Because the song told me so!

There I was, working through my book, re-typing and re-drafting… and then three things happened:

  1. It got hot… so hot… my head doesn’t like making sentences when it’s hot. (It’s actually lovely, if all I had to do was sit in my garden with a book and a glass of wine – as I did yesterday – but today I have work and writing and stuff…)
  2. I realised, although I’d merged chapters and scenes to improve the pacing, I still hit the same point where the prose just works and the story flows and everything is great. The first 80 pages are not like that.
  3. However, just after I realised this, I watched The Lost Boys and listened to the theme song, Cry Little Sister, and instantly knew what needed to change – although, oddly, the song and the story have nothing in common!

I have two major things to change:

  1. At the moment, my MC is scared of the Big Threat straight away, I need to make her intrigued at the start, to draw her in and increase the curiosity of the reader
  2. To add a new character. This may or may not pan out, but I think I need someone to act as a sounding board for the issues the MC is facing.

So I now have half a book printed out to revise, and the other half still waiting to be typed up… and I’m not sure which is more important. All I do know, is that I’m not going to hit my 4th July deadline.

How are the temperatures in your neck of the woods?

Red edit hiccup

I’m still in the red edit zone, so no completed chart just yet. Instead I have these:

Yes, I’m making the grievous error of not just a prologue, or epilogue, but both!

But, let’s gloss over that for now.

My red edits have gone really well, and I technically finished them last night, after a full-on day of reading my own words, cringing, and occasionally being wow-ed.  In fact, there are several pages which don’t even have any edits on them at all!

I added reason and sense to some of the plot points that were somewhat lacking, and a bit of emotion where I’d forgotten to show it. I cut a lot of useless stuff, including a whole character (RIP MC’s boyfriend, but he was kind of pointless, and ended the relationship in the same chapter he was introduced).

Despite all the cutting – some days, I hovered around the exact same number, even though I was writing furiously – I added 2261 words to the story, which means it now stands at just over 40,000! Still too short for a novel, but on my way. By adding four more chapters, I should easily make that up to 45,000.

I swapped around some of the early chapters, but I’m still not completely happy. The opening feels sluggish and dull – but I think it’s necessary to set the scene. Due to the nature of the story, I can’t use flashbacks (which I usually love, so this is hard for me). Perhaps, when I get to the beta reader stage, fresh eyes will be able to point out the problems.

Big question: Prologues and epilogues, love them or hate them?

 

 

Draft finished, feeling accomplished

At the beginning of the year, I decided I was going to write a novel much quicker than I’d ever written one before – in a year. Completed, beta-read, edited and ready to submit.

My WIPs tend to take several years, malingering through many rewrites without much of a plan, and at the beginning of the year, I decided – finally – that this was stupid.

And, coincidentally, at the same time these decisions were occurring, the NaNoWriMo web site announced that people could create their own goals whenever they wanted. So I set up a goal – to write 40,000 words in 90 days.

Today, I finished – 8 days (and 3,600 words) short of the deadline, but the draft is complete, and I am very happy with it, as it stands!

NaNo page

As you can see, after a good start, I had a bit of a… ahem, break. A couple of short stories took priority, and there were probably a few days of Olympic-style procrastination and hot chocolate drinking with friends. However I think I rallied quite well.

There’s something satisfying in recording my words in this way. I usually use a spreadsheet, but that doesn’t include an end date, it just lets me write and write and write… In fact, it was precisely that deadline which forced me back to the WIP on day 57.

My next step is to do something else I’ve never done before – I’m going to read my draft the way I beta-read other people’s – complete with sarky asides and random comments.

Of course, I’ll be setting a goal for that too – 132 pages, 5 pages an hour (because I’ve never made an hourly goal before, so I’m not sure how long it will take) – 26 hours should do it.

Have you seen this feature on the NaNo site? Would you consider using it?

How do you keep yourself accountable?


To all A-Zers! If you’re in the middle of the challenge, thanks for visiting – I know you’ve got many other places to be. I’ll be reading your posts with interest, but I probably won’t comment very much, because I know how overwhelming this time of the year can be. I thought long and hard about joining in again this year, but my WIP challenge is more compelling. Have fun!

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday – Where’s the Fire?

Happy New Year! I know I’ve posted more Throwback posts than any other recently, but with Christmas and New Year in the way, it just got too busy and confused. I promise that my next post will be a brand new one. In the meantime, here’s one from April 2013 – I recently reworked the WIP in question into a short story (it was originally meant to be a novel) and don’t recall this mishap at all! 

 

“Where’s the fire?”

It’s a phrase that can be used to mean What’s the hurry? of course, but today I’m going to take it literally.

Yesterday my WIP flew from my fingers onto the screen, running free and wild, as I watched my story taking shape… Until the moment one character noted that the fire had taken hold of part of the building and the firemen were retreating and regrouping.

Oops!  house-fire-2015081931-300px

What was the problem? I hadn’t even hinted at a fire in the previous 2165 words, not a plume of smoke, not a smell, not a single person pointing out that the rescue of two trapped people might be hampered by the extensive heat.

How had I missed something so vital? Erm, I don’t know. I was working from handwritten and typewritten versions, trying to merge them into something slightly different, and this fact kind of got missed off. In another part of the story that I’ve already written, a character mentions that even two days later the smell is still lingering, so you’d have thought I’d have remembered that at least! Except, I wrote that part of the story last week, so maybe not.

My choices are to delete what I’ve got and start again, or slide the fire into the scenes I’ve already written. I’m going to go with the second option, mostly because this is a first-and-a-half draft, and I know it will bear no resemblance to the final section anyway. I am in awe of people who edit as they go and have publishable work at the point they move on the next chapter. Me? No…

When I was at school, I loved technical drawing. If anyone has ever done it, you’ll know you start of with a lot of pencil marks and the page looks like a complete mess of unintelligible lines. Then you flourish your 0.5 black liner and slowly, out of the jumble of pencil, comes a shape that makes sense – a 3D box or, more advanced, the floor plans of a house. That’s what my writing is like, a jumbled mess until ta da!!

So, yes, today I will be squeezing a fire into my chapter, and shattering the zen-like calmness my characters have chosen to adopt!

What mistakes have you made when you’ve been writing?
Have you ever made glaring omissions?

Revising with Rebecca Bradley

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Today, I am over on Rebecca Bradley’s blog discussing my revision process – discover what state my NaNo novel is in right now and what I’m currently drinking!

A couple of years ago, I shared my first draft process, so it was great to be able to explain my next stage. Writing down exactly how I write is quite eye-opening. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone shares my methods!