I’m back again for more
self-flaggelation structured writing progress via ROW80.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from editing my WIP is I have so much more to learn about editing. Going in, I kinda thought I kinda knew how to edit, but . . no. Yes, my WIP is much better than it was as a first draft, but after several edits, there’s still a lot that needs correcting. So I am relieved I have the time and patience to not rush into querying or publishing. With luck, by the end of this round, my WIP will be ready to send out to a beta reader, an editor, a critiquer, or whomever.
For Round 3, in a chunk-measure-blog format, I will be . .
1. Reviewing (readin’)
Painstakingly and critically reading (again) my WIP, and
2. Revising (‘ritin’)
slashing and burning and rebuilding from the charred wreckage making adjustments as necessary, and
3. Researching (‘rithmatic)
researching potential agent / agency / publishing options.
I’ll combine goals 1 and 2 for one hour of editing 6 times per week. For goal 3, I’ll do 1/2 hour of research per week.
You want more? I’ve got more!
1. My email inbox is overflowing, and it’s been overflowing for a loooong time. Each day, process (delete or read and copy to a permanent file) that day’s email, plus at least the next previous day’s email every day until my inbox is clear.
2. Also gonna ramp up the French even more. 2 French lessons 6 times per week.
3. And find even more time for fiction reading. An average of at least 1/2 hour of fiction reading every day.
Now, after traipsing from Massachusetts to the Wild West and back, it’s time for me to SIT DOWN
and get BACK TO BASICS!
First check-in– I started my Round 3 on July 6, so I’m two days into it. Dove back into editing. I love that I’m still laughing (in appropriate places) as I read my WIP aloud. Still fresh. (But then again, if I think a joke is funny, I will genuinely laugh at it *every* time I hear it. I’ll laugh at it when I hear myself tell it.) The email thing- so far- is easier than I thought it would be. French is back to kicking my derrière, but I’m keeping up with the lessons. And I started reading yet another novel. My MIL is fond of giving me books to read, and I’m fond of reading. So I have many novels I’ve started to read, and as many novels I need to finish reading. Just like the novels I’m writing. Go figure.
Second check-in– Still playing catch-up and trying to get back into my routine since returning from my Wild West adventure. Managing to keep my head above water. I finished the aloud editing, now I need to make the corrections on my master copy. Yes, I didn’t correct on my master copy as I read aloud- I wrote out the corrections by hand, as I was reading from printed pages. It really does make a difference in what you see. In other news, I’m Frenching* through my email, pounding away at the French, and becoming engrossed in my French-Canadian MIL’s novel (one she let me borrow, not one she wrote herself). And I researched agents / agencies for about an hour.
*Not French kissing. French glove-slapping.
7-13 Kinda caught up now. Making my editing corrections to my master copy is easy when I can read my scrawl. My handwriting looks like that of an intoxicated chicken. Zipping through email, though I’ve started to put a few links into a “read later” folder. Maybe I’m interested in too many things. French is un step back, deux steps forward, or something like that. Almost finished reading one novel, and about to start another MIL-lent novel.
7-17 Steady progress. Discovering I still need to shuffle some scenes as I make corrections to my master copy. I need to figure out how to process my email faster- I’m saving too much to read later. French is a rollercoaster. The highs are the vocabulary lessons and the lows are the pronunciation lessons. I wonder if that’s related to my comprehension of music- I recognize notes, but am tone-deaf when it comes to singing them. Ahead on fiction reading. Current book is a novel written from a dog’s perspective- the third book I’ve read written from a dog’s POV. Dogs- like cats, dolphins, whales, birds, and apes- are people too, right? And . . I researched agents / agencies for about an hour. I’ve found researching your potential future is easy, oddly enough.
7-20 Rolling along with editing. I’m so glad I’m taking my time with my debut novel. I more I learn about editing, the more I learn I need to learn more. Does that make sense? It’s late. Email- argh. I’m doing it. But still saving way too much for later, which kinda defeats the purposes of clearing my email. I need to take a slash and burn approach. No mercy. Slash and burn progress will be my goal for the next check-in. French- pretty good. I’m not obsessing over the tricky lessons, I’m just moving on. I can alway go back to the hard ones after doing a bunch of easy ones. Fiction reading- read half-way through IMO a trite, clichéd, lackluster book. Not going to finish it. Inner-critiqued the heck out of it. And it’s a best-seller. So I’m either getting good at critiquing or bad at critiquing. Or maybe a lot of people want trite, clichéd, lackluster stories.
7-24 Editing is nightmare, again. I’ve read this WIP so many times, my brain no longer sees it as a lineal story. It’s circular. When I originally wrote it, I didn’t have an outline, and I wrote some scenes out of order. I thought I had fixed that issue, but now I’m reading some passages that seem out of place, and some passages that seem familiar, as if I’ve repeated myself. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have dyscalculia. “Steep learning curve.” That’s my motto. Anyway, my email elimination is marching along, and so is my French. I started to do my 1/2 hour agent research, and it morphed into a 1/2 hour “things I have to add to my WIP research.” But I gave myself permission. This *is* my debut novel. “Steep learning curve.” Hmm . . did I say that before? Oh yeah- fiction reading is on schedule, thanks to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges.
7-27 I *think* I’ve worked through the editing nightmare . . for now. Finished making the corrections to my master copy, and now I’m doing a silent read-through to add technological detail (this is a futuristic novel). Email is so very slowly being eliminated, but is on schedule. It’s amazing what you can find in your email from months ago. French is so very slowly being drilled into my brain, but is on track. I might consider a brain implant at some future point. Fiction reading is on target. Anticipating a round of “dysfunctional” flash fiction from Dan O’Shea’s latest challenge.
7-31 Having a great time editing again! I spent the last 2 days of editing developing a Sensory Psychology Character Chart and applying it to my WIP. The chart helps fiction writers develop psychological interactions between their characters via the 5 senses. My chart will debut on Manon Eileen’s blog next month as a guest post. Up to date on the email, though I’m still filing some of it. But my goal is to eliminate emails, not files, right? Surging ahead on French, and absorbing what I can while shrugging my shoulders at what trips me up. I’ve decided I prefer to roll-with-it method to the obsess-over-it method. Read some delightfully and disturbingly dysfunctional flash fiction, thanks to Dan O’Shea’s last challenge. And I started researching a specific literary agent via an instructional book he’s written . . hmm . .
8-3 I’m now working on filling in yet another character survey for each of my main characters. I have already done this with previous worksheets, but I want to go really deep, so I’m using Manon Eileen’s “Main Character Survey.” My own “Sensory Psychology Chart”- which helps uncover and develop sensory-based psychology between characters- debuts on Manon’s blog Friday. Doing great on the email, but I seem to be getting less email per day. I recently signed up for a Gmail account, and opted to have my email forwarded. The glitch was confirmed when an email buddy told me his emails weren’t getting through. In any case, less email to wade through is nice, I guess. As usual with me, French vocabulary is a snap, and French pronunciation is kicking my derrière, especially long sentences where the words seem to run together. Read some Moon-inspired flash fiction in the fantasy genre that completely went over my head. If the story doesn’t “ground” me, I get lost.
8-7 Lately my editing consists of doing Manon Eileen’s Manon Character Surveys and my own Sensory Psychology Charts. My basic story is already written, but these tools are helping me develop much-needed width and depth. I’m up to date on my email, even as I’m transitioning to a new email address. Crashing and burning in French, but I’m still doing the lessons on schedule. When I can pronounce a sentence, I don’t know what I’ve just said. When I know the meaning of a sentence, I struggle with typing it correctly. I guess I can only get better from here. Still reading a particular literary agent’s instructional book. The book has some fiction passages, so I’m also including that in my fiction reading quota for the past few days. It’s been a busy weekend.
8-10 Pounding out the Main Character Surveys. They are in-depth, and so they take awhile, which is a good thing. I can see where and how my WIP will be fuller and richer. Email is A-OK. Still working on the transition, though. I’ve gone back to repeat a few lessons in French, and my scores are slowly improving. I’m also back to reading “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” It’s not an easy read, and it’s definitely stretching my sensibilities, which is a good thing. So all in all, this check-in is good.
8-14 I’ve completed the surveying and the sensory psychoanalizing of my WIP characters, and have moved to reading about ways to strengthen my novel even more, thanks to my book authored by a literary agent. So I’m editing and researching this agent at the same time. Convenient! Still slowly but surely clearing out the email. My latest French lesson was “reading comprehension.” I did very well. I read a bunch of Wendig-inspired flash fiction in which the protagonist gets beaten . . and then beaten again, and then gets a beating as a climax, and then again as a denouement. Perplexing.
8-17 I’m going to a wedding this weekend, so I’ll be off-line and in another state for a few days starting Friday morning. So in the meantime, I’ve been cramming in extra editing sessions, French lessons, and fiction reading time. By the end of tomorrow, I’ll have a good “goals accomplished” padding. Of course the email will have to wait, but blasting through my email has proven easy. My French is taking a gradual upswing. And I read through the first turning-point in Heinlein’s Moon book. I actually care about this book now. It’s such a relief.
8-21 I spent the last few days out of state for a wedding, so I’ve really nothing to report for this check-in. I’ve done nothing but sight-see, shop, eat, drink, party, and dance since last Friday. Still recovering. But the week before I left, I fit in extra editing, French, and fiction. So I’m still basically on top of my goals. Right now I’m trying to catch up on eliminating my accumulated email.
8-22 Back to my routine. Editing is going great- I’m learning even more about how to write a strong novel, and incorporating that info into my WIP. Struggling with French sentence comprehension at the moment, but I don’t mind, because that means I’ll be breezing through something French for the next check-in (French-pressed coffee, most likely). Reading out of my comfort zone- “gun” flash fiction- thanks to Wendig. I even wrote a “gun” story, inspired by the Spector-Clarkson case of a few years ago. Bamming out my email. Finished reading my specific literary agent-written book (served double duty as an editing tool). Next I’ll be researching literary agents in general, and in-depth.
8-28 IRE(of)NE 8-29 ‘Twas an exciting weekend on the east coast of the USA. I mostly kept my desktop computer off and my iPad on. But I do my French lessons on my desktop, and when I was about to do them yesterday, the lights started flickering. So I turned off the desktop computer to save it from potential power spikes. (Happy to report there’s no damage to my abode and FJ. Plus my hub unit gets to stay home today, before leaving on another business trip tomorrow.) So I’m checking in on a Monday, having just now caught up on my French. In other news, I found several mysterious characters questionnaire sheets I had printed several months ago and had misplaced. So now I’m filling those out as “editing,” and gaining even more insight into my characters. (I’m hoping all this insight-gaining will be second-nature be the time I start working on the edits of my second novel.) Doing great in French listening comprehension and French writing, but still not so great in French pronunciation. Still reading the Moon book. Email clearing is steady.
8-31 I’m thinking of even more crazy questions to ask my characters. I’m going deep, deeper than I’ve ever gone before. Whatever I find, I’m gonna grab and pull up and expose to the light of day. My characters will be left gasping and clutching their abdomens. Speaking of abdomen-clutching, I’m churning out the French lessons, and wondering how many répète it takes to get to Épiphanie. Nearing the end of the Moon book. Email is on course. I dove into a literary agent guidebook. Still so much to learn. Lucky for me, I love learning. Hmm, that sounds familiar.
9-4 I’m realizing my WIP, as a futuristic novel, needs futuristic language, thanks to Heinlein’s Moon book. So I’m editing it to subtract and add as required. Lucky for me I know how American English will look and sound in the year 2045. I’m at another plateau in French, which is fine, because after plateaus come peaks, right? Or maybe valleys? Either would be acceptable, as long as I get off this plateau. The Moon book is nearly done. My email is nearly obliterated. I’m pretty pleased with myself, overall.
9-7 “Dude, where’s my internet service?” 9-8 My Verizon internet service crapped out, and I won’t have Comcast service until Friday. So in the meantime, I’m using “free” internet, courtesy an unsecured network. Yes, I know I’m a heathen. But the virtuous among you can take comfort in the fact that the signal is spotty at best, hence the late check-in. Moving on- 1 step backward, 2 steps forward with figuring out my futuristic language edits. My WIP is set in 2045, so the language needs to be tweaked just a little. That’s something I learned from the Moon book. BTW I finished the Moon book, and I highly recommend it to science fiction authors, speculative fiction authors, and cyberpunk authors. I recommend it to writers and readers in general. In other news, I’m doing better with my French pronunciation. Maybe that’s because I skipped ahead a bit. Now I can say a phrase and guess at its meaning. So for the next check-in I’ll be back to knowing the meaning of what I’m *attempting* to say. Like a see-saw. Still clearing my email backlog, though the more recent email will have to wait until I get “official” internet back. Lastly, I’m reading the “dos and don’ts” of querying. Giddy stuff.
9-11 Still no official internet service, but I’m lucky tonight. Still fine-tuning the language in my WIP. French is all over the place. I’m thinking about supplementation. If nobody has any suggestions, I’ll resort to supplementary French-English audio. Back to reading Stephen King’s full-length “The Stand.” The more I read of this novel, the more I think I’m reading his mind circa 1978. According to King’s book “On Writing,” I am. Email is accumulating, though not as fast as it had been before this round. I’ll have some catching-up to do after I get official service- hopefully tomorrow.
9-14 My internet service is back on! Faster than ever. I’m still combing through my WIP, adjusting the language. Funny how if you change one thing, you have to change a related thing. And if you change the related thing, you have to change another related thing. Patience, Grasshopper, the writer must strike a fine balance. As for email- I’m now focused on transferring what’s left of my MSN (going bye-bye) backlog to my Gmail (you can’t stop the Google). I discovered whatever the Comcast technician did to my computer blew out my French lessons. And my French lessons-shove-back-in-er AKA hub-unit is away on business. So I’ll be taking a wee break from French (Thank you Adi Parashakti!) and catching up later. Still reading “The Stand,” and nearing the end. (“Can’t you see Lauder is evil?! He’s evil!!” I mentally scream at the good guys, throwing my hands up in the air for emphasis.) And after a couple of days dealing with severe endo, I’ll be catching up on reading more of my literary agent advice book tonight.
9-18 Yep, still in WIP comb-mode. Fixing all those pesky little syntax glitches- but not too much. This is still futuristic language here. Kinda like Heinlein’s Moon book. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah . . Moving on, I cleared out my MSN email- all of it. Praise Mithra! But of course now my Gmail is overflowing. heh heh One dubious step at a time, OK? All caught up in French. I’m going to order some French-English translation . . whatever’s-the-latest-technology-they-have-nows . . is it still spinny things? Can you tell I OD-ed on French lessons? Ha! I even OD-ed on Sweet Potato French Fries. Couldn’t help it- I was on a roll. Oh yeah- by the next check-in, I’ll have the complete, unabridged conclusion of “The Stand” steeping in my mind.
9-22 Hooray! Tom Cullen made it! He was my fav. Oh yeah- I finished this round strong with an editing and fiction reading marathon. Also met my french lesson, email, and literary agent research goals. I’ll see you in Round 4!