Category Archives: Editing
I finally finished the second draft of my zombie novella, CHOICES. I added 6,756 words to this draft, and the total word count still dropped from 30,531 words to 23,586 words. I’d be more upset by this if this didn’t happen every time I tried to work on a second draft. Some people’s word counts increase with the second draft. Mine always seems to decrease.
As a reminder, this is the novel that I wrote for the first day of NaNo. I’ve never written about zombies before, and I never see myself writing about them again, but it was actually fun writing this one. This was the least amount of preparation I’ve done for a novel. I knew the characters’ names, and I knew the overall plot line. That was it. I had a lot of fun learning about the characters as I went.
I meant to finish this draft in February. Then I was separated from my computer for the last few days of the month, and that didn’t happen. I finished it today instead. I’m quite pleased with how this draft worked out. It flows better. The chapter lengths are a bit more consistent. These chapters mostly range from 2k to 3k. In the last draft, one of the chapters was 12k.
My next step with this one is to show it to my sister and see what she thinks. She normally doesn’t care about the stuff that I write, but she was really excited for me to finish this one.
Before this moment, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to what I was going to work on for my March project. Last year, I had all of my months planned out before the year even started, and then I didn’t follow through with any of those plans. This time I’m just making it up as I go along. I had been hoping to start working on my new novel this month, but I’m nowhere near ready to work on that yet. Hopefully I’ll be ready to work on that for Camp NaNoWriMo next month, assuming I actually participate in that.
What I’m going to do instead is work on the second draft of DEGENERATION. This is the novel that I originally wrote as a screenplay during my very first Script Frenzy. I wrote the second draft of the screenplay for the final Script Frenzy, too. Then I wrote the first draft for Camp NaNo last June. I was half happy with what I wrote last year, but I feel like there was a bit of the story that I was missing. Most of the story took place over three days in this draft. I’m thinking that it will be a week in the second draft. I’ve been thinking of ways to improve it ever since I finished the first draft, and I’m looking forward to writing the second draft.
For those who don’t know, my February writing project is the zombie novella I wrote for Day One of NaNoWriMo – Choices. It was supposed to be 50k and ended up being 30k instead. I wasn’t thrilled with the length, but I think it works for this story. It doesn’t need to be longer. It probably would be if I went back and added in a bunch of stuff, but I don’t see that happening. There is a very simple plot to this story, and most of the action comes not from the zombies but by learning about the characters, and trying to drag out the story to fit some minimum word count would just be stupid.
This story came about based on a dare that my region sent out for NaNo. There’s a game that (I believe) one of the MLs came up with called “Make it Sadder,” due to his love of writing depressing literary fiction. Last October, as everyone was scrambling to plan (or not) for NaNo, someone came up with the idea of “A man goes to the grocery store. Make it sadder.”
I don’t normally use the dares that my region sends out, as I usually have enough ideas to work with on my own, but this one caught my attention. I had already been thinking of zombies lately, and this idea mixed with zombies perfectly. A man goes to the store because they ran out of food during the zombie apocalypse. How could I make that sadder?
Marcus, the main character, came to me fairly quickly. Usually my characters introduce me to them a little bit at a time, but he was much more forward. He told me that he was a college graduate with no real career prospects who was trying to take care of his wife and baby daughter. He lived with his friends from college, a group of nerds who managed to survive longer than everyone else they knew.
This is a zombie story, yes, but the zombies aren’t really the main focus of the story. I would compare this novella to Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test in that way. The characters have their own issues and secrets outside of the zombie problem, and those issues are the main focus of the story.
I’m a bit late to the zombie party, I know, but this story wouldn’t let go of me. For a novella that I wrote in 24 hours, it’s actually quite good. Obviously it’s not perfect – there are so many inconsistencies with some of the characters that it’s probably easier to just delete several sections than to try to fix them. There were thousands of typos. I need to rearrange a few scenes and provide more information in others. I definitely need to add more description, as there’s not enough even for me, and I usually hate description.
But I still like it. I like the characters. The inconsistencies that I mentioned aren’t that crucial to the plot. They definitely need to be fixed, of course, but once I delete a bit of text, it won’t be that hard to fix. I finished the new outline on Friday, and most of the scenes are going to stay in the same order. I can only think of a few scenes that I need to completely rewrite or add. For the most part I just need to clean up the text and fix the typos and inconsistencies. I don’t need to completely trash the whole thing, or even half of it. This is definitely an exciting moment for me.
I just finished fixing the first chapter of the novella. There are six chapters total. The second chapter is the one that is going to require a lot of fixing, as I have almost no description at all, and I’ve decided to reveal one of the major plot points later, so I need to fix that. I’m looking forward to it, though. I’m hoping to finish the second draft this week. Of course, I also just got six new books from the library, so I might be a bit distracted. I’m going to try to find a healthy balance between reading and writing, though.
My writing goal for January was to finish the second draft of For Real This Time, and I have succeeded. Well, sort of. I finished it two days after I was supposed to finish it, but I’m okay with that. I finished it, and that’s what matters.
The first draft was 72,000 words. The second draft is 48,857 words. I’m not really sure how that happened, but I’m trying not to freak out at how short it is. I’m sure that I’ll add more words when I edit it next time. Right now, the novel is in the proper order. I have included more of the characters that I was supposed to include, and I have taken out a lot that didn’t really fit with the story. It still needs a bit of work, but it’s a lot better now than it used to be.
I’m learning to edit in stages. When I write the first draft, I try to stick to my outline, but I allow myself the freedom to change the outline as I go. When I edit the novel for the first time and turn it into draft 2, I work on making sure that the events happen in the proper order. Then, draft 3 is when I make sure that I have all the right details and descriptions and conversations. I try to make sure all of that’s right in draft 2, of course, but my main focus is getting everything in the right order.
I’m rather pleased with how this draft turned out. I actually managed to keep a fair number of scenes from the first draft. I edited those scenes a bit, but I didn’t change all of them. That makes me happy, as it means I didn’t completely trash my first draft. I trashed half of it and then moved the other half around a bit.
I’m not 100 percent sure which novel I’m working on next. I promised my sister I’d work on my lit fic zombie novella next, but I also have a new plot bunny that I’m really interested in. It came to me in early January, and it won’t leave me alone. I don’t have all the details of that one worked out, but I’m really excited about it. The main character keeps telling me a bit of her back story, and I’m really interested in learning more about her. I’d feel better if she’d tell me her name, but I guess I can’t ask for too much too soon.
I’ll probably end up working on Choices (the zombie lit fic) next and make notes on the other one as it comes to me. Besides, this is the shortest month, and Choices is my shortest work, so it makes sense to work on that one now. I wrote Choices for my Day 1 NaNo novel. Some of you might remember that I tried to write 50,000 words on November 1. I did not succeed, but I did manage to write 30,531 words, and I finished the first draft of Choices, so I was still pleased with myself. Now I get to go back and see how much of that actually makes sense.
Julie wrote a wonderful post the other day about the importance of being happy with what you’ve accomplished instead of always comparing yourself to other people. This is a great piece of advice, especially when you’re starting to doubt your ability as a writer.
I go through moments when I’m happy with my writing process and all that I’ve accomplished, and there are times when I’m not. For a while last year, I thought I was happy because I found a process that worked for me – write a first draft really fast, then throw it out and write a second draft really fast, and then edit that second draft. It wasn’t the process I wanted to have work for me, but it was what seemed to be working.
And then I started following more blogs and people on Twitter. I started realizing that it was time to get serious about writing if I ever wanted to actually get something published. I read articles on editing and saw what other people did. I read about people who took their first draft and fixed it and turned it into a good draft. And I thought, Hey, I can write like that, too! And I decided to try to change my writing process.
To be fair, part of this desire came from one of the novels I finished this past NaNo – LET GO. This is the novel that I started for NaNo 2008. I got about 10k in before I quit. I started it again in 2010 and got only a couple of thousand words in that time. Then I started it again for Camp NaNo 2012, and this time I liked what I was writing. I wrote the last 15-20k for 50k weekend during NaNo, and I ended up with a completed draft that I was actually quite happy with. I spent the end of November/beginning of December getting it ready for Pitch Wars, and I submitted it. I didn’t get chosen, but I learned a lot about writing and queries, and I found a whole slew of interesting people to follow on Twitter.
While all of that was wonderful, there was one thing that came about from all that that wasn’t so great – I got the idea that I could write a first draft that was good. I thought that since LET GO was decent the first time I wrote it, I must have outgrown my old process of write a draft and then throw it out and rewrite it completely. It’s like I forgot about the first two drafts that I started and threw out.
That’s why I was happy when I sat down to edit FOR REAL THIS TIME. I thought that it was a great first draft that just required a normal amount of editing, not a complete rewrite. So when I finally read over it and made a bunch of notes and realized that I did need to mostly start over, I was devastated. I felt like I was a failure, like I was regressing as a writer.
But you know what? I’m over that. I’m sitting here with 8 chapters and 20,000 words written for draft 2 of FOR REAL, and I’m really liking what I have so far. I’m not saying it’s the most amazing thing ever written, of course. I know it’s going to have to undergo one more round of edits before I try to show it to anyone. But you know what? I’m happy with it.
I’ve found a system that works for me. I write a first draft as fast as I can (in this case – 2 weeks). Then I leave it alone for about a month. Then I go through and edit it. I make a line edits and substantive edits. I know every single article written on this topic says not to do this, but you know what? I can’t help it. I went to college to be a copy editor. I was called a grammar Nazi in high school. I can’t read a novel with a pen in my hand and not fix errors when I see them.
When I finish this round of edits, I go about fixing the manuscript. In this case, that meant throwing out most of the book and rewriting it. Now, I will admit that I’ve kept more of this first draft than I thought I would. Some chapters were completely rewritten. Some were moved but kept mostly as they were. Others were added. I’m doing whatever that chapter calls for. The important thing, though, is that I’ve learned to stop doubting my process.
Would it be nice to be able to edit a draft and not have to rewrite almost all of it? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that I’m a failure if I end up rewriting all of this. That’s just what works best for me. That’s what I did in college with my creative writing classes. I would write a really fast draft of a story the night before it was due, and then I would throw that out and write a new draft, and I always ended up loving that second draft.
I need to stop doubting myself. I need to stop comparing myself to other people. I need to do what works for me and stop worrying that it’s not what other people do.
I set a goal for myself this month to finish the second draft of FOR REAL THIS TIME. My goal was to write one chapter a day every day of the month, starting Jan. 11, which was the day after I finished the outline for it. I ended up missing one day, but I also combined two chapters, so I’m still on track to finish on time. I’m not doing this as fast as I wrote the first draft, but it’s working for me – and that’s what matters.
Okay, it’s only taken me a week and a half, but I’ve finally finished the outline for draft 2 of For Real This Time. This seems to be a recurring theme with me: I write a novel, think that this is going to be the time that the first draft is really good, print out the novel, make a bunch of comments and edits, and then go back and decide to just start over anyway. Although, I am happy to say that there are some scenes that I will be keeping. That’s a big step for me. Usually I just toss the whole thing and then rewrite the scenes that I mostly like. Granted, I haven’t started writing yet, so it’s still possible that that could happen, but I’m going to try to be optimistic right now. Plus, there really were quite a few scenes from the first draft that I liked.
The first draft was 17 chapters long, and we didn’t even see the love interest until chapter 9. Draft 2 will be 21 chapters, and we mention the love interest briefly in chapter one and meet him in chapter 6. That’s still a bit later than I would have liked, but the story is more set up for the introduction now. I’ve also spaced out some of the events. The first draft was horrible in terms of pacing. I liked the beginning, where we got to know Maggie and what she wanted most out of life, but after that, the novel sort of lost it. The middle section took up a lot of time and attention, but not a lot really happened. One minute she’s meeting Parker for the first time, and the next minute the summer’s over and the story is wrapping up. It was horrible, and there were a lot of loose ends and events that didn’t really make sense, or events that were alluded to but never actually happened, even though they should have. This version will be a lot better, as I believe I’ve fixed most of those problems.
One of the problems with my writing is that it’s usually very one-dimensional. I always love my main characters and want to see them grow and learn, but I don’t always write the most interesting ways for them to get what they want. I think that’s why I usually gravitate toward literary fiction – there’s still a plot with those novels, of course, but it’s less of a factor. In literary fiction, you’re allowed to have a character sit in a chair for hours, reflecting on life, and have that be the only thing that happens in that chapter. The same can’t be said for books in any other genre. You actually have to balance a bunch of different storylines, and that’s not something I have a lot of practice in, I’m afraid.
When I was in middle school and early high school, I wrote a lot of Harry Potter fan fiction. I actually wrote several of them that had plots that were at least semi-interesting. And then I started to write romantic fan fiction, and my stories lost something. I would focus on the romantic aspect and ignore everything else. I would have Harry’s friends turn against him because it was easier to write the story without having to worry about including them. I think that’s the main reason that the last book I read, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, reminds me so much of fan fiction – because it’s really only about the romance. There are side characters who show up and talk to the main characters, sure, and Callie and Kayden both have issues in their past/present to overcome, but the majority of the novel is focused on their relationship, and that’s exactly like my fan fiction used to be.
I think that’s why it took me so long to do this outline: there were so many different threads to keep track of. There was the main storyline of Maggie’s quest to lose weight. There was her friendship with Parker, which she hopes will become something more. There are her best friends. There’s drama with her parents and her extended family. There are the people at school and in her neighborhood who were mean to her. Some of those are more important than others, of course, but they all had to be included, and that was more work than I’m used to. It’s good work, of course. I’m happy to do it, and now that I’ve finally figure out what I’m doing, it’s fun. I know that this is what it takes to be a successful writer who’s happy with her work. It just took a bit longer than I was expecting.
I have 10 novels that I want to work on this year – the five that I want to edit, the four that I want to finish, and a new one that came to me the other day that I can’t get out of my head. I’m hoping to work on one each month, with the extra two months as sort of a cushion in case I don’t make it. Since this month’s novel is obviously For Real This Time, I should really get around to rewriting it now that I’m done with the outline. One chapter a day for the rest of the month, and I should be able to finish this, especially since I am keeping some of what I already have written.
It’s that time of year again, the time when people sit back and reflect on everything they hoped to accomplish over the year and compare that to what they actually accomplish. I will be writing another post soon about what I hope to accomplish in 2013, but for now I will reflect on my goals for this past year.
1. Find a job that doesn’t make me want to murder all those around me.
Yeah, this didn’t happen. I still work as a school photographer. However, I did complete my first semester of grad school, which means I’m one semester closer to getting certified to teach high school English. Not a new job, but a step closer to getting a new job, so it’s not as bad as it could have been.
2. Finish the novel I wrote for 50k weekend.
That would The Story of Em, which is still unfinished. I have an outline for the rest of it, and I actually really like this story, but I’ve been working on other novels, so I haven’t finished this one.
3. Edit both novels that I finished this NaNo.
Those novels would be Tilt Your Head and Smile and Learning to Lie. I rewrote Tilt once, so I will consider that a partial success, even though I only got halfway through the edit of the rewrite. I also haven’t edited Learning to Lie. I still like the idea of that trilogy, but I’m still not sure where I want it to go, so I’ve decided to shelve that one for now while I work on the novels that I actually know how to write.
4. Win Script Frenzy.
Yes! Finally I did something that I said I was going to do. And, okay, sure, I wrote a huge part of those 100 pages on the last day of the month, but I still finished. RIP Script Frenzy. I’ll miss you.
5. Win both sessions of Camp NaNo.
Didn’t win either. I finished a novel for the June Camp (about 48k) and gave up halfway through the novel for August Camp.
6. Keep a blog going for an entire year, writing at least once a week (if not more).
I’m going to count this as a success. There were a few weeks where I didn’t write at all (mainly during NaNo and the beginning of December), but this will be my 125th blog post, at least 100 of which have been posted in 2012, so I consider this a success. This is actually my most successful blog ever, so I’m happy with it.
7. Build up a portfolio so I can actually apply for writing jobs.
This didn’t happen, either. Since I decided to become a teacher, I’ve sort of stopped looking for writing jobs. This probably won’t change, as I plan on spending most of my time next year working on my Master’s degree and writing/editing/reading novels.
8. Read 52 books in 52 weeks.
If I read 1 book a day for the rest of the year, I will achieve this goal. It’s not impossible – especially considering the fact that I read one book in 5 hours today and only have a few chapters of the next Dresden book to finish, as I’ve been listening to that one in the car – but I’m not all that sure that it will happen. Still, 47 books in 52 weeks is still respectable, especially considering how many books I read in 2011. I hope to do better next year, but I’m not doing to beat myself up over it.
Okay, so I didn’t really accomplish as much as I wanted to this past year. Still, I’m happy with a lot of what I did accomplish. I wrote more than 242k for NaNo. I wrote 2 novels and 1 novella in a month. I ended the year with 5 completed novels, 1 completed novella, and 3 short stories. I submitted some short stories to contests. I wrote a query letter. I entered my query and novel into a contest. I didn’t win any of the contests, but I learned a lot, and I got over my fear of letting other people read my stuff. I still have a long way to go, but I’m putting myself out there and taking risks, and that’s a huge step for me.
I’m not making as much progress as I would have liked, but I’m still making progress, and that’s the important part.
What about the rest of you? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to in 2012?
As some of you might know, I recently applied for Pitch Wars, a contest where you pitch your novel to agented authors and editors, and they pick one entry to read and critique. I submitted a pitch for my “New Adult” novel about three college roommates who learn about each other and themselves. My novel wasn’t chosen, but I received some really helpful feedback from one of the mentors I queried – Miss Dahlia Adler. I may not know exactly how to fix my query letter, but I know what to fix, and that is a huge help!
Between November 26 and December 3, I was reading through my novel and making some changes. Since then, I haven’t really done anything as far as writing is concerned. I have enjoyed the break, but now it is time to get some work done. I am going to start by editing the second novel I wrote for NaNo: For Real This Time. I haven’t really given Maggie much attention since I finished the first draft, but I think that it’s her turn. I printed out the draft and have it in a binder. From what I remember about the novel, it actually was a decent first draft – I just hope I still feel that way after I start reading. I hate wasting paper, but I find editing so much easier on paper.
This weekend, my boyfriend and his parents are going out of town, and I am staying at their house to take care of their dogs. I have decided to use this time to get a jump start on my editing. I’m going to try to do my first read through this weekend. I have pens and highlighters and sticky notes and a notebook. My goal is to go through and make notes on parts that need fixing. I am also going to look at the novel scene by scene to see which parts should stay and which parts need to be added. My goal is to have all the changes marked down on this draft before I type it into the computer. I think I often get bogged down with how much I have to do, and I end up getting confused and quitting. I’m now going to take this step by step. This method worked well with Tilt Your Head and Smile (or at least it did before I stopped editing to work on Camp NaNo and never started back up again), and I’m hoping it will work this time, as well.
If there’s one thing Pitch Wars has taught me, it’s that writing one draft isn’t enough. If you want to be a writer, you have to keep going. You have to fix the first drafts. It’s important to write a lot, yes, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t edit. I went to school to be an editor. This should not be the part of the process that stumps me. I currently have seven completed drafts and four incomplete drafts. I’m much closer to where I should be now than I was last year (at least I have finished drafts now), but I’m still not where I should be.
My goal for the rest of this month is to get a decent draft 2 of For Real This Time. I already have a decent draft of Let Go. It’s time I start taking this seriously. I’ve learned a lot this year, and I’ve accomplished a lot, but I still have a lot to do and learn. And I’m looking forward to waking up early tomorrow, waving goodbye to my boyfriend, and then diving straight into editing.
Holy crap. How did that happen? Two weeks until the NaNo forums are cleaned in preparation for the new year. It’s crazy. I don’t know how the time passed so quickly. What have I been doing with all my time? I was supposed to be working on the first draft of Let Go and finishing the first round of edits for Tilt Your Head and Smile, as well as working on outlining my NaNo project(s) – not to mention all the homework that I want to have done before then.
What have I actually accomplished so far? I’ve managed to stay a week and a half ahead of my classes as far as the homework is concerned. I’ve added about 11k to Let Go. I haven’t even looked at Tilt Your Head and Smile since July. I’ve added some more notes to my main NaNo project, but I’m not really much closer to figuring everything out than I was last month.
On the plus side, I have gotten more writing done this weekend. We left the house yesterday and hung out at the coffee shop down the street. I managed to write about 3k while I was there. I finished chapter 10 and started chapter 11. I’ve only written about 800 words so far today, but I’m a little over the halfway point for chapter 11, and chapter 12 should be really easy to write. I think I just needed to get over that little hurdle with chapter 9 (which was a big turning point for two of the characters). Now I’m feeling better about my novel again and am starting to get more into the NaNo spirit.
I also found out that one of the people I work with knows about NaNo and is planning on doing it this year. That was exciting. Most of the people at work just look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about NaNo. I’m hoping I can encourage her to go to write-ins or at the very least hang out in the NaNoLanta chat room, as that’s really what helps me during November. Because, despite what it looks like on this blog, I really can write a lot when I sit down and focus. I’ve just let myself get too distracted with other things for the past, you know, eight months.
But that’s going to change now. I have 22 chapters left to write for Let Go. I have 17 chapters left to edit for Tilt. I have at least one novel to outline for NaNo, though I would like to have two planned, just in case I actually manage to write as much as I was hoping to this year. I also have all of my big assignments for both classes due throughout the month of November. I’m going to try to do most of those in October, but I can only do so much ahead of time.
My goal for today is to finish writing the next chapter and a half of Let Go and to finish next week’s reading for my Foundations of Education class. I only have one chapter left to read, so it shouldn’t take me too long. Then I should really write my review for The Fault in Our Stars, which I finished a few days ago but haven’t gotten around to reviewing yet.
Yes, it’s only the fifth day of Camp NaNo August, and I’m already behind where I’m supposed to be. According to the NaNo calendars I’m using as my background, I should be at 8,065 words today. Since I’m aiming for 60k this month instead of 50k, I should really be at 9,670. I’m actually at 6,511. I’ve written the prologue and chapter 1, and I’m at least halfway through chapter 2, probably a little more. According to the Camp site, I have to write 1,611 a day to finish on time. I can do that easily if I actually focus.
I generally get like this when NaNo starts. For the week or so beforehand, I’m excited to start working on this new project. Then the day before and the day it starts, I panic and realize that I haven’t planned enough and that nothing I write is good enough, and I drag out the writing process. I sit at my desk with my coffee, but instead of writing, I watch TV. I watch movies. I play games. I read blogs. I start making notes on other novels I want to write in the future. I pretty much do everything but write.
Most of the writing that I do have so far is based on the chapters I already had from previous attempts to write this novel. The first time I tried to write this novel was NaNo 2008. I wanted to try pantsing a novel, so I wanted to start with a character and just see what happened after that. I ended up with four characters (which eventually evolved into three), and I had an overall outline in my head before NaNo even started. I got about 10k in and then quit. I tried writing this again back in August 2010. In order to prepare for NaNo, I was going to try to write a novel over the span of August and September. I got about four chapters in before I gave up.
Now I’m more prepared. I understand most of the characters. I have a clear view for the first several chapters at least. Now I just have to deal with the fact that it’s never going to be as great in my head as it is on paper. The rational part of me knows that that doesn’t matter, that it’ll get better when I edit it and that my second draft is always better than my first, but the other part of me is still afraid to keep going. I think part of my problem is that I’ve now done a bit more editing with Tilt, and I don’t want to make it harder for myself later. Both Tilt and Learning to Lie had to be completely rewritten, and I’m afraid that most of Degeneration will be, as well. I already know that The Story of Em will probably need to be tossed, or at least reworked, if I want to make it a completed draft. Part of me just wants to slow down a bit with this one and see if perhaps I can actually keep the first completed draft of this one. Obviously it will still need editing and reworking, but I shouldn’t have to redo the entire thing.
I think that’s throwing me off, though. I should just write. If it ends up needing tons of editing later, that’s fine. Editing Tilt is actually proving to be rather enjoyable. I have tomorrow and Wednesday off work, and possible Tuesday, as well. I forget how slow the first few weeks are. My plan tomrrow is to get caught back up with where I’m supposed to be. That means a little over 5k and 4 chapters (since I wanted to write at least 1 chapter a day). I’d rather keep up with the chapters than the word count, but I’d be happy either way.
And tomorrow, the TV stays off.
Camp NaNo starts in less than an hour. I’m tempted to stay up and start writing exactly at midnight, but since I have to wake up around 5:30 tomorrow for training, I probably shouldn’t. I am, however, tempted to wake up at 5 instead and write for a little bit. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. I might just go back to sleep for an extra half hour. At the very least, I’m bringing a notebook and my notes for chapter 1 with me so that I can write at work.
Just the returning photographers are going to training tomorrow, and there’s not really anything that they can tell me that I don’t already know. I mean, I worked a job already yesterday, so it’s a bit late to try to train us. The only new thing I noticed was that there’s an extra alignment line thing that shows us where to crop the bottom of the picture to. They could explain that in an email. They don’t really need to call us all in and make us sit there for eight hours. But whatever. That’s why I’m bringing a notebook. The notebook will also be useful when they make us sit through that incredibly boring sexual harassment video that they make us watch every season, even though corporate only demands that we watch it once a year.
I’m a bit worried that I haven’t prepared enough for Camp. There are still a few details I’m not exactly clear on, and I haven’t decided exactly how to deal with the fact that the last like eight chapters of the book switch back and forth between Samantha and Chloe and completely ignore Natalie. Oh, and I’m still not entirely sure what I want Samantha’s relationship with another side character to be.
On the other hand, I also have descriptions for all of the main characters and several of the main side characters. I understand their motivations and know what they want and what they’re afraid of. I have an outline that summarizes all the major events by month. I have another outline that breaks up what will be in each chapter. I have another outline that just lays out all the important dates and what days of the week those events occur on. I asked two different Facebook friends for help on what two of my characters would be doing for their senior projects. I have plenty of information to draw on. I’m way more prepared than I’ve been for novels in the past. I’m just nervous, I guess.
My goal for the month is 60k or a finished first draft. I’d like the finished draft more, but I would also like to bring my total word count for 2012 up to 300k, and 60k this month would do that. That’s a little more than 1900 a day, which isn’t horrible if I actually stay focused and write at least one chapter a day.
I originally wanted to be finished with the first round of edits for Tilt before Camp started, but it looks like that’s not happening. I am pleased with what I’ve done so far, though. I’ve made markups of the entire manuscript, and I have a new outline of each chapter with notes for things to add and things to delete. I started trying to type up the changes as I went, but once I hit chapter 12, I ran into bigger problems, which led to a lot of shuffling around and major rewrites, and it was just easier to read the whole thing and tag problem areas as “delete” or “expand” and just deal with it later.
Tilt now sits at 96,575 words, down from the 101,478 words that it started at. In case anyone cares, that’s a net decrease of 4,903 words so far, and I’ve just finished fixing chapter 18. There were originally 39 chapters, but I’ve made notes to delete four of those. I’m on page 94 out of `189 (1.5 spaced, Garamond size 11 font, 0.7 inch margins, in case anyone’s curious). I’ve also just wrapped up December 2010. This means I’m pretty much in the middle of the novel no matter how you want to look at it, which is pretty exciting. I’m rather pleased with the draft so far. It doesn’t feel quite as…stifling…as it was before. April talks to people. She’s not just shut up in her room for half the book. Quite an improvement.
I’ll probably still end up making changes during August, but I’m going to try to focus more on writing Keep Going. I’ll finish editing Tilt in September. Then I’ll probably work on editing Degeneration. I’ve also been coming up with more ideas for the short story I wrote for my thesis class that I’ve always wanted to rewrite as a novel. I’m starting to see that world more clearly, and I look forward to getting more notes down on paper for that one. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be writing that one for NaNo this year.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, I should simply try to get some sleep so I can wake up early and write tomorrow morning…I mean so that I don’t fall asleep during training.