Tags: revising


Goals Update and Reality Check

First, goals in review:

Complete revisions on proposal pages on LMB
Complete synopsis of LMB
Send proposal and synopsis to agent for review


Complete 100 pages of revisions for KND, aka Berta

Original goals were to write a synopsis for Berta and submit proposal for review. However, I've had to reevaluate this.

I surpassed my 100-page goal and actually got to page 167 before I was forced to face a serious logic flaw in the story.

No, this didn't hit me all at once: I'd "kind of" noticed it from the beginning, though I thought the way I'd written could be believable in a DUH-it's-a-paranormal! sort of way. I mean, heck, I believed it.

Of course I did. I wrote it.

Then I stopped believing it. I mean, seriously: A box, okay? The contents of which need to get back to Germany. Nobody can take it there for reasons that are quite clear in the story. The contents of the box do have certain powers and already managed to get it from one place to another (though with a bit of human assistance.) Therefore, it made perfect sense to me that the box could also make its way to Germany.

So without
human help, the box shows up in Germany very mysteriously. My characters knock themselves out trying to figure out who sent it. It appears no one did...cuuuuz...it's a paranormal, right?

This nagged at me for 4 months. I discussed it with Beth, who was noncommittal.

ME: "It's a paranormal, right?????"

BETH (eyeroll): "Um, yeah...okay."

ME (thinking): "I sooo do NOT want to rewrite the whole damn thing."

 photo sobbing.gif

Then I had lunch with another_wip.

We discuss it. I whine. She listens. I whine some more:

"Soooo....okay, what I'm worried about is this: The box GETS to Germany, okay? So the characters can find out who it belongs to." Which is the crux of that part of the story: Getting the contents of the box back to where it belongs. "SO WHY DIDN'T THE STUPID BOX JUST GO STRAIGHT WHEREVER IT REALLY WANTS TO GO?" Which of course would render my characters useless. And there would be no story.

Pam agreed.

I thought about it all day.

I woke up out of a dead sleep at 4 a.m. the next morning with one single thought in my brain: I have to rewrite the whole damn thing.

Not actually the WHOLE thing--just the stupid, unbelievable, totally contrived part about a box mysteriously FedExing itself on a transatlantic journey.

GOD, it was such an awesome idea at the time! The creepy old box showing up out of the blue. My characters' horrified reactions. Their search for an explanation, only to find none. Their realization that a dark force, indeed, was very much at work there.

 photo spookywomangif.gif

Yeah, great. But even PARANORMAL has to be somehow grounded in reality. Everything has to add up, make sense in the end. I realized after much consideration that this particular plot device sucked.

The problem now is this: All that great mystery and intrigue? Gone. Which means it Must Be Replaced.


baby cig

A Word on Revisions

First drafts are fun. They're fun because they're crap. They're fun because it's OK that they're crap. You have an idea. You have characters. You have a kinda-sorta plot in the back of your mind. If you write first drafts the way I write first drafts, your plot is vague. You let your characters pretty much take the lead. It's an adventure. Every page is a surprise. If it sucks, it sucks. You already know you'll throw a lot of it out. That doesn't stop you from loving every minute.

Revisions are way funner.

You have a mess of a story. Characters with no development. Scenes that end in the middle of nowhere. 20 pages of useless description...or no description at all. Time lines that make no sense. Mysteriously disappearing characters, or ones who appear once out of nowhere. Talking heads. Utterly useless dialogue that was fun to write, but doesn't advance the story and takes up space. Plot points that are forgotten by the middle of the manuscript...or the One Brilliant Idea you think of at the second to last page and now you can't figure out how to work it in.

Here are some GREAT REVISION TIPS FROM aprilhenry.

When you revise, you take ALL of this jumble and turn it into something readable. Kind of like Bones when she discovers all those charred random body parts and--voila!--turns it into a human being. OK, a dead one. Maybe a bad analogy. But you get my point.

It's a painstaking process. I can write a first draft in 6 weeks. A first "good" revision takes me many months and even then it's not something I'm always ready to share. But damn--it's FUN! It's like digging your hands into a big wad of clay. You can do whatever you want with it.

 photo clay.jpg

(Maybe not THIS, though...)
baby cig

Friday 5

1. We've reached the halfway point of Grapemo 2013. YAY US! Please remember to send in your progress reports by Sunday night for positing on Monday.

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2. I'm reading MR. MURDER by Dean Koontz in my "spare time"--scary as hell! Scary enough that I seriously had to put it down more than once. THAT. SCARY.

3. I also just finished SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK as I like to read the novel before I see the film. I was pretty disappointed in the book, both from the perspective of a psych nurse and that of a reader who did not need the thousands and thousands of repetitive, boring, whogivesacrap football references that take up over half the book. Apologies to the author, but if it hadn't been on my Nook I would've thrown it across the room. However, I understand the movie is fabulous.

4. My wip and I are not seeing eye-to-eye. We have had a love-hate relationship for about 3 years now. I've realized the pages I'm revising need more rewriting than actual revising, and it's thrown me into a tizzy because even though I know where I want the story to go, I'm not exactly certain how to get it to that point. My MC is not not cooperating. After 3 years she's set in her ways and now I'm about ready to fire up the blow torch. Note: Quite truthfully, part of the problem is the project I have waiting in the wings, like the hunky old boyfriend who suddenly turns up after you've already committed yourself to someone else. It's very distracting.

5. Beth and I are still plugging through the miniseries WINDS OF WAR, aka How Stupid Characters Screw Up Awesome Stories. Briney and Natalie finally tied the knot in Lisbon of all places, and now Briney (who punched out the German ambassador to Portugal for referring to Natalie as Briney's "Jew wife") is off on a submarine somewhere and Natalie's headed back to Italy (again!) to try to get her stoooopid uncle safely out of the country. At this point I'd leave his ass there. I mean, dude, seriously! Of course after Briney and Nat's long tearful farewell, and their promise to see each other in two month's time, you know damn well something's going to happen to Natalie. Sadly, I'm guessing a pair of striped pajamas. In the meantime Briney's mom is fooling around with Peter Graves, while his dad is tempted to fool around with some blond English WAF chick who looks to be about his own daughter's age (so far just a few sloppy kisses between them.) Looking forward to reading the book once I get through all the DVDs...

Word Count/Revisions

Well, I figured out that the best way to knock back my work count is to set it aside for a few weeks, then go back and re-read. I'm 2/3 of the way through it and already knocked out 7k. This is after I swore up and down I'd never get it from 104k to under 100. Now it's under 98. Note: and this is WITHOUT cutting out anything of significance. Amazing! Hopefully I'll finish up before my trip next week (the KY Library Conference).

A New Look

Well, I bit the bullet and opened the file for my previous wip, LMB, which I haven't touched for almost a year.

So far I like what I've read. But I can't remember where I was going with this. :(

Upward and (hopefully) Onward

All the crossed fingers worked (thank, everyone) and I got yesterday off, spent it at Borders, and line-edited 48 pages.

This is what I'm trying to keep in mind during this process:

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. ~William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style

Have another happy, productive weekend, Grapenuts. I'm preparing for another writing (editing) marathon tomorrow. Care to join me?

Strength in Numbers

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: onegrapeshy will also be doing Grapemo this year. :)

As most of you may have noticed, I've been lying pretty low the past couple months. The main reason for this is because I''ve been doing Very Extensive Revisions on my paranormal (which from now I'll simply refer to as "Annabeth"). "Extensive" because my agent had a lot of good suggestions, including the elimination of several POVs.

Which requires, uh, thought.

And planning.

And a hell of a lot of rewriting. So much so that I've actually upped the word count by 12-freeeeeaking-K.

(I know, I know...don't say it)


My PWG for Grapemo is--after I finish the last of these rewrites by the end of the month (oh, wait! I hear the sound of hysterical laughter! ...and I believe it's coming from my very own mouth... Stop it, I say!)--is to print the ms out on Feb.1st and spend the entire month working on a line-by-line edit. Seriously, I've been a-workin' on this thang since November 2008 (not including the earliest version I did for NaNo several years back). Enough is enough!

I neeeeed this. And I need you guys desperately for motivation--so thanks to everyone who's signed up so far, and thanks in advance to the rest of you who I KNOW can't resist!  xox


Still employed:                __

All teeth intact (see above):     __

Survived dog:                  __

Survived Thanksgiving:   __

Survived Christmas:         __

Survived New Year’s:       __ (pending)

Revisions completed:        ___


Oh, wait. “Revisions completed” seems to be lacking a __ .

Can that possibly be because I'm not finished with them yet?

bridealive-1.jpg picture by Isabeaulia

"What? WHAT??? How dare you insinuate this novel is a hopeless cause?"

Young-Frankenstein-bh01.jpg picture by Isabeaulia

"Shh, it's okay, it's okay...she won't hit you again, I promise."

!!! Revisions !!!

Does it really make a difference if I write

Instead, I squeeze his hand


I squeeze his hand instead


This is exactly what slows down revisions: when the author agonizes for 10 minutes over 5 crummy words.

Or is it just me?

Thanks for Nothing

Yes, I'm talking to you: the person who tromped into Borders tonight after marinating for hours (maybe days) in some grotesque-smelling cologne that instantly triggered a migraine.

On the bright side, I've halfway through the rewrite of LMB. I guess four days in a row, 8 hrs a day, certainly pays off. At least till you start breathing solely through your nose, and retching, and rocking back and forth in pain.