Jan 31, 2012

Revision Wars: When Margins Aren’t Enough

When I do a revision… generally I tear the ms to shreds. I pull it apart, piece it back together and hope the glue holds long enough to do it all over again (approximately 4 times – 4th time I’m pretty certain the glue’s no longer visible).
 But what that means for me, is that the margins are NEVER enough. And so the backs of my novel’s pages look like this:


BTW, in case you were wondering, this is this novel’s 2nd time through the gauntlet – and I still have that many notes/changes.
I should also point out that my best editor is my mother, who will no doubt send this version back to me with another 5,000 changes in track changes – which I’ve slowly gotten to the point of relishing. (I should also point out that she’s been waiting a long time for me to finish this novel up… so I should probably get on that, no?)

Are the margins enough for you? Or do you find yourself slipping on to the back of the page as well?

Jan 30, 2012

MI: A Doorway

I don't know who took this, but it is beautiful

Everytime I look at this picture I wonder what's beyond that door way and what it looks like from the other side, looking back this way.

Jan 25, 2012

The Stages of Revision (or, Turning your Manuscript into a Monkey)

1. DENIAL – I think this stage was the longest with my first novel. I didn’t want to believe it needed that much work. I took it as an affront that scene deletions were suggested, that so many questions were asked. THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!!!

2. FEAR – Looking at all the work you need to do is daunting… a “My stomach is trying to escape through the soles of my feet” kind of feeling. So you move from not believing it could need the amount of work your betas tell you it does, to looking toward the peak of Mt. Manuscriptus and realizing you left your oxygen tank at home…

3. ACCEPTANCE – This stage has shown up more quickly with each revision I’ve had to do, it’s the point at which you realize one way or another, you have to get moving. You may not take all of the suggestions given, but you’ll probably see the light for most of them at this point.

4. LET’S DO THIS – After you’ve accepted the fact that you need to pull up your sleeves and dredge this ms out of the mud, you’re on the rush of getting things started and you’ve got the idea in your head that you can plow through these revisions no problem, you’re going to make these revisions into a monkey with a fez and a pair of cymbals and it will dance, DANCE!!!! (This is usually paired with a maniacal laugh – and deservedly so)

5. OMG I CAN’T DO THIS – And then it hits you, a resurgence of the gut wrenching fear from stage two. Suddenly that little voice in the back of your head has killed your monkey – via doubt poisoning – and you start to wonder if you aren’t making it all worse. You start to dwell on the changes, and you go back a page, reworking, two pages, you start to get sucked into a re-edit that will pull you under. You make copious notes telling yourself to go back for this and make sure that…

6. IT’S NOT SO BAD, REALLY – You wake up the next morning, pages stuck to your cheek from drool and you realize you were freaking out. Even if somethings are still unpolished, this is only one round of many go throughs. You pick yourself up, get back to the point of your freak out and push on, diligently.

7. I’M NEVER GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS – at this stage, you’re about half way through, but the revisions have lost both the fresh “I’mma make you my monkey” feel as well as the “OMG, NOVEL ARMAGEDDON! NOTHING IS WORKING” feel that pulled you through the first half. Now you’re trudging through, page by page, each turn seems to be spaced out further and further until you feel almost as though you’re going backward. (Now is a good time to take a break, btw – because this stage can last a LONG time if you let it.) This stage feels like running through knee deep snow, you’re exerting twice the effort to get 1/3 as far.

8. AHHH! THE END IS IN SIGHT – once you break through the drudgery of stage 8, (about 7/8th through the revision) you’ll get a surge of energy back, you can see the light at the end of that tunnel, you’re putting the fez back on your monkey and once again he will DANCE!!!

9. HOLY CRAP, I’M DONE? – You get to the end and Doubt number 2 sets in. This time, it’s a doubt that you caught everything…. maybe your monkey has hidden something under that snazzy vest you got for him. And maybe you didn’t catch it all. But that’s okay. Now’s not the time to dwell on that. Now is the time to set it aside, work on something else and then read it again in about a month, when it’s not so fresh in your mind.

(Then you send it off again and probably repeat)

Jan 23, 2012

Revision wars: From One Battle to the Next

Battle #1 ended with a peace treaty – and a promise to take up arms once more after I’ve figured out the exact direction in which I want the last 10 chapters to go.
Original version: 72,084 words
Present version: 82,542 words

Battle #2 begins today with a day of plotting. Novel #6 was one of those novels I just sat down and wrote. Its fast paced, it’s hard hitting… its way too short (Just like #5 was).

This is the second pass at revising this novel. The first pass took the novel from 77,459-words all the way down to 51,206-words…. mostly because I decided it needed a whole new ending and so got rid of about 16 chapters.

Mostly, this puts me back a month or two on my original schedule for finishing it. and all that does (really) is irk me – because I love my schedules.

So today is all about plotting out the new ending in my head and making sure that the first half of the book accurately sets up the new second half.

How about you? What are you up to today? Drafting? Revising? Rewriting? Or some good old fashion reading?
Someday I’ll get back into a normal blogging schedule!

Jan 19, 2012

Looking for Some E-books?

If you've exhausted your resources and are looking for some new material for your e-readers, why not check out these!
  • Deborah Camp (A mix of contemporary and Old West Historical romances...over 40 coming in the near future, but here is a list of 10 or so available now)

  • Lorena Dureau (Historical Romance: American Colonial South and West. Very Sexy)

  • Dan Streib (thrillers with a James-Bond-meets-Anderson-Cooper main character)

  • Barbara Keesling (her too-hot-to-blog nonfiction is here, here, and here)

And if you're in the mood to pass these author's lists along, check out this post by Agent Meredith Barnes and you could score yourself a free query critique!

Jan 17, 2012

Critiquing & Revisions

There are a lot of times when I’m revising that I worry I’m being too harsh. And then I look at my revisions:
This is what I do to 3rd drafts

And realize, I’m nowhere near as mean about other people’s work as I am about my own.

It’s one of the reasons I like being in the middle of a revision as I’m critiquing someone else’s ms – so I can look at what I’ve done for them… and weigh it against what I do for me.

Sometimes the critiqued ms looks like it has more notes, but that’s because the person I’m critiquing for isn’t in my head. So, where I would simply write “Fix” or “Show” or “Expand” in my revisions, I need to write out what I mean by that in most cases.

Another thing that helps me get past that lovely guilty feeling I get when I walk away from a critique feeling like I’ve shredded someone’s ms to bits… is that it’s the sort of thing I want from a Crit.

Also, the nice thing about revising while critiquing is that you can spot something that’s not working for them, that may not be working for you either, but it takes stepping away from ownership to understand that.

Anyway, back to finishing up my revisions of novel #5 so I can move on to revisions of novel #6 (It’s a revision full month!)

Jan 16, 2012

MI: A Grand View

(Living 2 hours from this, and having been there several times myself... I'm pretty sure this picture has been saturated and color adjusted to the extreme. But I still love it.)

Jan 13, 2012

Revision Wars 2012 Update!

Its slow going. I've gone through all the pages with my trusty red pen....
and I'm inputting changes presently.. but this:

Those red tabs are where a scene needs to be added... and I'm only half way through the input!

Original Version: 72,084wds
Present Version: 74,320wds

Lots to do!
(Bet you can guess what My weekend involves!)

Jan 11, 2012

Revision Wars 2012 Quick Tip #1

Consistency in Dialog


The Problem:
One thing that will pull a reader out of your story quicker than most anything is dialog that doesn’t fit: a character who doesn’t have the education for the words they use, formality from a street urchin, contemporary slang in a historical romance, etc.
It’s easiest to miss this in secondary characters. As a result, they will begin to sound like one person playing different parts.

How I combat this:
Highlighters.
During one of my many revision passes, I take each chapter by itself and set it aside with my trusty plethora of highlighters. Then, I go through the chapter, assigning everyone in the chapter their own color (as I go) highlighting all the dialog (as you can see up top). This helps me to see each piece of dialog assigned to the character more clearly. It helps to define their individual voices

Hope this helps if you find yourself having the same problem.

Back to the trenches!!!


Jan 4, 2012

Slow Start

HAPPY 2012!

Hey Guys, I am back, just getting back into things slowly, I’ll be back for reals next Monday and then for the rest of the year! I don’t see another break in the near future.

How was everyone’s December? Read any good books? Write any? Let me know if there’s something awesome I missed out on while I was gone!