Round of 3 Rs…80 Days

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!

CHECK-INS:

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!

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36 Comments

  1. You’re so busy, as usual! Good luck with all your goals this round. Editing can be a pain sometimes, but it’s a necessary evil. :0)

    Reply
  2. Welcome back! 🙂 I hope you had a great break!
    Great goals. I’m rooting for you (though not actually sprouting branches or anything like certain characters in your short fiction have done in the past …).

    Reply
    • Thank you. 🙂 Nice to know you’re rooting for me. Also nice to know you’re not sprouting branches. LOL

      Reply
  3. I joined ROW80 too. First time for me. I love the email goal. I get bogged down with email a lot. I’ve been trying to keep up with it. Maybe I should put it as one of my goals too.

    Reply
    • Yep, my inbox has so many emails in it even I’m embarrassed. And I don’t get embarrassed.

      Good luck with ROW80- maybe we’ll both end up with clear inboxes! 🙂

      Reply
  4. You made me laugh about reading your handwriting! People compliment me on my handwriting, but they haven’t seen what I scrawl when the synapses are firing too fast for the hand!

    Alors, vous etudiez le français aussi! Good progress on the French; the more days you can dip into it, the better, I’ve found.

    Ah, email! Bane of my work and home existence. I am going to follow your tips, hoping to see light again!

    Glad to have you with us on this Round!

    Reply
    • Yes, my handwriting is atrocious. Maybe because I hold my pen unlike the way others do, but it is what’s the most comfortable to me. I tried calligraphy lessons once. That’s when someone pointed out the difference.

      Oui, j’ai aussi des cours de français. Je répète les leçons.

      Good luck with your email, and all your goals! 🙂

      Reply
  5. liked the alphabet very much – you seem to be managing okay but if you find an answer to the e-mail box would love to know – I even have a file where the things I want to read get shunted ‘to read later’ when my box gets too full so now have a couple of files as well as box to read – but where is the 36 hour day we have all been promised? where!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • LOL Glad you enjoyed the Stooges. 🙂

      Yes, that’s one thing I continue to struggle with- too much I want to do and too little time to do it. “Do later” interests and projects pile up while I’m busy with current interests and projects. I could spend all day (and have) reading scientific articles. But then I fall behind on my 50 other things I want to do every day. A fairly recent computer crash temporarily helped with this dilemma by wiping out an untold number of saved files, but I don’t recommend this accidental method.

      We can- er, could- walk on the Moon, but we can’t come up with a 36+ hour day. Go figure.

      Reply
  6. I hear you on that. I’m in the middle of editing and it is taking much longer than I anticipated. Of course it would help if I stopped writing more scenes as I edit… I’m glad to hear you’re ahead of the game by learning how to edit (maybe you can show me some pointers!)

    Reply
    • Yep, I’m very much a disorganized writer / editor. Pages and pages of writing and editing tips, methods, and suggestions, plus I tend to write my “A-HA” ideas on whatever scrap piece of paper is closest. Hopefully I’ll become more organized as I gain experience.

      If I ever come up with a system that makes me more efficient, I post about it. In the meantime, I highly recommend the writer / author websites on my blogroll at the bottom of the page. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Oh, editing, umm, er, yes, I’ve been there. I’m a Luddite, so I have to edit in paper, with pretty pens and ink. (I know, it’s silly!). I have nice fountain pens with green, red and violet inks–the color depends on my mood. I found myself repeating myself endlessly when I tried to edit online; this has helped me, but may not help anyone else!

    Great that your French and email elimination is doing so well. “Steep learning curve” is a great motto; mine is “excelsior,” which is the same sort of thing.

    I hope you have a great week!

    Reply
    • It’s funny how sentences come across differently on paper than on a computer screen. I may try your “different colors” method on paper for future edits. 🙂 But first I need to do (yet another) read-through on my WIP, and make a time line from that to see if my characters are going back and forth in time. Although . . my WIP *is* a futuristic novel. Maybe next year scientists will say they were mistaken (again) and say backwards time travel *is* possible.

      Thank you for your comment, have a great week too!

      Reply
  8. I laughed as I read your post. I really enjoyed the crossed-out words and phrases, too.

    I know what you mean about editing. I can edit several times on the computer, but find more things in the printed-out pages and after the first Beta read.

    Hang in there….it sounds like you’re making excellent progress.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂

      This learn-as-you-go method is tough, but any progress is good, right? Or something like that.

      Reply
  9. Ooo, French! Good for you! We all learn that we need to learn more about editing – you’re not alone. Keep pushing through and I look forward to more updates. 🙂

    Reply
    • Je vous remercie! 🙂 Mes beaux-parents sont Canadiens-Français. Slow and steady. Aiming for less slow and steady. lol

      Reply
  10. Sometimes I get confused because all your check-ins are in one post. LOL

    You always sound so busy! Good luck with all your goals. I look forward to some more flash fiction. 😉

    Reply
    • I put all my check-ins in the same post because I don’t say a lot at each check-in. So it’s easier (at least for me) to see my progress compared to other check-ins dates. 🙂

      My next flash fiction tale goes up this Friday. You have been warned. 😉

      Reply
  11. I love how you show us how you really feel, through your crossed out words, phrases, etc.

    I especially liked the one about slashing, burning, rebuilding from the charred-out wreckage…which is how my current rewrites feel.

    I have a printout of the manuscript, returned from the first Beta read….and a simple suggestion had me scurrying to “slash, burn, rebuild” the first chapter.

    To be practical, I created a new document for the changes, and then “folded” the ones I decided to keep into the original. I didn’t really want to destroy the first version…just in case!

    Here’s my update:

    http://laurelrainsnowswonderland.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/8-10-update-row-80/

    Reply
    • Charred wreckage indeed. I think at this point all that’s left of my original WIP is the premise and character names. lol I’m still struggling with my writing style and storyline continuity. Plus I’m writing outside my genre.

      Good idea about keeping first versions. I’m learning that lesson. Thanks for your update. 🙂

      Reply
  12. The French flash fiction you are reading sounds like a normal day for any slightly self-critical writer. You beat yourself up for a first draft, then you beat yourself for a rewrite and then a redraft and a revision and finally a final edit or two. And then you start from the beginning again. Yes, it sounds like an allegory to me.

    Reply
    • The French, fiction, and editing are actually all separate, but I identify with your advice, thanks! 🙂

      Reply
  13. jamilajamison

     /  September 1, 2011

    Hah, I love this idea of “abdomen-clutching” characters. There’s nothing better than truly knowing your characters — makes for better, and much more fun, writing.

    Have a great rest of the week!

    Reply
    • Yes, I’m 100% going for “better, and much more fun, writing.” 🙂 My WIP is a satire, and so I need to polish my innuendo and subtext until it gleams. This requires some serious pre-buff abdominalizing.

      Ditto on having a great week!

      Reply
  14. I learnt English not too long ago, and even though most of my academic studies were done in english, I still think, write better and faster in French. Pronunciation gets harder the older you are and yes it really helps to have a musical ear. That said, nothing is impossible for those who really want it. I am never going to get rid of my french accent and I am not even trying.
    I intend to pick up italian one of these days, qui sait ?

    Reply
    • Your English is excellent. 🙂

      As far as my pronunciation goes, it must be an innate characteristic rather than an age characteristic. Also, I mispronounce as many words in English as I do in French, and English is my native language (though not my first language). You’re lucky you have a French accent. I have an ambiguous accent. lol

      Italiani? Forse.

      Reply
  15. Three Cheers for Progress! Sounds like you’re in the home stretch! And don’t feel bad about the editing. I thought I’d had everything polished like new until my first round of edits came back from my editor . . . and then my final line editor . . . and then my copy editor. Thank goodness for that–I found additional Stuff beyond even their Stuff I wanted to change, all the way until the eleventh hour. All you can do is the very best you can do–your gut will tell you when it’s ready. 😀

    Reply
    • Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂 So far my progress seems to be fitting into the “eleventh hour” method. I just don’t know when the eleventh hour will finally show up. lol

      Reply
  16. I love the reading goal in time… I need to add that to my Round 4 goals. I love to read, and I truly believe it vastly improves my writing, but it tends to be the thing that time takes from my schedule. ;-(

    Sounds like a great week for you. Hope you’ll be continuing into Round 4!

    Reply
  17. Yes, it’s been a great last week overall. 🙂

    And now that I’ve completed the bulk of my non-fiction research reading, I’ll be back for Round 4 with a bigger fiction reading goal. It will be a snap, because I LOVE reading fiction! 🙂

    Reply
  18. Congrats on all your progress! I loved this challenge. Didn’t hit all the goals I wanted but I learned a lot and still got a whole lot done. Definitely coming back for Round 4.

    Reply
  19. Thanks! 🙂

    Glad you had a positive Round 3. I technically met my goals, even though I’m still waist-deep in editing. But progress is progress, right? I’ll see you in Round 4!

    Reply
  20. Congrats on making it through Round 3 of ROW80. Looking forward to seeing you again for Round 4 🙂

    Reply
  21. Thanks! See you in October. 🙂

    Reply

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