Monday, February 29, 2016

Check In...

So how'd we do with our NoRevMo (Novel Revision Month)? The national revision month, for people part of NaNoWriMo community (National Novel Writing Month) is June- and I didn't want to wait that long. I know some of you didn't either.

Did you finish at least one round of revisions and edits for your novel? Great!
Did a good portion but didn't finish? Good!
Got thrown off the track by family/job/life? Don't sweat it- keep working, you'll get it done. Remember this was an arbitrary deadline.

How did I do?

My plan was to revise four novels; one each week. Before you go thinking I'm superwoman, remember, these novels have all been edited at least five times and I'm fine tuning for my agent to send out or the initial submission to my agent. (Editors will ask for more changes, you can bet on it.)

I finished 2 and a half. I finished my NA sci fi, Lethal Dose, which I hope goes back out on submission to editors. Then I revised and reworked my YA reincarnation story The Meaning of Time, which my agent hasn't seen yet (nor will she until I do another round; I feel something is missing...). I gave up on my MG sci fi (title in progress) because my agent and I can't seem to agree what's needed. Frustrated, and with a family emergency that pulled me out of state and the creative mood, I put it aside.

Am I disappointed I didn't get everything finished? A little. I like to get things done. But I'm also realistic; this was very ambitious to think of doing four books in one month. Plus, I have a workshop presentation to work on for the annual NJ Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator conference in early June. I'm setting up book signing/appearance events. I'm self-pubbing an MG adventure/semi-sci fi.

I also want to repaint our master suite, work in my meditation and other gardens, paint the pool deck, visit family in Italy, have parties, and enjoy my pool.

Will I get all of it done? Probably not. But I'm not crazy enough to think I will.

So if you haven't finished your edits/revisions, keep working. If you have, put your novel aside and take a break. Have lunch with friends. Go on a vacation. Write another story. Clean your house. In a week or so, go back to the novel, only this time (and this tip has been suggested by a number of other people, I can't take credit for it and I'm going to try it): change the font on your manuscript. The difference will force your eyes to see each word, rather than skip over the too-familiar previous type.

No criticisms, just cheers. Remember, maybe only one in a million people get published. Even if you're not there yet, just think of all those people who say "Someday I'll write a book..." and then never do. You're ahead of the game. Now keep going and beat the odds.

Picture courtesy of Microsoft/Bing

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sprint to the Finish...

You're almost there!

To the end of the month. How's the novel revision going? Not quite as far as you thought you'd be?

Now's the time to dig down deep, as athletes say, and find that last bit of energy and determination to finish the job.

We all get a little sidetracked. Family happenings. life events, work, health, etc. I was derailed for over a week with the sickness, then death of a beloved aunt out of state. For two days afterward, I was still numb. When I tried to go back to my story, I remembered that I named a character after my aunt- and it was like a sign that I should go on, finish it not only for myself, but for her. Use any justification but get the work done.

You can do this. Even if you've only done a few chapters, keep going. This is your race, so you set the clock. Can't be done this month? Then take next month, and even the one after, but get it done! It won't ever go out on submission to an editor or agent sitting there unrevised on your desk.

I've finished one story, started then gave up on another, and now am working on a third. I had hoped to do four stories, but life happens. So it'll keep for next month. Always working on something is the key to achieving success because it won't just happen.

So put on your glasses, load up on tea or coffee and sit your butt in the chair.

I believe in you- you can do this!

Clip art courtesy of Bing/Microsoft

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Detour Bumpy Road Ahead

I missed a new post on two Mondays. My beloved Aunt Kay, like a second mother to me, was on life support and we said goodbye. The wake was Monday, the funeral Tuesday, so I'm posting this today.

Sometimes there are detours to your perfect plans. Your life gets sent down an unfamiliar road and it's dark, you don't know what's ahead. But you have to reach your destination so you press on, there's no turning back.

I used the detour: reconnected with family, appreciated what I have now, and will work harder now that it's time to accept what is and that life goes on.

Don't fret over your own detours. Even if they are major ones that force you to put aside or strictly limit your novel revision, keep your novel close both physically and mentally.

Giving up is not an option.

Wishing you all success, motivation, and good edits.


Picture courtesy of Microsoft/Bing

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Go Time!

(I'm writing this blog on an old dinosaur computer, so forgive me if there are no pretties or I don't respond to comments right away...)

Are you ready? Time to edit! Cut! Revise! Throw out! Scrap! Cross out!

And bleed a little.. (ink...)

I thought the following article on words that should be banned was perfect. (I was going to say 'spot on' but that's become a cliché.) Go here to see Lake Superior University's picks for words we all now hate (but too many people still use).  After your chuckle, make a note to check your manuscript for these types of words; they're overused, slangy, and usually incorrect or non-existent if you subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary (although some of their entries leave me scratching me head. Just because a lot of people use it doesn't make it a valid word in my mind, but that's another blog.).

And, here are a few more resources to help you edit:

5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing by C.S. Lakin

Showing and Telling in Fiction by Marcy Kennedy

Revision and Self Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell

And to add to your already long list of Things to Look For:

Tension- Is it there, do you have enough, is it sustained?

Genre- is it the right one? Are adults telling your YA story?

World building- can people believe that your fantasy world, whether sci fi, folktale, historical, magical, etc. is real by the details you provide or are we asked to just 'believe?'

Because my laptop is on the critical list, I'll be working on a printed out draft that has already been marked up (this should be fun). I know of one critical flaw- that runs through the entire book (yeah, why didn't I see that coming?) so I know it's going to be a long, agonizing, hair-pulling job. But we're in this together, right?

Going by the NaNoWriMo guidelines, if our book is 50,000 words, we would need to edit about 1,724 words a day (Luckily this is a leap year and we have 29 days.) That is roughly 7 pages a day to finish by the 29th. (This might or might not be harder than writing 7 pages a day....)

So good luck! Don't fret! It'll all work out! And you HAVE TO DO THIS, so no backing out. Even if you don't finish by the 29th, KEEP GOING.

And let's cheer each other along.


Image courtesy of Google Images