feel great about yourself: I look good. I feel good. I’m smart. This book is fabulous. Right? Isn’t that how you feel when you look into the mirror of yourself?
A few years ago, I was a bigger girl, and I felt confident about myself. I thought I looked good. (Now, don’t go tar and feathering me, as if I’m saying my size was a reflection of me as a human being. That is NOT where I’m headed with this blog post. I’m long-winded, I’ll get to the point eventually.) Anyway, I was a size 18/20 and quickly gaining ground on the next size up. At the time, I was working on changing my life, all aspects. So I lost weight, dropping down to a 10/12. Yay for me, right? Not really. Because there is fallout from that as well. You start to feel shitty about who you used to be because you still feel like shit now. When I look at pictures of myself- new pictures- I think I look bad. So then I start to question my own sanity. I thought I looked good in images from several years ago, several sizes larger, yet now I feel like crap when I look at myself. Was I thinking clearly back then, then?
My entire life I’ve thought myself as intelligent: quick to learn knowledge that I easily retained. Smarty pants. Know-it-all. With the mistakes I’ve made in the past, where I objectively look at my actions and reactions to the stimulation around me, at the time I felt I was making the proper decisions. Now I think I was a flippin’ idiot.
A stupid, stupid girl.
With the M&M rewrite has came a LOT of fallout, especially to my confidence in all things. In order to grow in my craft and as a person, I had to admit defeat. I had to recognize my faults. I had to take the bitter consequences of my actions. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “You suck. You f*cking suck, Erica!” Then, and only then, could I move on.
This new humbled, self-effacing person is now indecisive- demoralized. With my confidence destroyed, laying amongst the deleted words of my manuscripts, my world view has shifted.
The Erica from the past thought herself smart, average looking, and confident in her abilities to do her job. The Erica from the present disputes those claims as she cleans up the messes from the past Erica. The Erica from the future is shaking her head, clearly disappointed, and she’s shouting, “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t make me redo your work because you’re an idiot. Don’t make me stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I suck. I f*ckin’ suck!’ Don’t make me clean up your messes because you had a bloated self-image!”
Yes, future Erica is a bit pessimistic and bitter, while past Erica was naive, and present Erica is just… resolved.
Where does this leave me, present Erica?
Rolling along, doubting myself, because the past predicts the future. The Restraint I’m writing today (from scratch) will be a Restraint I’m proud of today. But I fear that future Erica will be embarrassed by it, and will want to go back in time and kick my behind. Just as present Erica longs to do to past Erica.
As I go back to Restraint, where I’ve deleted 3 out of every 4 words and replaced them with new, I know I can only do what I am capable of as of today. Tomorrow I may be better. But when it’s all said and done, Restraint will be a reflection of who I am today, and future Erica will have a different reflection of herself within a new book. But for the past Erica’s honor and reputation, present Erica and future Erica have joined forces, refusing to allow their naive, younger self to be demoralized and humiliated.
I’m sure I will doubt myself next week, next year, a lifetime from now. But that shows the ability to recognize my faults and grow. If I truly had a bloated self-image, I’d destroy myself with my narrow view. The only thing I have in common with future Erica, at this time, is the fact that my world view is 360 degrees.
Delve into the mind of madness